Félix Sánchez’s much-travelled Qatar wary of stalling early against Ecuador

Coach hopes to ‘isolate ourselves from the noise’ but Sunday’s opener feels a must-win despite promising recent resultsIf there was a World Cup for the most-travelled of the 32 gathering teams over the past few years, Qatar would go far. The squad finally arrived home last weekend before the big kick-off, stepping off the plane at Doha airport knowing that more than a decade of waiting and working was about to end. Should Sunday’s Group A opener against Ecuador not go well, however, the nightmare of following South Africa into the unwanted record books as a host that fell at the group stage will be very real. Senegal and the Netherlands come next.Bafana Bafana’s 2010 failure was lamented but for many watching around the world, the usual hope that the host nation does well will not apply for Qatar. It’s also fairly certain that most are unaware of their prospects given Qatar have no history at the World Cup. But even those who have watched the team for years are curious to see how it all turns out, not least Félix Sánchez.

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