Futsalroos face debutant Qatar


Having Group C opponents in the ranks of 11-time AFC Futsal Champions Iran and Korea Republic, both Qatar and Australia had their reality checked during the pre-tournament preparation campaign.

Australia played two friendly matches with Thailand and lost both while Qatar also suffered 5-3 loss to hosts UAE just a week before the tournament.

Despite having similar fate in the tune-up, both the coaches are optimistic about their chances of progressing in the quarterfinal.

“Here in this group, the race is on for the second position behind Iran,” Qatar’s Spanish coach Abdel Benaim remarked.

“We have a very young and enthusiastic bunch of players who, on the given day, can beat any team participating in the competitions.

“We don’t know Australia and they also don’t know about us but what we know is they are a strong opponent and we are making a debut so there will be surprises in the cards.”

Qatar qualified for the finals after being the surprising champions of the West Zone by beating Kuwait 3-2 in the final.

Australia travelled early from home to face Thailand in two friendlies which they lost both just a week before the tournament.

“We had a very good preparation and obviously, like other teams in the tournament, our aim is to take Australia in the FIFA Futsal World Cup finals later this year in Thailand,” said Australia coach Steve Knight.

“I saw the number of times Qatar play and I know the Qatar Football Federation has spent a lot of money while preparing for the tournament.

“I think we can only control what we can control as we will go to the game with solid defence and will see how Qatar will attack and then with the progress of the match we will see how we can win the match.”

Australia will be missing the services of suspended James Gregory while Qatar will be without Amro Mohssein Abdelaal for the Australia as well as Iran matches.

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