Nothing is impossible for Qatar's Hassan
Abu Dhabi: On the verge of his side's first ever AFC Asian Cup semi-final. Qatar's star left-back Abdelkarim Hassan has a simple message - anything is possible.
Qatar's success would have been difficult to imagine four years ago. Hassan, an unused substitute, watched on as Bahrain's Sayed Ahmed scored eight minutes from time to deliver a final blow to Al Annabi's 2015 campaign.
Three successive losses meant Hassan's side left Australia without a single point. After years of steady progress, and a quarter-final appearance on home soil four years prior, it was their worst ever result at an AFC Asian Cup.
Skip forward four years and the circumstances are unrecognisable. Qatar have won five successive matches, and beaten three former champions in a row, to reach the final four for the first time history.
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An unused substitute no more, Hassan is the 2018 AFC Player of the Year, and, with such significant changes, the 25-year-old is not one to set limits on what can be achieved.
"What I have learned in football, is there is nothing (that is) impossible," said the Al Sadd dynamo.
"Everything is possible, so we will keep working hard and pushing, until the end."
Alongside club teammate Akram Afif, and in-form striker Almoez Ali - who remains one goal away from equalling Ali Daei's tournament record of eight - Hassan has become a key figure in Felix Sanchez's side, but suspension made him a spectator during their historic quarter-final against Korea Republic.
Despite not being able to personally impact the breakthrough 1-0 win, Hassan wore one of the biggest smiles at Zayed Sports City Stadium, and remains delighted with his country's achievement.
"I cannot say anything about the game," he said. "Korea (Republic) were strong and we had to defend to stop them from scoring against us and we did it.
"We did it, we wrote history and we enter history (being) the first time in the Asian Cup that Qatar arrive in this stage, and I am very proud of my teammates, from the head coach to the administration, because we work hard, and a lot, to reach this stage.
"What can I say? It's wonderful, and mabrouk for it."
The next challenge is a semi-final against the United Arab Emirates; the same side who dealt the first blow, a 4-1 defeat, to the campaign of 2015.
A sixth win in a row would see Qatar into their first ever AFC Asian Cup final, and a seventh would make them champions.
All unthinkable four years ago, but in 2019, according to Hassan, anything is possible.
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