Carlos Queiroz has been named as the new head coach of Qatar.

The 2022 World Cup hosts had been without a coach since long-time boss Felix Sanchez's contract expired at the end of last year.

But Queiroz has succeeded Sanchez, having himself been out of work since Iran were eliminated from the World Cup.

That was the third finals the former Real Madrid coach had been to with Iran, although his two spells with the team were separated by unsuccessful stints with Colombia and Egypt.

Felix Sanchez has left his position as Qatar head coach after the World Cup hosts failed to collect a point in front of home fans.

A long career in Qatari football has ended with former Barcelona youth coach Sanchez saying he hopes to find a new challenge.

Qatar's performance was the worst statistically of any host nation in World Cup history. No other home side had ever lost as many as three matches or conceded as many as seven group-stage goals, which is what happened to Qatar.

Spaniard Sanchez took up an academy job in Qatar in 2006 before becoming directly involved with the national set-up at youth levels, later being appointed boss of the national team in 2017, with an Asian Cup triumph in 2019 marking the peak of his achievement in the job.

The Qatar Football Association (QFA) said Sanchez's departure was "mutually decided", with his contract having been due to expire on Saturday.

QFA president Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani said: "The football family of Qatar will always be grateful for the success he has brought to Qatari football over the years."

Sanchez said: "The past five years with Qatar's senior national team have been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

"I can only thank the QFA, Sheikh Hamad the president, and the country's leaders for their trust and support during a period in which we achieved a lot together. Qatar, its people, and its football will always be in my heart. Now is a good time to let others take on the responsibility of the team and for me to explore new challenges."

At the end of Qatar's World Cup campaign, which saw them lose to Ecuador, Senegal and the Netherlands, Sanchez bristled at the mention of his team's record in the group.

He said: "We never thought at any time to set a goal of reaching the last 16 or the quarter-finals. The goal was to get here, compete and see what we could do. Now we've seen.

"You can use statistics as you please, but we have to make our own assessment. That's what really matters to us."

David Beckham has praised the Qatar World Cup for uniting supporters and suggested the tournament's mid-season scheduling has raised the standard of football on display.

Beckham – who appeared in three editions of the World Cup for England – attracted criticism for his role as an ambassador for Qatar throughout the build-up to the tournament.

Qatar's criminalisation of homosexuality has been a key focus of the tournament's critics, while human rights charities have highlighted the poor conditions endured by workers in the country.

Last week, John Njau Kibue became the second known migrant worker to have died since the tournament began after suffering a serious fall during Argentina's quarter-final against the Netherlands at Lusail Stadium.

In a media release ahead of Sunday's final between Argentina and France, Beckham praised the tournament's on-pitch offering, crediting the scheduling for allowing players to be at their best. 

"Seeing the fans come together and the level of football – it's been amazing," Beckham. "It's been a privilege to see the excitement and the fun the fans are having.

"The level of football has been incredible. I was always a supporter of playing the World Cup in the middle of the season because I knew the players would be fresh and the fitness and energy levels would be higher."

England's campaign was halted by a quarter-final defeat to holders France, in which Harry Kane scored one penalty and missed another.

The Three Lions' major trophy drought will have stretched to 58 years by Euro 2024, though manager Gareth Southgate will lead the team at that tournament after opting to stay on.

Beckham was encouraged by England's displays in Qatar and believes their experience at the tournament will benefit them in Germany.

"We have real quality and the England players will take this experience to the next tournament," he said. "The fans are right behind us, the future's looking bright. 

"We have a lot of young players who will learn from this and take it on to the Euros and the next World Cup."

Qatar 2022 is a World Cup like no other, and the host nation performed like no other.

Theirs was the worst group-stage record of any home side at a World Cup, becoming the first to lose all three matches and conceding a landmark seven goals. Only South Africa, in 2010, had previously failed to make it out of the first round.

Controversially awarded the tournament months after Spain's Barcelona-inspired success at South Africa 2010, Qatar had plenty of time to prepare and soon put its faith in Catalan coach Felix Sanchez.

He worked first with the nation's youth teams before taking the top job five years out from the World Cup.

