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World Cup hosts Qatar humbled by 3-0 defeat to makeshift Croatia under-23s team in friendly

Qatar humiliated after 3-0 defeat to provisional Croatia U23 team in friendly just two months before hosting 2022 World Cup on home soil

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Qatar were handed a humiliating two-month lead-up to hosting the World Cup when they were beaten 3-0 by Croatia’s under-23s in a friendly on Tuesday.

Early goals from Tonio Teklic and Josip Mitrovic put the young Croatians in front and victory was sealed three minutes from time by Sandro Kulenovic.

The Croatian side consisted of mainly domestic players and devoid of senior stars and those called up to the under-21s. Despite this, they were still able to comfortably see off Qatar, led by Felix Sanchez.

Qatar manager Felix Sanchez oversaw his side's 3-0 loss to Croatia Under-23s in a friendly
Qatar manager Felix Sanchez oversaw his side's 3-0 loss to Croatia Under-23s in a friendly

Qatar manager Felix Sanchez oversaw his side’s 3-0 loss to Croatia Under-23s in a friendly

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

Qatar have further matches this week against Canada on Friday and Chile next Tuesday. It looks set to be the country’s last matches before their World Cup campaign begins in November.

Qatar open the World Cup on November 20 against Ecuador in the opening match, before also facing Senegal and the Netherlands as part of the tournament’s Group A.

It is tradition for the World Cup hosts to be placed among the top seeds in the FIFA showcase tournament – but they will need to avoid scores like this if they do not want to be humiliated at home.

Qatar's national team poses before a November 2020 friendly against Costa Rica
Qatar's national team poses before a November 2020 friendly against Costa Rica

Qatar’s national team poses before a November 2020 friendly against Costa Rica

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