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What the Asian Cup win means for Qatar, host of 2022 World Cup | Qatar News

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Qatar running rampant to secure a maiden Asian Cup title in Abu Dhabi might have been the worst-case scenario for the hosts, but it also offered hope for Gulf football that the 2022 World Cup might not now be a humiliating experience for the region.

That was always a possibility when Qatar, whose team have never qualified for the World Cup, was named host country of the 22nd edition of world football’s showpiece, the smallest nation to receive the honour and the first from the Arab world.

Qatar coach Felix Sanchez said throughout the Asian Cup that his mission was to show that his young squad could match the best teams in Asia and they delivered, beating former champions Saudi Arabia, Iraq and South Korea on their way to the final.

On Friday, they conceded their first goal of the tournament but still stunned four-times champions and World Cup regulars Japan 3-1, with striker Almoez Ali setting an Asian Cup scoring record with his ninth goal.

It was a beauty, too, an overhead kick taken with such composure that one would never have guessed that Sudan-born Ali and his Iraqi-born team-mate Bassam Al-Rawi were under the cloud of an eligibility row until only a few hours before kickoff.





Qatari fans celebrate after winning the AFC Asian Cup at the Doha Corniche [Ibraheem al Omari/Reuters]

Politics are never far from the surface in football and the political and economic blockade of Qatar launched by the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Egypt 18 months ago hung heavily over the later stages of the tournament.

There were almost no Qataris in the stadium to witness their triumph, with thousands of Omanis making the journey from the neighbouring country to step in as proxy supporters.

Ali and his team-mates had been pelted with sandals and drinks bottles for the temerity of celebrating their goals when the locals finally turned out to support the UAE in the semifinals, only to witness a humiliating 4-0 rout.

In farcical scenes after Friday’s final, Saudi journalists berated Japan coach Hajime Moriyasu for not having delivered the thumping they felt Qatar deserved, rants that the bemused Moriyasu answered with a polite “thank you”.

The timing of the UAE FA protest against the eligibility of Ali and Al Rawi, which was dismissed, was left looking at best like bad sportsmanship and at worst, a politically motivated attempt to derail the Qataris.

Japan and Qatar will next play competitively as guest nations at the Copa America, a tacit admission that other Asian countries do not offer strong enough opposition to truly test a team with ambitions to compete at the highest level.

Ali made that charge explicit, declaring Asia was the weakest of football’s regions and saying he needed to go to Europe to improve his game before 2022.

It was hard to argue with his analysis given the standard of some of the football at the first Asian Cup featuring an expanded 24-team field.

Australia flop

A format that left some teams still in with a chance of advancing despite losing their first two matches did not help, and neither did a lack of marketing which resulted in many UAE residents being completely unaware the Asian Cup was happening.

The champions, Australia, flopped in the quarter-finals mainly because of their inability to turn dominant performances into goals, while Saudi hopes that they could end their long wait since their third title lasted only until the round of 16.

Carlos Queiroz’s Iran looked like they might end their 43-year drought until they were undone in the semifinals by the only Japan performance that came anywhere near the dominant style that won the Samurai Blue four titles.

With some emotion, Queiroz drew a close to his eight years in charge of Team Melli, as did China’s Italian World Cup-winning coach Marcello Lippi following his error-prone side’s defeat to Iran in the last eight.

There were some bright notes from nations with less footballing pedigree – India were denied a first run to the knockout stages only by a stoppage-time penalty and Vietnam’s effervescent style took them to the last eight.

South Korea were joined by the one Asian player of world stature for their third match but a fatigued Son Heung-min failed to revive their lacklustre campaign and returned to Tottenham Hotspur after the quarterfinal loss to Qatar.

Ali was named Player of the Tournament but the award could easily have gone to his skilful forward partner Akram Afif, who sealed the title for Qatar when he coolly dispatched a spot kick for the final goal of the 17th Asian Cup. 


SOURCE:
Reuters news agency

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Bride calls off wedding after discovering fiancé made ‘sexist’ demand to her dad

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A bride made the devastating decision to cancel her wedding to her partner of seven years after her dad revealed the ‘sexist’ demand his family had made behind her back.

The dad says his daughter got engaged recently and he had always been fond of her fiancé, who he thought of as “kind, humble and always respectful to our family”.

However, he says when he has met the man’s family for dinner on a couple of occasions, they made remarks towards his daughter which made him feel uncomfortable, including: ‘I don’t know why you’re working, isn’t that the husband’s job? It’s the mother’s job to be taking care of the children’.

As his daughter pair pressed ahead with their plans for the ceremony, the dad says her fiancé arranged a meeting with them both and his parents, adding that his daughter couldn’t be involved.

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Gordon Ramsay’s £20 ‘preselected’ cheese board labelled ‘insulting’ by furious customer

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Gordon Ramsay has sparked outrage once again as a customer complained that a cheese board he received at one of the celebrity chef’s restaurants was “insulting” and “preselected”.

Previously, Gordon was slammed for the size of his steak and chips, was told to “get a grip” for the price of his fry-up and criticised for the roast which was compared to a ‘child’s portion’.

But the latest customer to be disappointed by the TV chef’s food was Simon, who visited the three Michelin star restaurant with friends, Daily Star reports.

Simon was ‘insulted’ after receiving a “preselected” cheese board, and took to TripAdvisor to leave a two-star review.

Their review said: “I visited GR hospital road on a Friday night with friends for a special treat.

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Mum shares tip to fit three pizzas on one oven shelf to make family cooking easy

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Cooking pizzas for the whole family should be quick and easy dinner option – but it usually also throws up a headache.

With only one small oven to get the job done, we have to decide between either cooking one at a time and eating separately, or attempting to rotate them every few minutes to cook them evenly.

But one mum has revealed a painfully easy solution to get three frozen pizzas on one shelf, giving her room to put chips on a tray below – and you’ll wonder why your brain has never come up with the solution itself.

Posting on the Family Lockdown Tips & Ideas Facebook group, the mum demonstrated how she cuts the frozen pizzas in half before arranging them all on a single oven rack, making use of all available space.

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