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Qatar must become best in Asia to challenge on global stage: Queiroz

Qatar head coach Carlos Queiroz said they must move on from their disappointing performance as hosts of last year’s World Cup and focus on defending their AFC Asian Cup title against “beautiful players” and “wonderful teams”.

Qatar finished bottom of its group at the World Cup, losing all three games under the previous coach Felix Sanchez.

The Gulf nation is due to host the Asian Cup in January and February next year, and the team will be defending champions after stunning Japan in the 2019 final.

“We are in one special moment because looking back a little bit, we’ve just finished the World Cup, and it was a little below the high expectations,” Queiroz, who took over in February, told Qatar’s  The National on Wednesday.

“So we have now one mission, which is to get back to normality and put things in the right way and make our team, our players and our fans understand that now we go for one competition level that is our world.

“We cannot challenge international football if we’re not the best in Asia.”

Qatar begins its Asian Cup title defence against Lebanon before facing Tajikistan and China, but Queiroz knows far tougher challengers await after the group stage.

“Now the most important thing is the next step, how we’re going to be prepared, how we’re going to be ready to compete against beautiful players, wonderful teams, the best in Asia,” added the Portuguese coach.

“Because it will be hard. It will be a tough competition, but the most important thing is in the end to play good football, have a lot of fun, and bring as much pride and honour for the country.” 

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