Although Sanchez led Qatar to Asian Cup success in 2019, he never considered a World Cup run a serious possibility – or so he said after a third straight defeat last month.

"Our country has 6,000 federation football licences, so this was a likely outcome," he explained. "We never set a goal to reach the round of 16 or quarter-finals."

While Sanchez believed this to be a "very realistic" approach, Qatar undoubtedly underwhelmed.

However, fortunately for those with a vested interest in the country boosting its reputation at the finals, its presence on the pitch extends beyond Sanchez's national team.

Lionel Messi and Neymar, like Sanchez, were poached by Qatar from Barcelona, and they are having a far greater impact.

Of course, neither are counted among the naturalised Qatari citizens who turned out in the colours of the gulf nation, but the South American superstars, along with Kylian Mbappe, represent Qatari-owned Paris Saint-Germain every time they step out on the field.

If disappointed by Qatar's woeful displays before his eyes, Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, the Emir, could at least therefore be heartened by the influence of his club side.

PSG's takeover by Qatar Sports Investments followed hot on the heels of FIFA's vote for the 2022 hosting rights, yet it scarcely could have dreamed of the status its players would enjoy when the tournament finally came around.

Admittedly, things could have been very different had this World Cup taken place in the Northern Hemisphere's summer, as is the norm.

At the end of the 2021-22 season, Messi was coming off the worst club campaign of his career, Neymar had again spent long stretches out injured, and Mbappe appeared set to leave PSG for Real Madrid.

Six months on, all three were in form, all three were fit, and all three were still at PSG.

In Europe's top five leagues, Erling Haaland (21) alone has more goal involvements in 2022-23 than Neymar (20). Mbappe (10) leads the same metric in the Champions League. Both in Europe's top five leagues and in the Champions League, Messi sets the benchmark for assists (10 and four).

For Messi and Mbappe, that level of performance has continued in Qatar. They have carried Argentina and France respectively into the quarter-finals, with Messi scoring three and assisting one of La Albiceleste's seven goals while Mbappe has netted five and created two of the world champions' nine.

Meanwhile, Neymar was forced to watch as his club colleagues seized control of this competition, injured after a brutal Brazil opener in which he was fouled nine times by Serbia players and hobbled off with a severely swollen ankle.

But now he has come to the party – and it is always a party where Brazil are concerned.

Neymar scored one goal and assisted another in a dazzling first half against South Korea that set up a 4-1 last-16 victory. He is the first Brazil player since at least 1966 to both score and assist at three different World Cups.

The first of those Neymar World Cup goals came back in 2014 against next opponents Croatia, who have not looked capable of stopping a Selecao side in full flow, scraping past Japan only after a penalty shoot-out.

As in Sao Paulo at Brazil's home World Cup, the stands at Education City Stadium will be decked in yellow for Friday's quarter-final, although many of those present will be supporting Neymar himself as much as his team.

Travelling fans from outside the Middle East are in relatively short supply in Qatar, but there are no shortage of Neymar, Messi or Mbappe shirts at Brazil, Argentina or France matches.

It speaks to the success of the PSG project that this foothold in the world game has been established not by Qatar's investment in its national team or by its hosting of the greatest tournament of all.

While there is focus in Europe on QSI's failure to deliver Champions League glory, its thirst for star-power has been rewarded with a genuine interest in the last eight of a World Cup, Qatar's own World Cup.

And unlike in club competitions, where cohesion is key and PSG cannot blow the best teams away, superstars can single-handedly decide the day at this level.

Brazil – and QSI – have one of those; there could yet be cause for celebration for Sheikh Tamim and Qatar if Neymar again performs like the world's most expensive player over the next 10 days.

Louis van Gaal was heartened by Memphis Depay's display on his first start at the World Cup as he had a hand in both goals in a 2-0 Netherlands win over Qatar.

Depay is the Oranje's star man but had been restricted to the role of substitute in their first two matches following a hamstring injury.

But the Barcelona forward was called in from the start as the Netherlands needed three points to be sure of top spot in Group A.

Although Depay did not score, he was involved in the build-up to Cody Gakpo's opener and then had the shot that led to Frenkie de Jong converting a rebound for the second.

