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11.10.2018 08:59
DOHA, Qatar - Its a cold, hard fact of football: Countries with tiny populations dont generally beat big ones with deep wells of Antworten

DOHA, Qatar - Its a cold, hard fact of football: Countries with tiny populations dont generally beat big ones with deep wells of talented players. Jarrad Davis Jersey .So how embarrassing might the score be when Qatar — smallest host in World Cup history, with just 282,750 citizens — plays the opening game of its 2022 tournament against, for example, titans Brazil or Germany?At best 5-0? At worst 10-0, even 30-0?Impossible, impossible, said Ivan Bravo, the former Real Madrid administrator working to prevent such a loss from party-pooping over the Middle Easts first World Cup.They will be ready to have a very good team, a competitive team.Given Qatars small size and lack of football pedigree, Bravos bravura would sound like folly if not for one game-changer: money. The oil-and-gas rich nation that pokes into the Persian Gulf has mounds of it.Funneled into the state-of-the-art Aspire training academy that Bravo oversees in Doha, Qatars showcase capital, the wealth is helping to make the embryonic nucleus of what will be the 2022 home team more formidable than population numbers would suggest.Its thrilling, Bravo said in an Associated Press interview. Theres always an underdog story, the little guy trying to punch above their weight story, and I think people will get behind it.Qatar qualifies automatically as host. It could be the only Middle East representative if its neighbours stumble in qualifying, as in 2010, when no team from the region went to South Africa. A strong host performance can make a World Cup memorable: French victory at home in 1998 and South Koreas wild ride to the semis of the 2002 tournament it co-hosted with Japan.So pressure is on.The players know what an opportunity this is, Hassan al-Thawadi, Qatars chief World Cup organizer, told the AP. Im sure they wont disappoint.Aspire is a source of such confidence. It trains local kids and others unearthed by a mammoth international scouting program — dubbed Football Dreams — that screens hundreds of thousands of teenagers from 16 countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The reach and size of that talent-search and Qatars history of recruiting overseas athletes to represent it internationally led to suspicions it could naturalize foreign footballers in bulk for the World Cup, although Bravo insisted that isnt the plan.He said Qatars ambition for 2022 is not only to field a team of Qataris but to also have seven, eight, nine, 10 Aspire-trained recruits from Football Dreams playing for other nations.Aspires facilities rival those of Europes best clubs. Under a giant dome, it has a full-sized indoor pitch with an exhortation from Pele on one wall: Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.Outside, generously watered grass pitches resist the desert heat. Recordings of birdsong piped in over loudspeakers give the place an Alice in Wonderland feel.Raul has an office here, watching the academys youngsters play and handing out trophies at competitions it organizes with Chelsea, Barcelona and other teams flown over to give Qatars young players the experience and game-time they will need on the world stage in eight years. Bora Milutinovic, who coached the United States, Mexico, Nigeria, Costa Rica and China at World Cups, is often seen around the place, too, working as an adviser.Young Qatari players have been embedded with professional teams in Spain, Monaco, Austria and a club Qatar bought in Belgium to immerse them in a professional football environment 24 hours a day, which is something Doha lacks, because of the league, empty stadiums, Bravo said. The 2016 Rio Olympics and 2018 World Cup in Russia, if Qatar qualifies, will also be opportunities to hone players for 2022.While the pool of native Qataris is tiny — roughly only 4,000 boys are born here each year — Bravo says Aspire scouts see nearly all youngsters so no potential talent slips through. Motivating them, however, can be challenging: Thanks to the nations oil-and-gas wealth, Qataris are the worlds second-richest people per capita and — unlike slum kids in Brazil or Africa — dont need football as an escape.Youre in a country where even attendance to training can be difficult, Bravo said, before adding: Theres a bit of a misperception about everybody in Qatar: Theyre wealthy kids, they are wearing Rolexes and driving SUVs. Its not the case. A lot of our kids come from more humble or medium-income situations.A breakthrough came in October when Qatars under-19 team beat China, Myanmar and finally North Korea to become Asian champions, qualifying them for the under-20s World Cup next year in New Zealand.All the players are Aspire products and, Bravo said, none were naturalized, puncturing what he insisted are mistaken outside perceptions that Qatar is naturalizing guys, left and right and ... shopping around the world for players.There you have the proof of what we are trying to do, he said, which is to do this with the local players, because that is what this country wants.Its amazing, acknowledged Qatars sports minister, Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali, in an AP interview. We are the least populated nation in Asia but we won. We are the champion of the most populated continent. Think about it.Qatars senior team also won the regional Gulf Cup in November, beating host Saudi Arabia — with a population more than 100 times greater — in the final. Such successes are ammunition against critics who argue that World Cup organizer FIFA should not have picked such a football minnow as host.Because its a small country they say, Why is the World Cup here? said Tareq Sulaiman, a midfielder on the championship-winning under-19 team. This is the chance for us to show them that Qatar will do something good.