Queiroz takes the reins at Qatar with first task being defense of Asian Cup

February 7 – Carlos Queiroz will lead Qatar until the 2026 World Cup, the Qatar Football Association (QFA) have announced.

The Portuguese coach led Iran at last year’s World Cup in Qatar, but departed following elimination from the tournament in the first round. He will now replace Felix Sanchez who led the host nation at the 2022 World Cup only to deliver the worst-ever campaign by an organising country, losing all three matches and scoring just one goal.

“Today the Qatar Football Association officially decided to appoint Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz as coach of our first national team until 2026,” said the QFA.

“Queiroz has a rich biography, great knowledge and extensive experience in Asian football.”

Once an assistant to Sir Alex Ferguson and a manager of Real Madrid, Queiroz led Iran to the last three World Cups and enjoyed a hero-like status in Tehran even though Iran never progressed from the group stages at any of these finals.

Leaving Iran, Queiroz said: “As I embark on a new journey, there are many memories I will hold on to with great joy. I’d like to share my gratitude to my great players in Team Melli. To all my loyal Iranian staff, to the Football Federation and everyone who supported me and the ‘Team Melli Legacy’.”

Succeeding Sanchez, Queiroz’s first major task will be the 2023 Asian Cup which Qatar will host next year and of which they were surprise winners in 2019 in the UAE. However, they will need to rebuild following their humbling at the 2022 World Cup. After the continental finals all eyes will turn to qualification for the 2026 World Cup.

Hosting the tournament aside, Qatar have never qualified for the World Cup on merit. However, in 2026 the United States, Canada and Mexico will stage the competition in a 48-team format for the first time, allowing more countries from Asia to participate.

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