Qatar limp out of World Cup with all-losses record

DOHA, 30 Nov 2022:

Qatar were eliminated from the World Cup yesterday after being comfortably beaten 2-0 by the Netherlands, the hosts’ third defeat of the tournament.

The defeat means Qatar are the only World Cup host nation to lose all three group matches, as they exit with no points and only one goal.

The Netherlands were completely dominant, and scored through Cody Gakpo’s 26th minute strike and Frenkie de Jong’s second half tap in.

The Dutch qualify for the Round of 16 as group A winners and Senegal finish second in the group.

Senegal overcame Ecuador 2-1 in a tense group match at the Khalifa International Stadium and qualified for the round of 16 for only the second time in the African country’s history.

The loss means Ecuador, who needed just a point to move on to the next round, are eliminated from the tournament after failing to seize the initiative in the match.

Backed by a noisy contingent of dancing fans, Senegal deservedly took the lead just before half time when Ismaila Sarr picked himself up after a clumsy foul by Piero Hincapie to confidently convert from the penalty spot.

Ecuador levelled the score with 25 minutes left to seemingly set up a nervy ending, but Chelsea’s Kalidou Koulibaly scored the crucial winning goal just three minutes later with an excellent side-footed volley.

Christian Pulisic’s goal in the 38th minute proved to be all the US would need to beat Iran 1-0 and advance to the round of 16 at World Cup 2022.

The US finished the opening round with 5 points, taking second place in Group B behind England, and will begin preparing for a clash Saturday with the Netherlands, who won Group A.

The Americans also reached the knockout phase in 2010 and 2014 (they didn’t qualify for the tournament in 2018), while Iran have never made it out of the group stage in six World Cup appearances.

Iranians were well represented in the crowd of 42,000-plus in the stands at Doha’s Al Thumama Stadium to watch the first official match between the US and Iran since World Cup 1998.

On that occasion, 42nd-ranked Iran prevailed 2-1 to eliminate the 11th-ranked US side from the tournament in the group stage.

The US came into Tuesday’s showdown with 2 points from draws against England and Wales. Iran, after being thrashed 6-2 by the Three Lions in the opener, rebounded to beat the Dragons and claim second place in the group.

Needing only a draw, the Iranians ceded possession and the initiative to the US, who outshot their opponents 12-4 and won five corners to Iran’s one.

In the second half, the Iranians – led by Remin Rezaeian – began to go forward in search of an equaliser. The closest they would come, however, was an effort by Saman Ghoddos that went over the cross-bar in the 52nd minute.

England put up three goals – two from Marcus Rashford – against Wales to advance to the knockout stage of World Cup 2022 as Group B winners. Wales, with 1 point, finished bottom in the group.

The Three Lions, who finished fourth at World Cup 2018, will face Group A runners-up Senegal on Sunday in the round of 16.

The margin at Ahmad ben Ali Stadium would have been 6-0 if not for a trio of excellent saves by goalkeeper Danny Ward, far and away the best player for the Dragons.