FIFA World Cup 2022: Hosts Qatar to gain experience by playing friendlies in European qualifying event

The arrangement provides Asian champion Qatar with 10 friendlies in Europe ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

The Associated Press December 09, 2020 00:24:08 IST
FIFA World Cup 2022: Hosts Qatar to gain experience by playing friendlies in European qualifying event

The Al Bayt Stadium will host the first match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup on 21 November. AP

Qatar will gain more match experience ahead of hosting the World Cup by effectively joining the qualifying group featuring European champion Portugal to play friendlies, a person with knowledge of the situation told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

The arrangement provides Asian champion Qatar with 10 friendlies in Europe ahead of the 2022 World Cup, the person said, speaking on condition of anonymity because the person was not authorised to discuss the situation publicly.

Opponents in Group A, drawn on Monday, include Serbia, Ireland, Luxembourg and Azerbaijan. Qatar are joining the only five-team qualifying group not featuring the UEFA Nations League finalists, while the other groups in Europe contain six sides.

Qatar are set to play all the matches in Europe. Because they received an automatic berth as hosts, they sought matches to ensure they are competitive at their first World Cup.

The Qataris are also set to play in both regional tournaments covering the Americas next year.

They will first contest the Copa América from 11 June-10 July as part of a group with co-host Colombia as well as Brazil, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela.

Then a Qatari team will be in the United States for the 10 July-1 August CONCACAF Gold Cup, the championship of North and Central America and the Caribbean.

Qatar won their first Asian Cup title in 2019 by beating Japan in the final and are No 59 in the FIFA world rankings.

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