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Qatar will plan soon how to aim higher

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - FEBRUARY 01: Abdelkarim Hassan of Qatar celebrates with a teammate following their sides victory during the AFC Asian Cup final match between Japan and Qatar at Zayed Sports City Stadium on February 1, 2019 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Francois Nel/Getty Images)
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The Qatari national team won the AFC Asian Cup for the first time ever, but the 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts don’t want it to end there.

How to repeat success after winning the biggest achievement for your country? For Qatari national team squad members, everything is clear: they need to go beyond 2019.

Qatar will host the 2020 FIFA World Cup, and they are preparing to do well in the tournament by participating in competitions with high difficulty.

They won the 2019 AFC Asian Cup by beating Japan 3-1 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and are now preparing to play in the 2019 Copa America in Brazil as guests.

But after that, they don’t have many competitive matches, as they are automatically qualified to the World Cup.

“We are working on [the] target [of the] 2022 World Cup,” said striker Almoez Ali to MENAFN.

“We started now with the Asian Cup and managed to defeat Japan.”

“We’re preparing for it first with the Copa America in Brazil — we’re not expected to win that but just to learn in football,” he added.

“The weakest teams are in Asia — in the Copa America, we will learn more, we know the teams there has a different level.”

“We will learn a lot there that will benefit us as a team,” he explained.

“We have been together for seven years, I know Akram [Afif], where he will pass, and he knows what to expect from me,” Ali said.

“We get on very well together.”

Meanwhile, head coach Felix Sanchez is thrilled to have won and believed his team is going the right way.

“This is one step more to continue developing the team, to play another tournament in the summer, and be ready for 2022, to be a competitive team at the World Cup,” Sanchez said.

Qatar defeated in Group Stage its three rivals: Lebanon 3-0, North Korea 6-0 and Saudi Arabia 2-0.

The Maroons then went onto win against Iraq 1-0 on the Round of 16, then defeated South Korea 1-0 in the Quarterfinals, and trashed United Arab Emirates 4-0 in the Semifinals.

They managed to beat Japan 3-1 in the Final, receiving their first goal against in the tournament here, and finishing the tournament with a goal difference of 18 goals.