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“NO ALMOEZ ALI, NO PARTY”!!! Qatar U23 head home early after 2019's success

“NO ALMOEZ ALI, NO PARTY”!!! Qatar U23 head home early after 2019's success

After the consecutive successes from 2016 with their “Golden Generation”, Qatar U23 was eliminated soon at the group stage of the AFC U23 Championship 2020.

A 1-1 draw against an eliminated Japan U23 brought Qatar U23 down to disqualification in the AFC U23 Championship 2020. In a match which Japan has played with no pressure, whereas for Qatar, it is a must-win, the Middle East side came up short, trailing in the game and could not find the winning goal even though Japan lost a man earlier on.

Finally, they ended the competition with 3 unimpressive draws. Head coach Felix Sanchez, with a new young roster that can not find enough chemistry throughout the team, earned themselves an early ticket back home after much expectation before the tournament.

“NO ALMOEZ ALI, NO PARTY”!!! Qatar U23 head home early after 2019s success

Looking at the roster of this tournament, all 23 Qatari players were domestically call-up, unlike 2 years ago, with many European youngsters were called. 3 of whom were from Spain, and 2 were from Belgium were key players in the last time out in China. The squad created a much-needed foundation to later on conquered the ASIAN Cup, to become the best in Asia.

Without the likes of Almoez Ali or Akram Afif in the team, the team played without hierarchy and connections. Less than five players participating in this year’s tournament were also in the tournament roster 2 years ago. The quality of the roster has been down at a lower level.

At the last tournament, Almoez Ali bagged home the Top Scorer award with 6 goals. Attacking midfielder Akram Afif also had 3 goals on his own, while his role was to create plays. But now, without the duo, Qatar looks to be as weak as ever.

“NO ALMOEZ ALI, NO PARTY”!!! Qatar U23 head home early after 2019s success

Qatar U23 lacks concentration at the injury minutes against Syria U23, causing them a draw. The next goalless draw against Saudi Arabia U23 was somewhat a valiant effort since they were dominated. But the last match against Japan U23 was distraught. Japan lost a man just before half-time but scored first in the second half. Only one goal to equalize was not enough, as they seem to short of attacking plans.

Possession-wise, they were good. Defensively, they were good. Chance creating, they were good, too. But that was not enough. They lack mentality in crucial moments. They lack plan B when plan A didn’t turn out well. And they could not produce an equally good generation like the one before – the generation that overcomes the whole Asia with 7 wins in 7 matches.

“NO ALMOEZ ALI, NO PARTY”!!! Qatar U23 head home early after 2019s success

However, head coach Felix Sanchez remains positive in the team, stated that "the team gained much experienced". As the door to participate in the Olympics is officially closed, the Spanish manager will now move on to the next goals with Qatar.