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All photos courtesy of QFA

There’s still a small chance that Qatar’s national football team will qualify to play in the 2018 World Cup, following last night’s surprise win over South Korea.

Qatar beat its rival 3-2 at Al Sadd Stadium. In a nod to the current Gulf dispute, the national team warmed up in shirts that carried the Emir’s face on them.

And much to residents’ delight, South Korean fans unfurled a “We Love Qatar” banner and waved Qatar flags to express their support for the country.

Coach resigns

Despite the win, Qatar’s coach resigned shortly after the game, according to Reuters.

Jorge Fossati of Uruguay had only been coach for less than a year. He was brought on to replace José Daniel Carreño, who was sacked in September due to the national team’s poor performance.

QFA

Qatar football coach Jorge Fossati

However, under Fossati the team still hasn’t met with much success. And until last night, it was at the very bottom of its six-team group, behind China and Syria.

The victory does buy it a little more time to try to qualify for next year’s World Cup in Russia. This is an important goal for Qatar, whose team has never qualified to play in the tournament.

Focusing on homegrown talent

It remains unclear why Fossati wishes to leave, though Qatar Football Association officials are expected to try to persuade him to stay, Reuters said.

However, in November, the coach did say he would resign if the federation decides to turn its focus to grooming homegrown players, instead of importing talent.

Reem Saad / Doha News

National team

At the time, he said:

“If the federation wants to go another way, I’ll respect its decision 100 percent. And it’ll be better for the Qatar national team to have another coach who supports that view.”

The national’s teams last two matches will be against Syria and China at the end of August and beginning of September.

Thoughts?

QFA/Twitter

Qatar loses to Iran

Barring a miracle, Qatar’s national football team will not be playing in next year’s World Cup in Russia.

The team suffered a 1-0 loss to Iran last night in a home game defeat attended by thousands of fans.

This means Qatar is now at the very bottom of its six-team group, behind China and Syria. Iran meanwhile has moved to first place.

Reem Saad / Doha News

Photo for illustrative purposes only.

Only the top two teams in the group will automatically qualify for the 2018 tournament.

‘Bad situation’

Acknowledging the implications, Qatar Coach Jorge Fossati told AFP he hadn’t yet done the math, but “for sure we are back in a very bad, bad situation.”

Competing in Russia had been an important goal for Qatar, whose team has never qualified to play in the World Cup.

QFA

Qatar football coach Jorge Fossati

Qatar will automatically get a chance to participate in 2022 because the nation is hosting that tournament.

But in recent history, no team has ever not earned its first chance to compete beforehand.

Rollercoaster

The road to Russia has been a rollercoaster of a ride for the national team, which suffered three straight losses last fall (including to Iran in September).

Spirits were low then, but went up again after Qatar beat Syria in October.

QFA

Qatar and Syria match

Now however, with only four points and a handful of games to go, things look very dire.

The disappointment was palpable last night, when the home crowd booed Iran coach Carlos Queiroz off the field as he blew everyone a kiss, according to AFP.

Thoughts?

Reem Saad / Doha News

Khalifa Stadium construction

Updated at 9pm with statement from contractor

A British man has fallen to his death while working on one of Qatar’s first World Cup stadiums, tournament organizers have confirmed.

He is the second confirmed person to have died on one of the country’s under-construction World Cup stadiums.

In a brief statement posted online, the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SCDL) said the 40-year-old died on Thursday at the Khalifa Stadium work site.

Construction workers at the Khalifa Stadium

Peter Kovessy / Doha News

Khalifa Stadium renovations

According to project contractor Midmac-Six Construct, the accident occurred while the man was on a suspended catwalk platform. In a statement, it said:

“For unknown reasons one of the lever hoists supporting the platform failed, causing the fall of the worker, who was wearing all his safety equipment, including the safety harness.

Sadly, the harness was cut during the fall with a fatal outcome. What caused the cut is subject to further investigation.”

Qatari authorities and his next of kin have been notified, the SCDL said.

Meanwhile, a spokesperson from the British Embassy in Doha told Doha News that it was in touch with local authorities about the death and that embassy staff were ready to support the man’s family “at this very difficult time.”

Khalifa Stadium is currently being overhauled ahead of the 2022 tournament and one of the first venues expected to be completed.

Second confirmed death

This is only the second confirmed death of an employee working on a 2022 World Cup site.

The first occurred last October, when a 29-year-old Nepali man named Anil Kumar Pasman was killed.

SCDL

Wakrah Stadium works

Pasman died after being struck by a water tanker at the Al Wakrah Stadium building site on Oct. 22.

However, in the early part of 2016, World Cup organizers announced that two Indian expats contracted on the 2022 stadiums had died in non-work related incidents.

Thoughts?