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Key players, injuries, tactics & tournament prediction

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Qatar will make their first appearance at the World Cup as hosts of the winter showpiece.

The newcomers are making history as the first Arab nation to host the tournament, and they’ll be hopeful of putting on a good show on the pitch in Group A against some of the world’s top sides.

Home fans are simply excited by the chance to see such stellar names grace their stadiums, and any positive moments their team can produce would be the perfect bonus.

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Here’s what to expect from Qatar at the 2022 World Cup.

Qatar are yet to confirm their travelling squad or when they will make the final announcement.

All squads must be confirmed by the evening of November 13.

Attacking midfielder Abdullah Al-Ahrak suffered an ACL tear in January and has not yet returned for Al-Duhail.

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The 25-year-old has started seven times for his country and was a regular in the squad before his injury.

Akram Afif

Akram Afif in action for Qatar / Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/GettyImages

Akram Afif

Al-Sadd winger Akram Afif is Qatar’s talisman. The 25-year-old has scored 24 goals in 83 caps for his country and was prolific in the 2021 Arab Cup, where he bagged two goals and set up a further three as Qatar beat Egypt to third place.

Almoez Ali

The country’s top scorer of all time, Almoez Ali will likely be involved in everything positive from Qatar. He has 39 goals in 82 caps, netting three times in the Arab Cup.

Hassan Al-Haydos

With 160 caps to his name, veteran winger Hassan Al-Haydos is one of the most experienced players at the tournament. The 31-year-old has 34 goals to his name.

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Saad Al-Sheeb

Saad Al Sheeb is the captain of the team, leading from the back as the star goalkeeper. He has 80 caps and was named the best goalkeeper at the 2019 Asian Cup.

Manager Felix Sanchez Bas has favoured a 5-3-2 setup during his time in charge and will likely keep to that for what could be a tricky tournament.

Qatar predicted XI: Al-Sheeb; Miguel; Salman, Al-Rawi, Hassan, Ahmed; Waad, Hatem, Boudiaf; Afif, Ali.

In 2022, Qatar have played six friendlies, securing two wins and three draws.

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They picked up a shock victory over Bulgaria in March, proving they can surprise bigger opponents on their day, while draws Chile and Slovenia are more than respectable.

Qatar’s last five results

Qatar 0-0 Slovenia
Qatar 1-1 Jamaica
Qatar 0-2 Canada
Qatar 2-2 Chile
Qatar 2-0 Guatemala

Spirits are understandably high around Qatar as they prepare for their first taste of World Cup action, but most fans are well aware that their run-out could be a short one.

The Netherlands are as tough opponents as they could have imagined in the group stage, so Qatar will have to get results against both Senegal and Ecuador to have any hope of progressing into the knockout stages.

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That may be a step too far at this stage in the country’s football story.

Prediction: Group stage exit



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Keylor Navas joins Nottingham Forest on loan

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Nottingham Forest have confirmed the loan signing of Keylor Navas from Paris Saint-Germain until the end of the season.

The Costa Rican comes to the City Ground with a wealth of top level experience having won three UEFA Champions League titles during a lengthy tenure at Real Madrid, before enjoying a stint as PSG’s number one goalkeeper – winning two Ligue 1 titles in that time.

This season however, Navas has been fully usurped by Gianluigi Donnarumma in the PSG goal, meaning that he’s now had to go out on loan to find gametime elsewhere.

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A club statement on the signing reads:

“Nottingham Forest is delighted to announce the signing of Keylor Navas from Paris Saint-Germain.

“The goalkeeper has signed on loan for the remainder of the 2022/23 campaign.

“Navas, 36, brings a wealth of international and domestic experience to the Club, having made 564 appearances in a trophy-laden career.”

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Nottingham Forest confirm signing of Jonjo Shelvey from Newcastle

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Nottingham Forest have completed the signing of midfielder Jonjo Shelvey from Newcastle United.

Shelvey joins on a permanent deal, signing a two-and-a-half-year contract at the City Ground.

“It’s a pleasure to be here. As soon as I found out Forest were interested, it caught my eye straight away and I just couldn’t wait to get down here,” said Shelvey, who will wear the number 6 shirt for Forest.

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“It’s a fantastic football club that has so much history and I’m really looking forward to getting started.

“My main goal straight away is to fight for my place in the team and stay there. It’s not going to be easy because there’s a lot of competition for places, but it’s a challenge I’m really looking forward to and the competitiveness can only help the team going forward.

“I spoke to Eddie Howe and he had such good words to say about Steve Cooper. I previously knew of him from my time at Liverpool, so I knew what a fantastic coach he was, but meeting him for the first time has been a breath of fresh air.

“He’s told me what he expects and the high standards he sets, so I can hope I can come and help the team push to stay in the Premier League. I’ve been in this league a long time, I know what it takes to stay up and what it takes to get a good team to gel, so I’m looking forward to getting started and working with the players that are here.”

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Forest are also hoping to finalise the signing of Keylor Navas from Paris Saint-Germain later on Deadline Day.



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Tottenham confirm loan signing of Pedro Porro

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Tottenham Hotspur have confirmed the signing of wing-back Pedro Porro from Sporting CP on loan.

The Lilywhites had been trying to push through a deal to sign Porro for the past number of weeks and finally struck a deal late in the January transfer window, signing the player on loan with a €48m obligation to buy – Porro’s release clause.

Speaking on Monday following the news that a deal had been struck, Porro said: “I’m grateful to Sporting, I love the club.

“I didn’t train as I was only focused on the transfer to Spurs but I will always be thankful to the club.”

With Porro coming into Antonio Conte’s squad, there have been some outgoings at right wing-back too with Matt Doherty agreeing to join Atletico Madrid, and Djed Spence leaving on loan too. In sealing the move, Doherty becomes the first Irish footballer to ever play for one of Spain’s three biggest clubs.

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