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Qatar players line up prior to the International friendly match
© Getty Images

*Qualification history *
Qatar’s first FIFA World Cup™ qualifying campaign – for Argentina 1978 – ended in disappointment, as they propped up a group that also contained Kuwait and Bahrain. Despite reaching the final round of the Asian qualifiers in the run-up to Italy 1990, South Africa 2010 and Brazil 2014, Al-Annabi (The Maroon) have never succeeded in booking a place at the tournament proper.

The team
The expansion of professionalism in Qatar in recent years has had a positive knock-on effect on results, paving the way for three Gulf Cup of Nations triumphs, including a memorable victory in 2014, when they defeated hosts Saudi Arabia in the final. The Qataris rely on a mix of evergreen stalwarts and rapidly maturing starlets, the majority of whom emerged victorious from the 2014 AFC U-19 Championship and thereby earned a slot at the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015.

The coach
Uruguayan coach Jorge Fossati replaced fellow Uruguayan Daniel Carreno in September 2016. The former goalkeeper Fossati is in charge of Qatar for the second time around after he had a stint as manager in 2007-2008. Fossati also has successful experience coaching in the country at club level having led Al-Sadd to all four domestic titles. 

The stat
*53 – *The record number of international goals scored by Qatari forward Mansour Muftah over the course of 14 years.

The former stars
Ibrahim Khalfan, Mansour Muftah, Mubarak Mustafa, Khalid Salman