Coach Van Gaal was "so pleased" to have taken a risk by including Depay, Marten de Roon and Matthijs de Ligt, who had all been dealing with fitness concerns.

"The difference is Memphis is playing," he said. "He was involved in those two goals. That is the big difference.

"We have to bring Memphis into the game gradually, because he hasn't played in about two months."

Meanwhile, Van Gaal described Gakpo, who has three goals in three games, as having "everything it takes to become a star".

Van Gaal was certainly more impressed by his two forwards than he was by a question suggesting the Netherlands had underwhelmed.

"I think you have a different perspective on football than I," responded Van Gaal.

"Why don't you write down that it's terribly boring and you're going home tomorrow because you couldn't care less?"

When it was put to the coach that many fans concurred, he replied: "That's disappointing, but I don't agree. I think everyone would be rather proud that we're progressing to the next round."

Davy Klaassen, for his part, had accepted it was a fair assessment.

"If you play against Qatar, everyone will expect you'll win 5-0 or more," Klaassen said. "This tournament has shown it's very difficult.

"It's not like 10 years ago when you have the results you used to have. No country so far has shown these results in the group stage."

Qatar coach Felix Sanchez gave no assurances around his future but bristled at mention of his side's performance being the worst statistically of any host nation in World Cup history.

No other home side have lost as many as three matches or conceded as many as seven group-stage goals.

"We're talking about statistics. We're a country with 6,000 football licences, so this was a likely situation," Sanchez said.

"We never thought at any time to set a goal of reaching the last 16 or the quarter-finals. The goal was to get here, compete and see what we could do. Now we've seen.

"We managed to play two good games against the Netherlands and Senegal, knowing what tough opponents they are. We know in our first game we weren't at our usual level and didn't compete that well.

"We're very realistic about what we can do, where we're heading, what is expected of us.

"You can use statistics as you please, but we have to make our own assessment. That's what really matters to us."

Cody Gakpo scored in a third consecutive World Cup match as the Netherlands eased into the knockout stage by beating Qatar 2-0 to top Group A.

PSV attacker Gakpo has been one of the breakout stars of the tournament and impressed again at Al Bayt Stadium, setting the Oranje on their way to victory with a clinical 26th-minute strike.

As Senegal defeated Ecuador elsewhere, a further goal from Frenkie de Jong made sure of a straightforward victory to clinch first place in the pool.

Gakpo likely would not have had such a prominent role thus far if not for Memphis Depay's hamstring injury, but the pair started together on Tuesday and will now aim to link up again in the last 16 against the Group B runners-up.

The Netherlands immediately looked more threatening for having Depay in the line-up, although he failed to get a shot away in an early scramble in the box, leading Daley Blind to aim tamely at Meshaal Barsham, and soon lashed over.

It was Gakpo who instead delivered the goods once more following a lovely move, laying the ball off to Davy Klaassen and taking the return to fire a firm finish into the bottom-right corner.

Dreadful defending from Qatar then allowed Louis van Gaal's men to double their lead four minutes into the second half as Barsham blocked from Depay but De Jong was able to beat two men to the rebound in front of the goal line.

A third for Steven Berghuis was ruled out for a handball by Gakpo in the build-up, with the substitute also hitting the bar in stoppage time, but events in the other match meant the Netherlands' position was never under threat.

What does it mean? Oranje go on the offensive

The Netherlands had attempted only 12 shots worth a combined 0.8 expected goals across their first two matches, outperforming only Costa Rica in each metric.

Qatar made for accommodating opponents on Tuesday, but Depay's return alongside Gakpo led to a far more dangerous display. The Oranje produced 12 attempts worth 1.6 xG in this game alone.

Another crucial Gakpo goal

Any Netherlands nerves were eased by another opening goal from Gakpo, who had broken the deadlock against both Senegal and Ecuador.

He is the fourth Oranje player to net in three straight World Cup appearances and only the second player from any nation to open the scoring three times in the same group stage at a finals, along with Italy's Alessandro Altobelli in the first round in 1986.

