(MENAFN- The Peninsula)
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Qatar midfielder Assim Madibo has said Al Annabi have learned a“great lesson” on their World Cup debut, and hoped the experience will help the side bounce back strongly for the challenges ahead.
The Asian champions became the first side to be eliminated from the World Cup after defeats to Ecuador and Senegal, before a defeat to the Netherlands made them the first host team in history to exit the global tournament without earning a single point.
Despite Qatar being knocked out after back-to-back defeats, a huge number of home fans filled the Al Bayt Stadium showing massive support for the hosts in their last group match on Tuesday.
“We apologise to our fans for failing to deliver as they expected us to deliver. Despite our performance they supported us and we are thankful to them for backing us,” he said.
Before making their World Cup debut, Qatar won the Asian Cup in 2019 and qualified for the semi-final of Gold Cup before finishing third at the Arab Cup last year.
But Al Annabi struggled in the World Cup, opening their campaign with a listless performance against Ecuador as they failed to take a single shot on target in their 2-0 defeat in tournament's inaugural match.
Their only World Cup goal came during their 3-1 loss to Senegal through a Mohammed Muntari header before the Netherlands blanked the hosts 2-0 in their last match.
Madibo said the experience of the World Cup showed team their level and now work will be done to improve the standards.
“The World Cup was a great lesson for us. We know what our level is and now we have to double our efforts so that we can compete and match the great teams competing at the World Cup,” he said.
Qatar's next assignment will be the Arabian Gulf Cup which is scheduled to be held from January 6 to 19, 2023 in Basra. Qatar will also defend their Asian title when the country will host the premier continental tournament, which is expected to take place in 2023 or early 2024.
“We will continue to work and bring improvement to make our fans happy with our achievements in the future,” he said.
Meanwhile, Abdulaziz Hatem said the team will assess their performance and work to rectify mistakes committed during their World Cup matches.
“We were hoping for a better performance in the World Cup but unfortunately we failed,” the Qatari midfielder said.
“We will evaluate our performance and work on our weak areas so we can return strongly. We have the Asian Cup which is the next major tournament and hopefully, we will be well prepared for the tournament which we won last time,” he added.
“I want to thank fans who continued to support us in our challenging times,” he added.
Qatar head coach Felix Sanchez, who was unsure about his future, said the team will rest for a few days before resuming their training.
“There is a plan and the project will not stop and is not linked to me alone. We will prepare for the Asian Cup,” Sanchez said after the defeat against the Netherlands.