Qatar 1-0 Luxembourg: 2022 World Cup hosts make winning start to bizarre European qualifying campaign for their OWN tournament as Mohammed Muntari strikes in Hungary
- Qatar were invited to take part in European qualifying for the 2022 World Cup
- As hosts they are already in but it provides a stream of games for them to play
- Mohammed Muntari’s strike downed Luxembourg in an even contest in Hungary
Qatar made a winning start to European qualifying for the 2022 World Cup as Mohammed Muntari struck the only goal in Debrecen.
UEFA invited Qatar, hosts of the 2022 World Cup, into the European qualifying campaign with manager Felix Sanchez keen to get a look at his side a year out from their showpiece event.
The move mirrors the approach taken by France for the 2016 European Championship that they hosted.
Qatar made a winning start to their bizarre European qualifying campaign for 2022 World Cup
Mohammed Muntari scored the game’s only goal on Wednesday against Luxembourg
Qatar gave a good account of themselves as they continue preparations for the World Cup
The matches are essentially glorified friendlies with two more matches against Azerbaijan on March 27 and the Republic of Ireland on March 30. Portugal and Serbia are the other two teams in Qatar’s group.
Travel restrictions saw their game with Luxembourg take place in Debrecen, Hungary, and it was one goal that separated the sides with Muntari finding the back of the net in the first half.
Speaking before the game, Sanchez promised that these matches would be played with great seriousness – even if the result was of no great importance.
‘We will play in these qualifiers with a strong team and will seek to achieve good results, just like any other matches,’ he said.
The match was played behind closed doors in Debrecen, Hungary, due to travel restrictions
Luxembourg tried to rally and hit both the bar and post as they went in search of an equaliser
‘Although the results will not be counted in the ranking of the group, this will not be a hindrance to work and development and provide the opportunity for players.
Qatar started bright here, taking an early lead when Muntari punished a mistake in the Luxembourg defence.
Luxembourg did respond and hit the bar but it proved in vain as they went in down at the half-time break. They eventually went down to 10 men to cap off a miserable night when Aldin Skenderovic picked up a second booking late on.
Part of the reason why Qatar are so keen to play these games is to work on their style and intensity ahead of the World Cup.
They looked good for spells in Debrecen and chances continued to arrive, with wing-back Pedro Miguel going close on two occasions.
In the end it was a win for Qatar and they now have two more qualifiers to play this month
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