Unwanted records for hosts

In conceding seven goals and losing three matches, Qatar set new records for hosts at a World Cup finals. This was not the sort of history they set out to make 10 days ago.

What's next?

The Netherlands will learn the identity of their last-16 opponents later on Tuesday, as Qatar reflect on a gruelling first World Cup experience.

Memphis Depay was named in the Netherlands starting XI for the first time at the 2022 World Cup ahead of their final Group A match against Qatar.

The Barcelona forward was battling a hamstring injury heading into the tournament and was initially ruled out of the opener against Senegal, only to appear from the bench in a 2-0 win.

Depay was a substitute again as Louis van Gaal's side drew with Ecuador, and the coach insisted ahead of the meeting with hosts Qatar he would be taking no risks.

However, he said: "We're going to do anything and everything to progress to the next match."

That has led to a recall for talisman Depay – a member of Van Gaal's 2014 World Cup squad in Brazil – who lines up alongside breakout star Cody Gakpo in attack.

Gakpo was a chief beneficiary of Depay's absence, trusted to be the Netherlands' creative force behind a front two of Steven Bergwijn and Vincent Janssen.

The PSV attacker, linked with Manchester United, was moved into the front line against Ecuador and now keeps his place there, linking up with Depay.

Gakpo has scored two of the Oranje's three goals so far.

The Netherlands will be through with a win or a draw and would advance regardless if Ecuador defeated Senegal.

France, Brazil and Portugal are the only sides to have already secured World Cup knockout football, with numerous teams facing a nervy final matchday as they bid to reach the round of 16 in Qatar.

Pre-tournament favourites Brazil breezed through Group G with wins over Serbia and Switzerland, while France became the first reigning world champions to escape the group stage since the Selecao in 2006.

Portugal made sure of their round-of-16 spot after Monday's Group H victory over Uruguay, yet the likes of England, Spain, Germany and Argentina all need results on matchday three to progress.

The Netherlands are another big name that have yet to confirm their place in the latter stages of FIFA's top tournament, while Belgium face a tense Group F clash with Croatia to avoid an early exit.

Here, Stats Perform takes a look at the permutations riding on the final selection of group-stage action in the Middle East.

Group A

The Netherlands are largely in control of Group A, needing to just avoid defeat against the already eliminated hosts, Qatar.

Louis van Gaal's side will also reach the round of 16 if Ecuador beat Senegal, who have to win otherwise Aliou Cisse's side will rely on a somewhat unlikely win for Qatar over the Netherlands to remain in contention.

Ecuador, who have impressed in their first two games, must win or draw against Senegal to progress. However, Gustavo Alfaro's men could go through in defeat if Qatar beat the Netherlands.

Group B

A win or a draw is enough for England against fierce rivals Wales. Yet, the Three Lions would still progress as long as they avoid a four-goal defeat against Wales, whose goal difference is six fewer.

Iran are guaranteed to qualify with victory over the United States, who know anything other than a win against Carlos Queiroz's side will see them eliminated from the competition.

Quieroz's men could still escape Group B with a draw, though goal difference would come into play if Wales pick up their first win at the tournament against Gareth Southgate's England.

Group C

All four teams can still make it out of an enticing Group C, with Argentina – who were among the pre-tournament favourites – needing to beat Poland to guarantee a round-of-16 place.

La Albiceleste could progress with a draw, however, and would be through in that instance if Mexico and Saudi Arabia also share the spoils.

Yet, if Lionel Scaloni's men are held and Herve Renard's men beat El Tri, Argentina will be eliminated. If Mexico win and Argentina draw, it goes to goal difference.

Poland would go through by avoiding defeat, but would be knocked out by a loss coupled with a Saudi Arabia victory over Mexico, who must win to have any chance of remaining in the tournament.

If Poland lose and Saudi Arabia draw, the two teams will have to be separated by goal difference, which will also be used if Czeslaw Michniewicz's side are defeated and Mexico win.

Group D

France are already in the round-of-16 draw and will top Group D as long as they do not lose to Tunisia and Australia do not defeat Denmark, otherwise the Socceroos would move level on six points with Les Bleus.

