Wed. Feb 8th, 2023

World Cup host nation Qatar has been eliminated from the tournament, less than a week after it launched the first version of football’s biggest event in the Middle East.

On day six of the World Cup, Qatar lost 3-1 to Senegal in its second straight defeat at the tournament. Its exit was confirmed a few hours later when Netherlands and Ecuador drew 1-1 in the other Group A game.

That left Qatar at the bottom of Group A with no chance of progressing.

South Africa had been the only other home team to fail to make it out of the group stage in 2010.

“If you expected us to go very far in this tournament, then it will be a disappointment,” Qatar coach Felix Sanchez said before his team was officially out. “Our goal was to be competitive.”

In other day-six fixtures, Iran scored a spectacular 2-0 win over Wales in stoppage time and the United States team frustrated England in a 0-0 draw for its second consecutive draw in the World Cup.

Here is a quick guide recapping all you need to know from Day 6 – Friday, November 25, 2022 – of the Qatar World Cup 2022.

Senegal 3, Qatar 1

With World Cup futures on the line, the footballing stakes could hardly have been higher for hosts Qatar and African champions Senegal.

Qatar’s opening-night nerves were nowhere to be seen as they quickly got to grips with Senegal and should have had a penalty when Senegal’s Ismaila Sarr bundled over Akram Afif, but Spanish referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz waved away their pleas and the VAR (video-assisted referee) did not intervene.

With Qatar defending well, it was going to take either a moment of magic or a catastrophic mistake for Senegal to break the deadlock. Unfortunately for Qatar defender Boualem Khoukhi, it turned out to be the latter.

His attempt to clear a routine low pass into the box by Senegal’s Krepin Diatta went disastrously wrong as he fluffed his clearance, allowing Boulaye Dia to pounce and rattle home the opening goal just before the break.

Qatar's Ismail Mohamad in mid-air with the ball as Pedro Miguel rans alongside and Senegal's Ismail Jakobs coming up behind him
Qatar’s Ismail Mohamad and Pedro Miguel in action with Senegal’s Ismail Jakobs [Amr Abdallah Dalsh/ Reuters]

It got worse for Qatar early in the second half, with Famara Diedhiou doubling Senegal’s advantage with a brilliant glancing header from an Ismail Jakobs corner in the 48th minute.

It was a cue for the home team to play their best football of the tournament so far.

Mohammed Muntari reduced the deficit in the 78th minute with a first-ever goal for Qatar at a World Cup but Senegal were unruffled as they continued to out-muscle their opponents in midfield.

Six minutes after Muntari’s strike, Bamba Dieng swept home a pass from fellow substitute Iliman Ndiaye for the African side’s third goal of the match.

That consigned Qatar to the bottom of Group A with no points, while Netherlands and Ecuador have four points and the Senegalese three.

Qatar’s hopes of progressing are now over.

Even a win in their final game against three-time World Cup finalists Netherlands will not be enough to see them progress.

Netherlands 1, Ecuador 1

It was Enner Valencia’s third goal of the tournament that helped Ecuador earn a draw with the Dutch in Group A, thereby sealing Qatar’s fate.

Netherlands took the lead early on in the game with Cody Gakpo putting them ahead with a quick strike in the sixth minute.

But after that, Ecuador dominated.

After having the apparent equaliser overturned by VAR just before the half, Valencia leveled the match in the 49th minute.

Iran 2, Wales 0

Iran recovered from their thrashing by England with a superb 2-0 win over Wales, leaving their World Cup destiny in their own hands.

Iran’s Roozbeh Cheshmi broke the goalless deadlock in the 98th minute and Ramin Rezaeian scored in the 101st against a 10-man Welsh squad, which lost goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey to a red card in the 86th minute.

Hennessey initially drew a yellow card after his high challenge against Iran’s Mehdi Taremi but the referee showed him the red card after a VAR check.

Iran's Roozbeh Cheshmi in action just post the kick, with the Wales defender looking behind him at the ball that has flown past him on its way to the goal
Iran’s Roozbeh Cheshmi scores their first goal of the match [Marko Djurica/ Reuters]

With three points going into Tuesday’s game against the United States, Iran has a shot at advancing to the World Cup knockout stages for the first time.

Cheshmi said it was “the solidarity between the team members” that helped them win the game.

The outcome leaves Wales’s chances of reaching the last 16 hanging by a thread. It will face a tough challenge in England on Tuesday.

“We want to finish the competition on a high, it’s out of our hands in regards to going through, but we want to finish with a good performance and a win,” Wales coach Rob Page said.

USA 0, England 0

England suffered a sobering reality check as they were outplayed for long periods by a youthful US side in a tense 0-0 draw in their second World Cup Group B game.

A 6-2 thrashing of Iran on Monday had sent England fans’ hopes soaring but Gareth Southgate’s side were fortunate not to suffer a repeat of their 1950 World Cup calamity against the Americans.

They will still qualify for the last 16 if they avoid a heavy defeat by Wales in their final group game but they were greeted with boos at the final whistle and will need a vast improvement if they are to have a deep run.

Fans looking up, most holding their heads with faces showing shock and disappointment
Fans in London watch England vs United States at the Wembley Boxpark in London, UK [Andrew Couldridge/Action Images via Reuters]

The US produced a high-tempo display but may live to rue not putting away an England side stuck in second gear, although they will reach the last 16 if they beat Iran.

“A draw’s not the worst thing but I felt for stretches of the game we showed dominance,” said Christian Pulisic, one of five England-based players in the US starting line-up.

While the result, and performance, was desperately disappointing for England, it tops the group on four points and remain in the box seat to reach the last 16.

Iran, who snatched a late win over Wales, have three points with USA on two points and Wales on one.

All possibilities are still open in the group next Tuesday.

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By Joy

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