(MENAFN- The Peninsula)
HOUSTON, Texas: Coach Felix Sanchez on Tuesday praised Qatar’s performance, saying the team deserved to reach the Gold Cup’s quarterfinals.
On Tuesday, Qatar beat Honduras 2-0 for their second successive Gold Cup win. The Asian champions now face El Salvador in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
“Firstly, I congratulate the players for the excellent account of themselves they presented in the match in which we were the best from the start of the match,” Sanchez said.
“In the first half, we had many chances to score. In the second half also we played well.
Honduras came into the tie on the back of consecutive victories. At the same time, Qatar – playing in the competition on an invitational basis, started their campaign with a 3-3 draw against Panama before collecting a 4-0 win over Grenada.
“The players have proven that they are playing with great responsibility and with great professionalism in such crucial matches. The focus was there from our side, and this is the one key thing I can ask for as a coach,” Sanchez said.
When asked about their upcoming match against El Salvador in the quarterfinals, Sanchez said:“We had previously played against them before the tournament during our camp in Croatia, and it was a friendly match. So we know our opponents, and they also know us. The friendly matches are just a test only, although, through that contest, we learned a lot about them.”
He continued:“El Salvador at the current tournament have played good matches. Even in their last confrontation with Mexico, they were good. For this match, they will be strong, and we have to prepare well for it.”
When asked about Qatar’s experience of reaching the quarterfinals, Sanchez said:“This has been a good experience for us in a competitive tournament that features good teams participating in it. We are satisfied with what we have done so far as we have displayed good performances in this event, and we hope to continue our progress in the tournament. We are lucky to be present and play in this tournament.”
Sanchez hinted that they played the same way they appeared in the previous matches by focusing and pressing the opponents with attacking play.
He concluded his press conference by saying he was pleased to see the“solid showing” exhibited by young Homam Al-Amin.
“We do not choose players according to their age. Homam Al-Amin played a great match, and we are happy to have a player like him with us after a distinguished season in the league, and it is very nice to have young players who add to our strength,” Sanchez said.
2021 is Concacaf’s 60th anniversary year, and the Gold Cup is its flagship men’s competition. The first edition was played in 1991, and the 2021 edition will be the 16th Concacaf Gold Cup. Mexico is the most successful team in Gold Cup history with eight Gold Cup titles, followed by the USA with six and Canada with one. The current Gold Cup champion is Mexico, who lifted the Cup in 2019 after defeating the US Men’s National Team 1-0 in a hard-fought final at Chicago’s Soldier Field.
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