While victory would take Australia through, Graham Arnold's side would still reach the knockout stage with a draw unless Tunisia beat France, which would see Jalel Kadri's men progress on goal difference.

Denmark would grab qualification with a win over Australia unless Tunisia triumph over France, which would leave goal difference or goals scored to separate the Carthage Eagles and Kasper Hjulmand's men.

Group E

Spain are the favourites to progress from Group E, requiring a win or draw against Japan. Defeat would see Luis Enrique's side still go through on goal difference, unless Germany lose to Costa Rica.

Germany must pick up three points to stay in contention and would qualify as long as Spain defeat Japan, though a draw in the latter game or a win for Hajime Moriyasu's men would see goal difference needed.

A win for Japan over Spain would take Moriyasu's side through, while a draw – coupled with a stalemate for Germany – would also see the Samurai Blue make the knockout stage.

Costa Rica would earn a last-16 spot with victory and a point would also take them through if Spain overcome Japan. A draw in both games or a defeat for Fernando Suarez's side sees them eliminated.

Group F

Croatia will pass through Group F if they avoid defeat against Belgium, who require victory against the 2018 runners-up to guarantee a place in the round of 16.

Such a win for Belgium would leave Croatia needing already eliminated Canada to overcome Morocco, with goal difference coming into play to separate Zlatko Dalic's side from the Atlas Lions.

A draw is likely not enough for Belgium. They would need Morocco to lose to Canada and then rely on goal difference, though Walid Regragui's men (+2) hold the advantage over Roberto Martinez's side (-1) in the decisive metric.

Morocco would progress with victory over Canada, while a defeat would see Regragui's side reliant on Belgium beating Croatia for goal difference to be decisive between Dalic's men and the Atlas Lions for second.

Group G

Brazil have secured knockout football and will finish as Group G winners with anything other than defeat against Cameroon, who need victory against Tite's side and results to go their way to make the last 16.

Rigobert Song's men would be eliminated if they do not win, though victory is not guaranteed to secure progression as Switzerland could play out a high-scoring draw with Serbia to go through on goals scored, which is used if sides cannot be separated on goal difference – Cameroon are currently on -1 and Switzerland level in the latter metric.

The somewhat expected scenario of Cameroon losing to Brazil would see Serbia and Switzerland become a winner-takes-all clash. 

Dragan Stojkovic's side need victory to progress in that instance, while a draw would be enough for Switzerland. Goal difference would be required if Serbia (-2) and Cameroon (-1) both win their final encounters.

Group H

Portugal are already through and would top Group H by avoiding defeat against South Korea, who could still make a late charge for the round-of-16 stage should the result between Uruguay and Ghana go their way.

The permutations are straightforward for Uruguay and South Korea, who must win to avoid elimination, though qualification is not assured even with victory.

Both teams would be level on four points with victories, again leading to goal difference to separate. Yet, if Ghana beat Uruguay then South Korea's result against Portugal will prove irrelevant for Paulo Bento's side.

A draw for Ghana and a win for South Korea would also see goal difference required to split the two sides, with Bento's men trailing the Black Stars by one in that metric, which could mean goals scored comes into it.

This was not the way Qatar will have wanted their home tournament to go.

With almost 12 years to prepare, the Maroons tried to put themselves in a position to be an inspirational underdog at their World Cup.

That has not proven to be the case, with defeats against Ecuador and Senegal seeing them become the first host nation ever to be eliminated after two games.

Qatar still have one more to go, though, and arguably the most glamorous one as they prepare to take on the Netherlands in their final outing.

Felix Sanchez's men will not just want to claim a morale-boosting big scalp to go out on a high, but will also be keen to avoid defeat as no host nation have ever lost as many as three matches at a World Cup.

The Netherlands topped the group after matchday two, but only just, after a fairly uninspiring 1-1 draw against Ecuador that kept them above La Tri on goal difference, and a point ahead of third-placed Senegal.

Louis van Gaal's side will go through if they avoid defeat on Tuesday, and have history on their side as only in 1978 (v Scotland) have the Netherlands lost their final group match at the World Cup (excluding second group phases), winning four and drawing three.


