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Posted On: 19 November 2008 08:26 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:08 pm

Qatar set for crucial qualifier against Japan

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Hosts Qatar and Asian powerhouse Japan clash in a crucial 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying match at the Al Sadd Stadium today with the coaches of both teams under pressure to produce positive results after recent slip-ups. Qatar, who are level on four points with Japan but have played one match more, are desperate for a win in front of their supporters following a crushing 4-0 defeat by Australia in Brisbane last month. In September, Qatar beat Uzbekistan in convincing fashion (3-0) but then lost a point against Bahrain, who managed to draw their game, also played at Al Sadd Stadium. Qatar, after their 4-0 drubbing by Australia last month, have played two friendly matches against Korea (drew 1-1) and Iran (lost 1-0) in preparation for today’s crucial clash. Qatar coach Bruno Metsu seemed unperturbed at the unimpressive results. He said: “Our team has the players who can win the match for us. We held South Korea to a 1-1 draw in a friendly recently and although we lost to Iran 1-0 in another preparatory match, we are very happy with our performances.” Japanese coach Takeshi Okada said his team was ready to take on the hosts. The man who took Japan to the 1998 World Cup finals, said: “Our players have trained well for this match. Their conditioning is very good and we are ready. The weather here is great.” But Japan will be without defender Yuki Nakazawa and goalkeeper Seigo Narazaki. There are major concerns over Celtic-based star Shunsuke Nakamura, who is struggling with a knee injury. The Pen