Sunday, June 3, 2012

Lebanon vs. Qatar – Quick Notes

 Qatar national team will kick off their campaign in Asia’s final round of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, on Sunday against Lebanon in Beirut.

Qatar have never qualified for the World Cup Finals, while Lebanon are making their first ever appearance in this stage of qualifiers after pulling some surprise results in the third round including wins over Kuwait and South Korea.

Qatar qualified to this stage after a heroic 2-2 draw against Iran in Tehran in their final third round match last February. It was their first match under the reign of Brazilian coach Paulo Autuori who replaced his compatriot Sebastiao Lazaroni, who was sacked by QFA.

Autuori replaced Lazaroni in Febraury

The bumpy road to Brazil

Although Al Annabi will not be missing any key players, the road to the world cup finals could have never been more difficult for the Qatari team, thanks to the unfair and meaningless qualifying schedule.

Al Annabi will have to play three matches over Ten days in three different countries!!!!!! No other team in the group got a similar fate.

Iran, South Korea and Uzbekistan will have to play only two matches, one at home and the other away, while Lebanon the only other team with three matches will play the first two at home against Qatar and Uzbekistan.

The three points today against Lebanon are crucial, before a difficult home game on June 8th against South Korea, and a big battle four days later against Iran in Tehran.

Head to Head: Qatar leading 3-0

It will the first official match between Qatar and Lebanon, since 1998 when they met in Bangkok during the football competition of the Asian games, Qatar won that match 1-0 (The match is not considered official by FIFA). The other two meetings between them were international friendlies, and Al Annabi also won both 4-1 in 2004 and 2-1 in 2008.

Lebanon ... A team full of talent

Lebanon’s coach is Theo Bucker, a 63-year-old German coach with huge experience in the Middle East. His former teams include Zamalek and Ismaily in Egypt, and Al Wahda in Saudi Arabia.

Lebanon will be missing two key players due to injury, former Freiburg and Koln midfielder Roda Antar and Al Ahd striker Mahmoud Al Ali.

Ghaddar ... The man to watch

The team’s main weakness is expected to be the goalkeepers, but the defense is marshaled by Yousef Mohamed, a player with huge experience in German Bundesliga with Koln and Freiburg.

Their main strength will be the attacking power with players like Mohammed Ghadar, who plays his football with Kelantan in Malaysia, and Hassan Maatouk Ajman (UAE). They will supported I midfield by talented players like Zakaria Charara of Kuala Lumpur FA (Malaysia) and Abbas Atwi Dubai Club (UAE).

Security fears

The decision to ban fans was reveresed

The Lebanese Ministry of Interior announced few days ago that the match will be played behind closed doors due to security fears, but after the fans showed their anger as there were already thousands of tickets sold, the decision was reversed on Friday.

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