Qatar Will Pay - On the Soccer Field
When I was a young soccer coach, my U-11 travel team was in the lowest division of 3 in the Southwest Cleveland Suburbs. At the end of the year, my assistant coach said that we were ready for a local tournament, maybe one sponsored by a lower division team on the East Side of Cleveland. He warned me that if we competed in a Select Tournament, a level above the travel divisions, our gains on the field would be negated if we got murdered in a tournament we weren't ready for....
Which brings me to World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
It is common knowledge that Russia and Qatar bribed their way into hosting back to back World Cups, but there's a big difference between the 2 countries. Russia has a rich soccer tradition, having come in 4th in the 1966 World Cup and finishing first in the 1960 European Championship (under the Soviet banner.) Russia may not have specifically deserved to host the 2018 World Cup, but their choice was not egregious, they deserved the opportunity to host a World Cup. Russia made it to the Quarterfinals before they were eliminated in 2018.
Qatar, on the other hand, was a preposterous choice. Qatar has no soccer tradition. Qatar had no soccer infrastructure. Qatar barely has grass.
What they did have was piles and piles of money and corrupt FIFA Officials willing to accept bribes. It was that simple. Besides the bribery, there are all the migrant workers that died trying to build soccer stadiums quickly in the desert heat.
But what the Qatari Princes aren't ready for is the embarrassment on the pitch when they come in dead last in the World Cup. They shouldn't have played in a tournament above their skill set. They aren't building a soccer resume in short order, they are stunting the growth of their fledgling team.
As host, Qatar automatically qualified for the 2022 World Cup. Qatar has never qualified for a World Cup by actually winning matches. I could argue that either Iran or Saudi Arabia were more deserving tournament hosts based on soccer tradition and soccer infrastructure.
In the history of the World Cup, only South Africa in 2010 failed to move on to the knockout stage. Even then, they had a respectable showing (for South Africa,) only coming up short on advancing due to goal differential.
So next week when Qatar losses to Ecuador 5-0,
then loses to Senegal 5-0,
then loses to the Netherlands 5-1 (because Netherlands will have already clinched Group A and will be playing their backups,) a harsh reality will settle in across Doha.
If Netherlands for some reason ties Ecuador or Senegal in one of their first 2 games and needs a win at Qatar? Netherlands might win by 10 and set the record for Largest Margin of Victory.
Qatar will not be able to escape the stink of failure on the pitch when they struggle for the moral victory of scoring a single goal in the World Cup They should have known better, soccer is a bitter mistress. Qatari children will flock to handball for generations to come in rebellion and cavernous soccer venues will turn into cricket fields.
Qatar should have focused on hosting the AFC Asian Cup in perpetuity.
Only a herculean effort by Saad Al-Sheeb will give the Qataris a chance to earn one single point.
Beacon of Speech Predicts:
-14 Goal Differential
Dead Last in Tournament
CBS Sports Predicts:
-4 Goal Differential
29th out of 32
"Qatar will be lucky to pick up a point."