Fifa World Cup Special Report: Can Qatar emulate Sweden, South Korea and Russia? – News
A good performance on the field for the host country is as important as their success in putting on a spectacular event
The WC has an uncanny ability to lift the home team to great heights.
Of course, we are talking about teams that do not belong to the global elites in football.
Sweden’s only appearance in the final of a World Cup came in 1958 when they hosted the tournament.
The Swedes were among the best teams in that tournament until a seventeen-year-old Brazilian named Pele put them in their place with two brilliant goals in the title decider.
When the World Cup first came to Asia, it was South Korea, who hosted the 2002 tournament with Japan, who turned the football universe upside down, beating a star-studded Italy and Spain en route to the semi-finals.
Backed by their vociferous fans, hosts Russia punched above their weight at the last World Cup, beating Spain in the last 16 before going down to Croatia on penalties in the quarter-finals.
We do not yet know how Félix Sánchez, Qatar’s head coach, inspires his players in the dressing room as the home team prepares for the opening game of the tournament against Ecuador.
Sánchez, who led the Qatar team to a triumph in the 2019 Asian Cup, needs to look no further than Sweden, South Korea and Russia for inspiration.
While the Netherlands could be an extremely difficult test, Qatar will fancy their chances against Ecuador and Senegal in Group A.
For Qatar, a good performance on the pitch is as important as their success in staging a spectacular event.
For that reason, Sánchez has kept the team together for a long time and they will go into the opening game after a four-month training camp.
“All our players play in our local league so we decided that one way to strengthen the national team was to take them out of their clubs so they are ready for the national team,” Sánchez said.
– It has been an enormous sacrifice. We spent a long period abroad and away from our families. It shows our commitment.”
Now it is of the utmost importance that the team gets a perfect start against Ecuador on Sunday.
“Tomorrow is a very important day for us, a historic moment. It will be an extraordinary day like no other,” said the Spanish coach.
“We have made such a huge effort in this country. We are all dedicated to this World Cup. I just hope it will be a great party where we can enjoy football on the pitch and off it the whole world can enjoy this experience.”
That experience will be even richer if Qatar’s national team puts on a show to remember on the field.