Qatar boss Felix Sanchez has to decide whether to stick with his tried and tested side which he prepared for so long with before this year’s World Cup against Senegal, after their humbling defeat to Ecuador in the competition opener.
The first issue is to do with their goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb, who was fortunate to get away with an early error for a goal which was disallowed, before giving away a penalty which was converted.
Their backup goalkeepers do have recent experience with the side as Meshaal Barsham played in friendlies against Chile and Udinese and Yousef Hassan faced Ghana and Lazio in preparation for the finals.
Barsham is the obvious selection if Sanchez opts to change his goalkeeper though, given his exploits in the Arab Cup final against Egypt last year, when he saved the winning penalty.
Al Sheeb is also one of four players who were booked against Ecuador so all run the risk of picking up a suspension for the game against the Netherlands coming up.
Attacking duo Almoez Ali and Akram Afif are also close to a ban along with French-born midfielder Karim Boudiaf.
Qatar’s sloppiness in possession against Ecuador may lead to Sanchez re-thinking his defensive selections, as Tarek Salman is a much better ball player at centre-back than the three who started in their opener.
With a win against Holland seeming very unlikely, even at this World Cup, Qatar know they must play more offensively as anything but three points in this game will probably see them eliminated.
Therefore, that could see them move away from playing a flat back five, so full-backs Pedro Miguel and Homam Ahmed may get more freedom and convert into wing-backs.
Hassan Al Haydos will skipper the side again in midfield alongside Boudiaf and Abdulaziz Hatem, with Al Haydos set to make his 171st appearance for the national team.
That will take him 13th in the all-time FIFA appearance rankings, and at just 31, there is no reason why he can not make it to 200, a feat no player is yet to reach in recognised internationals.
Qatar possible starting lineup:
Barsham; Pedro Miguel, Khoukhi, Salman, A Hassan, Ahmed; Al Haydos, Boudiaf, Hatem; Ali, Afif
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