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VIEW | Qatar aim to avoid third successive defeat – SABC News


World Cup hosts Qatar made an early exit from their party on Tuesday, ending their campaign with a tough task against the Netherlands at Al-Bait Stadium, leaving them facing the prospect of further humiliation.

The home side’s dreadful performance was a huge disappointment as, despite years of intense preparation, they were badly underwhelmed in their opening two Group A games. They were the first nation to be eliminated on Friday, less than a week after the tournament began, after losing 3 -1 from Senegal.

They were also beaten 2-0 by Ecuador in their tournament opener last Sunday, with Asian champions Qatar blaming stage fright for their poor performance.

But there was no visible improvement in their second game as they meekly fell out of contention, and unless there is a significant change, there could be an even more one-sided contest with the Netherlands and a horrendous end to their run.

Qatar are the second host nation after South Africa to fail to make it out of the group stage, but can take inspiration from the 2010 hosts, who did upset France in their last group game 12 years ago.

The Dutch have always wanted to top Group A in Qatar and could still do so, but have yet to live up to the bold predictions of manager Louis van Gaal, who has repeatedly insisted they can go all the way to the final.

They needed two late goals to beat Senegal in their opener last Monday and although they scored early in their next game against Ecuador, they were outplayed and lucky to share the spoils.

Four points, however, have the Netherlands level at the top of the table with Ecuador, while Senegal are one point behind. The Netherlands’ victory over Qatar earns them a place as Ecuador and Senegal compete in the first round program at the same time.

Van Gaal is expected to be Memphis Depay’s starting club.

Van Gaal is expected to start Memphis Depay for the first time at the tournament and will be expecting a much better performance from his main striker. A hamstring problem led to a two-month absence and Van Gaal has given him time to build up his fitness, appearing in the second half of the previous two games.

The veteran coach is also expected to tweak his midfield, at times littered with what captain Virgil van Dijk called “Ecuadorian pit bulls”.

“We could play that way too, we have players who can do the same. But that’s not in our game or the way we play,” Van Dijk said after Friday’s 1-1 draw.

“We want to have the ball and make a play. We have the footballers to do it too. Even great football players. We just have to show it here,” the captain added.

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