• Khalid Salman competed in the FIFA World Youth Championship Australia 1981.
  • At two years of Qatar 2022, the Qatari talks about his memories
  • “If it hadn’t rained, we would have won the title,” he says

On December 18, 2020, two years to the day separate us from the final of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 ™, a match in which all Qataris would love to see their national team playing. This dream seems a long time ago, but in 1981 Qatar had achieved a remarkable course in the FIFA World Youth Championship. In Australia, he reached the final, where he lost to West Germany.

The Qataris had notably beaten Poland, drawn with the United States and lost against Uruguay. In the quarter-finals, they beat Brazil’s Julio Cesar and Josimar 3-2 thanks to a hat-trick from midfielder Khalid Salman. “Good preparation, quality squad, exceptional leadership from our coach Evaristo de Macedo: all these ingredients played a major role in our performance during this competition,” said the hero of this meeting at the microphone of FIFA.com. “We wanted to show the best face of Qatar. But as we passed the rounds we got more and more ambitious, especially since we were not only representing Qatar but also Arab and Asian football.”

A dream come true

In the semifinals, Qatar beat England 2-1, a victory that surpassed the players’ wildest dreams. “We weren’t expecting to beat England, one of the favorites in the competition. But thanks to the team’s mindset, as well as the confidence gained from previous matches, we have convinced that we had the means to win, “he recalls.

The fairy tale ended with a heavy 4-0 defeat at the hands of West Germany. According to Salman, Qatar would have met another fate if the skies over Sydney had been milder. “If it hadn’t rained, Qatar would have won,” he insists. “The weather conditions the day before the match didn’t help us. We couldn’t practice on the pitch because it was soaked in water. We weren’t used to playing in rainy weather, which It made it difficult for us. We had two chances in the first quarter of an hour, but we did not materialize them due to the poor condition of the pitch. “

FIFA World Youth Championship Australia 1981
© Others

Ambition and realism

After this 1981 epic, the Qatar national A team had to wait until 2019 to win the Asian Cup. A success which is a source of pride for the generation of Salman players. “The generation that won the Asian Cup did what we wanted to do. This group took the best of big Asian nations like Japan, Republic of Korea, Australia and Iran to become the best. team of the continent “, rejoices the former player, who works today as a consultant.

Will Qatar be able to do it again in the FIFA World Cup ™ in two years? “The World Cup is something else. We have to be realistic: we are not superior to big football countries like Brazil, Germany, the Netherlands, England and France” , admits Salman. “It’s possible that our team will do well and go through the group stage, which would already be a success in itself. But honestly, we haven’t reached the level of the teams yet.”

Regardless of the host nation’s sporting results, Salman is looking forward to seeing his country host the World Cup. “Organizing this gigantic sporting event and dazzling the whole world will be a great accomplishment not only for Qatar, but also for the entire Arab world. The world-class stadiums and state-of-the-art infrastructure ‘whether it is the metro, tunnels, bridges or hotels, will be a source of pride for Qatar and the entire region, “says Salman. “After 2022, it will be difficult for any country to organize a World Cup like this. It will be an extraordinary event,” he concluded.

Khalifa International Stadium, Qatar

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