Qatar celebrates return of Asian Cup champions

Qatar celebrates return of Asian Cup champions

Qatar celebrates return of Asian Cup champions

Written by Reuters

03 Feb, 2019 | 4:42 pm

REUTERS – Qatar celebrated its biggest soccer achievement after stunning Japan to win the Asian Cup with an open-top bus parade in Doha on Saturday (February 2). Hundreds of cheering supporters waving flags lined the streets of the Qatari capital to welcome home the team. Qatar recorded a stunning 3-1 win over four-times champions Japan on Friday (February 1) to make an emphatic statement ahead of their hosting of the 2022 World Cup.

A bitter political rift between Qatar and Asian Cup host the United Arab Emirates meant Qataris were barred from attending the tournament, with their national team forced to play almost entirely without fans and, in the match against the UAE, with shoes lobbed at their players on the pitch.

The Asian Cup title marks the most significant achievement it has made yet in the sport, which it has invested heavily in to be seen as a serious global player despite a tiny population of just over 300,000 nationals that has long hamstrung its ability to build a competitive team.

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