Here’s what’s happened since last week’s updates: US envoy in charge of resolving Qatar dispute quits Trump admin
Qatar and Saudi Arabia will meet at the Asian Cup today (January 17) for the first time since a bitter political dispute severed ties in 2017. The match will decide who finishes top of Group E with both sides already qualified having taken a maximum of six points from their previous two games.
According to a post by The Guardian, Saudi Arabian forward Fahad al-Muwallad told reporters, “It will be like any other game for us. We only think about the pitch.”
However, the Qatari team is likely to face a hostile crowd at the 43,000-seat Zayed Sports City stadium in Abu Dhabi as Qataris are largely banned from visiting Asian Cup host United Arab Emirates, which also cut ties. Saudi Arabian fans are expected to turnout in large numbers.
It's #AsianCup2019 Group Stage final matchday! Who will win? pic.twitter.com/shSMHMzrsa
— #AsianCup2019 (@afcasiancup) January 17, 2019
“Sports is nothing related to politics,” Qatar head coach Felix Sanchez said. “It is only one game for us. An important one, but a football game.”
Qatari goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb stated: “Our spirit is high as we really want to do well in the Asian Cup. We have worked very hard and will continue doing so as we want to progress as far as we can in the competition.”
World Cup 2022 hosts Qatar head into the Gulf derby on top of Asian Cup Group E with a superior goal difference after thrashing North Korea 6-0. Qatari Footballer Almoez Ali put in a sensational four-goal display which made a record-equalling four goals in a single match.
H.H. the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani met with HE Secretary of State of the United States of America Mike Pompeo and his accompanying delegation at HH office at Al-Bahr Palace on Sunday evening, on the occasion of his visit to the country to take part in the second Qatar-US Strategic Dialogue, reported QNA.
During the meeting, they reviewed the friendship relations and strategic cooperation between the State of Qatar and the United States in various fields, especially those related to the results of the second Strategic Dialogue between the two countries, and means of enhancing partnership in defense, security, economy, trade and investment, as well as the joint efforts in the field of combating terrorism and extremism. In this context, HE the US Secretary of State extended thanks to HH the Amir for the efforts of the State of Qatar in this regard through the effective role carried out by Al Udeid Air Base.
The latest regional and international developments, in particular the Gulf crisis and the situation in Palestinian, Syria and Afghanistan, were also discussed during the meeting.
(Cover image credit: www.foxsportsasia.com)
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