Asian champions Qatar change their attention as the World Cup Preliminaries games start up again

Asian champions Qatar

Asian Champions Qatar will play Kuwait in their first-ever World Cup qualifying game on Thursday. The coaching staff will be the same, but the players will be different. This comes six weeks after Qatar won the Asian Cup at home.

Marquez Lopez was given a deal until 2026 last month after taking over from Carlos Queiroz in December on an interim basis. He led Qatar to a successful defense of their continental title.

But at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium, a new player will be in charge after Hassan Al-Haddos retires from international football. There will be a familiar face on the bench, though.

The 33-year-old captain led the team to wins in the Asian Cup 2019 and last month. He also led them to a poor performance as hosts of the 2022 World Cup. His departure leaves the team without a creative leader.

Lopes took over a team currently in first place in Group A with six points after beating Afghanistan and India in their first two games. The top two teams in each group move on to the next round of the preliminary games.

Eight Asian teams are certain to make the finals, and a ninth will go to an intercontinental playoff.

Qatar held the 2022 World Cup, but it has never made the finals. At the most recent tournament, Japan, South Korea, Australia, Iran, and Saudi Arabia won the Asian spots.

The Japanese play North Korea for the first time in two games, starting on Thursday in Tokyo. On Tuesday, Hajime Moriyasu’s team has a tough trip to Pyongyang in their first internationals since failing badly at the Asian Cup.

Japan is in first place in Group B with all three points after two games. North Korea is in second place with three points, tied with Syria, which plays Myanmar.

South Korea’s coach for their game against Thailand is Hwang Sun-hong, who took over as temporary manager after Juergen Klinsmann was fired after the Asian Cup.

Klinsmann’s team was eliminated from the continental title semi-finals after captain Son Heung-min and Lee Kang-in of Paris Saint-Germain got into a fight.

Two teams in Group C are behind the Koreans by three points each. The Thais are in second place, three points behind.

Uzbekistan and Iran are tied with four points in Group E. Iran hosts Turkmenistan in Tehran, while Uzbekistan goes to Hong Kong.

Australia is in first place in Group I after getting all three points before their game against Lebanon. In the meantime, Palestine is playing Bangladesh in Kuwait City because of the ongoing war between Israel and Gaza.

The team in first place in Group G, Saudi Arabia, plays the team in second place, Tajikistan. Roberto Mancini’s team is two points ahead of the surprising Asian Cup quarter finalists.

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