This puts them in danger of becoming only the second hosts after South Africa in 2010 to be eliminated from the group stage.
But how about losing every game? Or the bleak prospect of not scoring at the home World Cup?
This would likely fuel even more criticism of FIFA’s decision to award the World Cup to the small but very wealthy Gulf Emirate, which had never qualified for football’s biggest tournament before earning the right to host it 12 years ago.
“Perhaps we felt a bit overwhelmed by the responsibility. We were nervous too,” said Qatar coach Felix Sanchez. “I hope that we (against Senegal) are under less pressure and can approach the game more competitively. I think that’s something we can work towards.”
Qatar’s next chance to show they deserve a place in a World Cup field comes on Friday against Senegal, a team that still boasts a number of players from the top divisions in England, Spain, Italy and France. even if injured striker Sadio Mane is absent.
“We still have a lot of room for improvement,” Sanchez said after his players froze in the face of global scrutiny against Ecuador.
Qatar may be the 2019 Asian champions but every member of the squad plays at home for a local club, which is perhaps an indicator of the gap between them and the standard required at a World Cup.
Qatar’s struggles also stand out after other sides from Arab countries made themselves more at home at the inaugural World Cup in the Middle East. Saudi Arabia’s colossal surprise defeat by Argentina was followed by impressive performances from Tunisia and Morocco in the first week of the tournament.
Senegal also slipped to an opening defeat at the World Cup but gave trouble to a strong Dutch side before injuries to midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate and defender Abdou Diallo broke the West Africans’ rhythm in the second half and the Dutch took advantage to score two late goals to achieve.
Kouyate is likely to be eliminated from the Qatar game but Senegal coach Aliou Cisse said the focus for his team is on offense where he has high expectations for a new combination of Ismaila Sarr, Boulaye Dia and Krepin Diatta.
They didn’t quite get it right in their first game together after Mane’s absence but if they manage against Qatar, as Cisse expects, it could be another long day at the World Cup for the hosts.
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