The experienced coach has acknowledged his team are yet to get going in Qatar, saying on Friday: "If we want to become world champions, we need to improve a lot, because the quality of the opponents we have yet to face is at a much higher level."

A 2-0 win against Senegal in their opener felt somewhat fortunate, while they had to rely on the woodwork to prevent Ecuador from coming back from a goal down to beat them.

While Qatar are not one of those higher-quality opponents Van Gaal will have been referring to, the Dutch will need to ensure they are on their game at Al Bayt Stadium.

Speaking after defeat to Senegal on Friday, Sanchez said: "We intend to be competitive [against the Netherlands]. We cannot miss a chance like this to play against the Netherlands, so our plan, the goal is to play a good game."

They could gain hope from the fact that the host country have won their final group match in five of the last six World Cups (including both Japan and South Korea as joint-hosts in 2002), with Russia losing 3-0 to Uruguay in 2018 in the other.


Netherlands – Cody Gakpo

The Dutch have struggled to create so far, having just four shots on target across their first two games, though three of those have ended up in the net. Since 1966, the fewest total shots on target from the Netherlands in a group stage at the World Cup is 10 in 1990.

Gakpo has been a shining light, though, having been directly involved in at least one goal in his last five appearances for the Netherlands in all competitions (four goals, one assist). For club and country in all competitions this season, Gakpo has been involved in 34 goals in 28 appearances, scoring 16 goals and assisting a further 18.

The 23-year-old has put his country 1-0 up in both games in Qatar so far, and only three players have ever scored in three consecutive World Cup appearances for the Dutch; Johan Neeskens (1974), Dennis Bergkamp (1994) and Wesley Sneijder (2010).

Qatar – Boualem Khoukhi

While they will want to put on a show for their fans as they bow out of the tournament, Qatar will surely spend the majority of the game defending.

Khoukhi put in some shift to try and keep Senegal out, even if it ended up in vain, with his nine clearances being seven more than any other Qatari player, while he also had more touches (83) and passes attempted (64) than any of his team-mates.

Qatar have conceded five goals so far, with no host nation ever conceding more in a single group stage, with South Africa also conceding five in 2010.


According to Stats Perform's prediction model, this will be a straightforward win for the Netherlands, having been given an 82.9 per cent chance of taking all three points.

The supercomputer has assigned an 11.5 per cent chance of a draw, while what would be a famous victory for Qatar has just a 5.6 per cent chance of happening.

Louis van Gaal does not believe he has placed added pressure on his Netherlands squad by targeting World Cup glory, instead suggesting the players are on board with his ambitious aims.

Van Gaal talked up Oranje's chances right from the start of this tournament and has continued to do so, even if their performances in beating Senegal and drawing with Ecuador have not been entirely convincing.

The Netherlands still have work to do in their third match against Qatar to book a last-16 place, but the coach does not regret being so open with his goals for the finals.

"I hope this is no pressure at all, because I think you always have to identify the goal, the purpose for which you are here," he said. "Then you can work towards that purpose.

"If you don't identify that purpose and say the quarter-finals is enough, that is not the right way to do things. The right thing is to say you want to become champions.

"I set out the reasons why we can become champions. I didn't say we would become champions, but we can. The players believe in that."

That belief is evident in Frenkie de Jong, appearing alongside Van Gaal on Monday, as he said: "I think we have an excellent squad. We have demonstrated that on more than enough occasions.

"We are 17 matches unbeaten, that is telling. We have four points, and we played two excellent opponents. We're well positioned despite the fact the last match we didn't play as well as we could.

"We talked a lot in the squad about what we want to do, what we want to improve. Everyone is full of confidence, so it's up to us to show you."

Van Gaal plans to stay up to date with the score from the other game in Group A on Tuesday – the Netherlands will advance even with a defeat if Senegal also lose – but he is not overly concerned whether his side top the pool and secure a supposedly easier draw.

"If you want to become a world champion, you will have to be capable of beating everyone," he said. "Particularly those countries you don't suspect will progress very far, they are progressing or making it difficult."

The Netherlands will also need their key players fit and firing if they are to go all the way.

