Sunday, September 25, 2022

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World Cup hosts Qatar were beaten 3-0 by the provisional Croatia U23 team in a friendly

Qatar received humiliating treatment two months before hosting the World Cup when they were beaten 3-0 by Croatia’s U23s in a friendly on Tuesday.

Early goals from Tonio Teklic and Josip Mitrovic gave the young Croatians the lead and the win was sealed by Sandro Kulenovic three minutes from time.

The Croatia team was mostly made up of local players and was devoid of older stars and players who were called up to the Under-21s. Still, they could easily see Qatar, who are managed by Felix Sanchez, away from home.

Teklic, 23, plays for NK Varazdin, 22-year-old Mitrovic plays for HNK Gorica, and Kulenovic, also 22, plays for Lokomotiva Zagreb on loan from city rivals Dinamo.

The 2022 World Cup hosts were due to play Bolivia in a friendly in Austria, but their opponent canceled – so the makeshift Croatian squad was assembled to complete the 90 minutes instead.

Qatar have more games this week against Canada on Friday and Chile next Tuesday. These appear to be the country’s last games before the World Cup campaign kicks off in November.

Qatar open the World Cup on November 20 in the opening match against Ecuador before also taking on Senegal and the Netherlands in Group A of the tournament.

Traditionally, the World Cup hosts have been among the top seeds in the FIFA showcase tournament – but they need to avoid goals like this if they don’t want to be humiliated on home soil.

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