___Rob Harris can be followed at and John Leicester at .C. - The Panthers will be without starting defensive tackle Star Lotulelei for Saturday nights NFC divisional playoff game against Seattle after undergoing surgery Wednesday to repair a broken bone in his foot. Tavon Wilson Jersey . Redden played a total of 1,023 regular-season games with Ottawa, the New York Rangers, St. Louis and Boston. He finished with 457 points (109 goals, 348 assists) and a plus-160 rating over his career. . The Islanders own the fifth pick in the 2014 draft but had until June 1 to decide whether to keep it or defer to 2015. The selection was packaged in the teams deal for Thomas Vanek on October 27, 2013.NEWARK, N.J. -- Renan Barao was on a tear, trying to put away Urijah Faber with a series of fists to the head. Faber attempted to flash a thumbs up -- a sign he could still fight. Barao and an early stoppage didnt let him get that chance. Barao made quick work of Faber in his latest title defence, dropping the challenger with a right and pummeling him with a series of shots to the head while retaining his 135-pound championship in the main event of UFC 169 on Saturday night. Referee Herb Dean stopped the fight once Barao pounced on Faber and pounded away on The California Kid. Barao won by TKO at 3:22 in the first round and had Faber in all kinds of trouble from the start. But Faber said he could have kept fighting and wanted the chance to continue in the five-round bout. "Its my time," Barao said. "I never thought the referee could stop the fight early because Urijah looked like he could keep fighting. I landed a great punch, the one good enough (to) keep this belt tight around my waist." Jose Aldo retained his 145-pound championship by unanimous decision over Ricardo Lamas in the co-main event. Alistair Overeem beat Frank Mir by UD in a battle of former MMA heavyweight champions at the sold-out Prudential Center for UFCs Super Bowl weekend show. Faber dropped to 0 for 6 as the challenger in title bouts since 2008. He choked out Michael McDonald just six weeks ago on a UFC on Fox card, and was pressed into service Saturday night when injury-prone Dominick Cruz pulled out with a torn groin. Barao rocked him with big rights and never allowed Faber a chance to recover. Barao has defeated Faber twice. "You get caught with punches, man," Faber said. "I just wish I had more of a chance." UFC President Dana White said Dean shouldnt have stopped the fight. "Rarely does he make a mistake," White said. "He made a mistake tonight. But hes the best in the business." Aldo ran his UFC record to 6-0 on the strength of a series of leg kicks from the opening round. He was only in trouble once, late in the fifth when Lamas finally landed a series of strikes and elbows to the champ. Lamas couldnt finish him, and his flurry came too late in the bout. Aldo has won 14 in a row in both UFC and World Extreme Cage Fighting. The two smaller weight-class fights headlined a card that featured a heavyweight bout that could have been the main event of a PPV five years ago. Overeem, the former Strikeforce heavyweight champion, stayed away from the ground game and toyed with Mir for three rounds. He bloodied the former UFC heavyweight champion early in the three-round bout and connected with a hard right in the third. . Overeems corner yelled at him to "take your time," and he tried to play it safe with so much on the line. Overeem snapped a two-fight losing streak and won for the first time since he beat former heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar at UFC 141. "I proved to everybody Im back tonight," Overeem said. "Frank is a very experienced fighter, his game plan was to take me down, but Im a well-rounded fighter, too, so I dominated him. This victory has motivated me a lot to go back to the gym and get ready for fighting again." With rumours swirling that Lesnar, now with the WWE, might want a UFC return, Overeem stood inside the cage and told the crowd hed welcome the challenge. "Ill be here waiting for him," Overeem said. It might be a long wait. White said there is no deal with Lesnar. At 34, Mir may have fought inside the UFC octagon for the last time. Mir has dropped four straight bouts and this match was considered a deciding factor for the UFC to keep either fighter. Mir put up almost no fight and was on his back for a good chunk of the bout. White refused this week to proclaim Mir-Overeem a "loser leaves town" bout, but said both fighters needed a great fight to stick around. Mir failed to deliver. White said he could make a decision this week. The UFC ditched Las Vegas for the Prudential Center for its traditional Super Bowl weekend show. The UFC went to the New York-New Jersey area and piggybacked on Super Bowl week with rousing success. The main event fighters were invited to the NFLs media day, and the UFC even hit Madison Square Garden for its own media day -- staging it at a venue the promotion cant use because of New Yorks MMA ban. With New York closed to MMA, UFC 169 is already the fifth card the Las Vegas-based promotion has run in the Prudential Center since it opened in 2007. The UFC switched its traditional Super Bowl show from Las Vegas to New Jersey at the request of its broadcast partner, Fox. The Prudential Center is less than 10 miles from MetLife Stadium, the site of Sundays Super Bowl. There were a few fans in Broncos jerseys and one fan near the cage held up a neon Seahawks sign that brightened his part of the darkened arena. Abel Trujilo opened the PPV card with a crushing right hand that knocked Jamie Varner out cold at 2:32 of the second round. Varner went down in face-first heap that had the crowd going wild. Ali Bagautinov used some late-fight theatrics in his unanimous decision win over John Lineker. Bagautinov flexed and gave Lineker the thumbs down sign as he turned him over and flattened him on the mat. 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