Van Gaal is "not surprised at all" by Cody Gakpo's form at the finals, believing he can "evolve even further, much further", but he knows Memphis Depay can be decisive.

"To become world champion, we need Memphis," said Van Gaal. "That's how I see it."

Depay has not started yet as he works his way back from injury, but the coach added: "We're going to do anything and everything to progress to the next match. We're still in the group stage, but in the knockout stage every match is important."

If Van Gaal is able to guide the Netherlands to glory, could he yet stay on as coach into 2023?

The coach himself pointed out that would be unlikely, given Ronald Koeman has been appointed as his successor, but he added: "If we become world champion, then the football world is a very opportunistic world. You never know."

Qatar have become the first side to be eliminated from the World Cup, with the host nation bowing out following the 1-1 draw between the Netherlands and Ecuador in Group A.

The Asian Cup winners were undone in their opening group match against the South Americans, losing 2-0, and fell to a 3-1 defeat to Senegal on Friday – becoming the first World Cup host to lose two matches in a single group round.

Qatar's defeat also saw them become only the third host nation to concede three goals in a single group stage match, after South Africa in 2010 and Russia in 2018 – both of whom lost 3-0 to Uruguay.

Felix Sanchez's side now head into their final group game against the Netherlands with nothing but pride to play for, with no host nation having been eliminated earlier in the World Cup than Qatar (two matches).

They join South Africa as the only hosts not to advance to the second round of the tournament, while failure to win against the Dutch would see them stand as the only host nation not to win a single game at the World Cup.

Qatar have at least found the net in the tournament, Mohammed Muntari making history by becoming the first player to score at the World Cup for his side, though it proved to be merely a consolation.

African teams should be confident of going far in the World Cup, and even winning the tournament, according to Senegal boss Aliou Cisse.

Senegal beat hosts Qatar 3-1 on Friday to get their first points on the board in Group A.

The Africa Cup of Nations winners lost star player Sadio Mane to injury before the start of the World Cup, and were unable to put away their chances in an opening loss against the Netherlands.

But Cisse believes his team, as well as other African sides in action in the Middle East – Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco and Tunisia – should have faith they can challenge the top nations.

Cisse pointed to the shock wins for Japan and Saudi Arabia, over Germany and Argentina respectively, as evidence to support his claim.

"Just look at how the World Cup is unfolding, with a lot of surprises," Cisse said.

"We've seen David bring down Goliath. Japan beat Germany, Saudi Arabia beat Argentina – anything is possible.

"All teams competing are worthy of being here. It's not like 30 years ago where the big fish were completely neutralising the smaller teams.

"I think it will be a World Cup full of surprises. Yes, an African country can win the World Cup, and I hope that country is Senegal!"

With their win over Qatar, Senegal became the first African side to beat the host nation at a World Cup; all of the previous four instances of an African side facing the hosts had seen them lose by an aggregate 12-2 score.

Cisse had called on his forwards to improve after the defeat to the Dutch. Boulaye Dia, Famara Diedhiou and Bamba Dieng answered their coach's call.

"Yes, we understood the message loud and clear," said Dia, when asked by Stats Perform if he felt the Senegal forwards had done what was asked of them.

"We were not efficient against the Netherlands. We had lots of scoring chances, we should have put some away.

"The coach honed in on this: efficiency, efficiency, efficiency. We need to get in front of the goal and create those chances.

"We're all very happy, all of the forwards able to score – happy days!"

The Netherlands missed the chance to become the first team at the World Cup to cement a last-16 place as Ecuador's Enner Valencia cancelled out Cody Gakpo's sublime strike in Friday's 1-1 draw. 

As in Monday's win over Senegal, Louis van Gaal's team were far from their fluid best, though they still took an early lead when in-demand forward Gakpo rifled in from 20 yards.

However, Ecuador were lively throughout and were good value for their leveller, which made Valencia just the fourth player in World Cup history to score six consecutive goals for a nation at the tournament, though the striker was forced off injured just before the end of the contest.

That could impact his hopes of landing the Golden Boot, but Valencia's strike kept Ecuador and the Oranje locked together on four points in Group A, and condemned hosts Qatar to an early exit after their 3-1 defeat to Senegal.

