Qatar defeats Panama 2-1 in friendly match ahead of World Cup 

Ahead of the final countdown to the start of the World Cup, Qatar’s Al-Annabi defeated Panama 2-1 in a friendly match as part of preparations ahead of the tournament.

Held in the Spanish city of Marbella, the Qataris took a 2-0 lead in the first half against the Panamanians, who pulled a goal back in the second half.

Felix Sanchez’s squad will now prepare for their final match before their World Cup debut against Albania on November 9.

The team will return to Qatar’s Aspire Zone to hold closed-door training sessions to refine approaches before facing off against Ecuador on November 20.

Qatar’s playmaker Akram Afif is expected to be the man of the hour during the World Cup, given his reputation for assisting his teammates.

However, more is hoped from Afif than just assists, as he is looking to convert goals into the net.

“I hope to score at the World Cup,” the forward said in a video posted on Qatar Football Association’s (QFA) social media account.

“The goal of each player is to win and crown any championship he plays with his country or the team he plays for,” added Afif.

Like his father, Hassan Afif, the young footballer is seen as a versatile player who can be used for both offensive and defensive play styles.

In the 2019/20 season, Afif netted 15 goals, making him the top scorer in the Qatar Stars League.

After the team was crowned Asian Champions, Afif was awarded the best player in the league after being shortlisted three times.

Partnered up with Almoez Ali and captain Hassan Al-Haydos, the Al Annabi squad wishes to shatter perceived expectations from outside experts.

“We know that we are not favourites but also, within our possibilities, we must set high expectations, high goals, try to compete to the maximum.” Felix Sanchez told the Spanish giants Marca.

“We have talented players, we try to play as a unit, and on the counter we can be dangerous. When we have the ball we try to manage, although we know that against opponents of this level it is very difficult to take the initiative, and we will have to adapt because that is the reality,” Sanchez added.

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