Everything you need to know about Qatar’s participation in the European qualifiers for the World Cup


Qatar will kick off their participation in the 2022 FIFA World Cup European qualifiers on Wednesday with a match against Luxembourg at Nagyerdei Stadium in Debrecen, Hungary, ahead of a busy week that will see them also facing Azerbaijan and the Republic of Ireland in the same venue.

  • The Asian champions already booked their place in the World Cup finals as hosts. Still, they accepted an invitation from UEFA to join the qualifying Group A alongside Portugal, Serbia, Republic of Ireland, Luxembourg, and Azerbaijan. Qatar’s matches will be considered FIFA international friendlies, and their results will not count towards the group’s standing. France took part in the EURO 2016 qualifiers in a similar fashion despite hosting the finals.
  • Qatar’s home matches will be played in Hungary to allow shorter travel times for the European sides. Generali Arena in Vienna, Austria, was initially announced as the home venue of the team, but it was changed later due to coronavirus travel constraints.
  • By taking part in qualifiers, the Qatar national team was guaranteed to play ten international friendlies against European opponents during 2021, which provide Qatari players with a good opportunity to gain invaluable experience, especially with all of them playing their football with local clubs.
  • Qatar is currently 58th in the FIFA World Ranking, and positive results against higher-ranked teams in Group A would help them climb up and maybe break into the top 50 for the first time. European champions Portugal are currently fifth, Serbia (30th), Republic of Ireland (42nd).
  • Today’s match will be Qatar’s first since their 5-0 win over Bangladesh in the Asian Cup qualifiers in December, which was their only official game and only win in 2020. Their other three matches in 2020 were friendlies: Ghana (Lost 1-5), Korea Republic (Lost 1-2), and Costa Rica (Drew 1-1)
  • The match against Luxembourg will be Qatar’s first game against a European side since their 2-2 draw against Iceland in November 2018.
  • 2021 is set to be one of the busiest years in the history of the Qatar national team. Besides the ten European qualifying games, Qatar will play two Asian Cup qualifying matches in June, then will take part in the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July, before ending the year with the Arab Cup in Doha. The team had to withdraw from Copa America, which will be hosted by Colombia and Argentina this summer, to avoid conflict with the Asian qualifiers.  
  • The national team’s head coach Félix Sánchez announced a 29-man squad for the first three matches of the European qualifiers. The team traveled to Hungary on March 19th. 
  • Akram Afif is missing from the squad due to a muscle injury. He is arguably the best player in Qatar this season and has only missed one official national team game since the triumphant Asian Cup campaign; a surprise goalless draw against India at home in September 2019.
  • All eyes will be on Al-Moez Ali who will be keen to add more goals to his international tally (29 goals in 61 matches). For years, the 24-year-old failed to establish himself as a center-forward with Al-Duhail, as coaches tend to play him on the wings, while giving the no.9 position to more experienced foreign players who included Youssef El-Arabi (Morocco), Mario Mandzukic (Croatia), and most recently Michael Olunga (Kenya). Ali netted nine goals in 2019 to break the record of the most goals scored in a single AFC Asian Cup in 2019, but surprisingly, he never scored more than eight goals in a single league season in Qatar! Other alternatives for Sánchez up front will be Yusuf Abdurisag, Mohammed Muntari, and Ahmed Alaa.
  • Al-Duhail left-back Sultan Al-Brake joins the national team selection for the first time since 2018. while his clubmate defensive midfielder Assim Madibo also returns after a lengthy knee injury. His last international appearance was against India in September 2019.
  • In goal, Al-Sadd’s Meshaal Barshim is expected to keep his number one spot after his excellent performances with the league champions this season.

Qatar’s Squad List for the matches against Luxembourg, Azerbaijan, and the Republic of Ireland


Mahmud Abunada (Al-Arabi)
Salah Zakaria (Al-Duhail)
Saad Al-Sheeb (Al-Sadd)
Meshaal Barshim (Al-Sadd)


Abdelkarim Hassan (Al-Sadd)
Musab Kheder (Al-Sadd)
Boualem Khoukhi (Al-Sadd)
Pedro Miguel (Al-Sadd)
Tarek Salman (Al-Sadd)
Ahmed Suhail (Al-Sadd)
Sultan Al-Brake (Al-Duhail)
Bassam Al-Rawi (Al-Duhail)
Tameem Al-Muhaizaa (Al-Gharafa)
Homam Al-Amin (Al-Gharafa)

Central Midfielders

Salem Al-Hajri (Al-Sadd)
Abdullah Al-Ahrak (Al-Duhail)
Karim Boudiaf (Al-Duhail)
Ahmed Fathi (Al-Arabi)
Abdulaziz Hatem (Al-Rayyan)
Assim Madibo (Al-Duhail)

Attackers/Wingers/Attacking Midfielders

Ismaeel Mohammad (Al-Duhail)
Moayad Hassan (Al-Gharafa)
Hassan Al-Haydos (Al-Sadd)
Khalid Muneer  (Al-Wakrah)
Mohammed Waad (Al-Sadd)
Yusuf Abdurisag (Al-Sadd)
Ahmed Alaaeldin (Al-Gharafa)
Almoez Ali (Al-Duhail)
Mohammed Muntari (Al-Duhail)

Head Coach: Félix Sánchez (Spain)

The Matches

Qatar vs. Luxembourg
Date: Wednesday 24 March 2021
Venue: Nagyerdei Stadium, Hungary
Time: 20:00

Qatar vs. Azerbaijan
Date: Saturday 27 March 2021
Venue: Nagyerdei Stadium, Hungary
Time: 20:00

Qatar vs. Republic of Ireland
Date: Tuesday 30 March 2021
Venue: Nagyerdei Stadium, Hungary
Time: 21:45

Qatar vs. Serbia
Date: Wednesday 1 September 2021
Venue: TBC
Time: TBC

Qatar vs. Portugal
Date: Saturday 4 September 2021
Venue: TBC
Time: TBC

Luxembourg vs. Qatar
Date: Tuesday 7 September 2021
Venue: TBC
Time: TBC

Portugal vs. Qatar
Date: Saturday 9 October 2021
Venue: TBC
Time: TBC

Republic of Ireland vs. Qatar
Date: Tuesday 12 October 2021
Venue: TBC
Time: TBC

Serbia vs. Qatar
Date: Thursday 11 November 2021
Venue: TBC
Time: TBC

Azerbaijan vs. Qatar
Date: Sunday 14 November 2021
Venue: TBC
Time: TBC

scroll to top