The Netherlands needed just six minutes to take the lead, and they did so in spectacular fashion as Gakpo latched onto Davy Klaassen's flick-on before hammering into the top-left corner.

Ecuador offered a positive response to that setback, however, forcing Virgil van Dijk into two last-ditch interventions before Valencia tested Andries Noppert from range.

La Tri thought they had found a leveller on the stroke of half-time, but Pervis Estupinan's instinctive finish was chalked off after the offside Jackson Porozo was ruled to have blocked Noppert's view.

Ecuador were not to be denied again within four minutes of the restart though, as Valencia pounced to tap home the rebound when Noppert saved Estupinan's effort.

Gustavo Alfaro's side almost capped an encouraging display with a second when Gonzalo Plata rattled the crossbar with a fine left-footed effort.

However, Ecuador's mood was dampened by a significant blow in the closing exchanges as Valencia was carried off on a stretcher after going down clutching his knee.

Qatar head coach Felix Sanchez described Qatar 2022 as a "great World Cup" despite his side being on the verge of elimination following a 3-1 defeat to Senegal on Friday.

Mohammed Muntari gave them hope of snatching a point after Boulaye Dia and Famara Diedhiou had put Senegal 2-0 up, yet substitute Bamba Dieng rounded off Senegal's victory six minutes from time.

The result saw them became only the third host nation to concede three goals in a single group stage game, after South Africa in 2010 and Russia in 2018 (both 3-0 defeats to Uruguay).

Despite the disappointment of a likely early exit, Sanchez was full of praise for the tournament – the first to be held in the Middle East.

"We are aware of how tough this competition is, we wanted to go far but we have some limitations in our country," he said.

"It’s small, we play in a local league that is not the most competitive, but we have made a great effort.

"Expectations were to give good performances and organise a good World Cup. We wanted to show what we can do on the pitch.

"Most of the opponents are ahead of us but the players performed very well. Some moments we managed to compete.

"It's our first World Cup participation. If we could take part in it again, great.

"We want this to be a great World Cup at all levels. That's what we are experiencing – a great World Cup, full stadiums and good matches.

"We are very happy with the attendance. I think they really supported us and we're very proud of our fans who came here to show their support through the game.

Qatar round off their Group A campaign against the Netherlands next week, with Sanchez adamant his side will give everything they have got against Louis van Gaal's more illustrious opponents.

"We have a very tough game ahead of us," he added. "We intend to be competitive. We cannot miss a chance like this to play against the Netherlands, so our plan, the goal is to play a good game.

"We will be facing a team that hopes to go far in the World Cup. The key here is this country has a goal in mind. The World Cup will finish, but football will continue here. We want to keep developing talent, keep competing in Asia."

World Cup hosts Qatar are staring down the barrel of an early exit from the tournament after suffering a 3-1 defeat to Senegal.

Beaten 2-0 by Ecuador in their opening Group A match, a late push on Friday at Al Thumama Stadium was not enough for Qatar to claim a much-needed result.

With Boulaye Dia and Famara Diedhiou having put Senegal in control, Qatar had hope when Mohammed Muntari scored their first World Cup goal.

However, it was too little too late for the hosts, with substitute Bamba Dieng rounding off Senegal's victory six minutes from time.

After a bright start from Senegal, the lively Qatar fans gathered behind Edouard Mendy's goal were furious in the 34th minute, when Akram Afif was bundled over by Ismaila Sarr, but referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz waved away the seemingly valid penalty appeals.

Yet just as they had grown into the game, Qatar were made to pay for Boualem Khoukhi's calamitous error, with his failed clearance falling to Dia, who made no mistake with a composed finish.

Qatar's hopes were dealt a further blow three minutes into the second half – Diedhiou turning in Ismail Jakobs' inswinging corner.

Senegal had Mendy to thank for two excellent stops as Qatar searched for a goal back, the Chelsea goalkeeper brilliantly denying Almoez Ali and Ismaeel Mohammad.

Muntari's superb header four minutes after coming on set up a grandstand finish, yet Dieng swept home to strike the decisive blow and leave Qatar on the brink.

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