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Qatar can only get better, says Sanchez

Abu Dhabi: Felix Sanchez has warned the rest of the Continent that his newly crowned AFC Asian Cup winners can become even better after Qatar saw off Japan to claim their maiden continental crown on Friday.

Qatar emerged with the title for the first time after seven straight wins in the United Arab Emirates saw them score 19 times and concede just once to claim the newly-minted AFC Asian Cup trophy as the country continues along the road towards the hosting of the FIFA World Cup in 2022.

Almoez Ali emerged as the tournament’s Most Valuable Player while Akram Afif and others impressed over the last four weeks and, with the Qataris boasting one of the youngest squads at the tournament, Sanchez believes there is more to come from his talented line-up.

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“We arrived here with a target to face everything game-by-game, to show that we can compete against all the big teams in Asia and here at the Asian Cup all of them were here,” said Sanchez.

“And I think game-by-game the players showed they were ready to play against all Asian national teams and are able to manage the games in different situations and in different scenarios to get the results.

“We’re happy with the results, because we won, and in our analysis these players are able to compete against all the national teams in Asia and that’s a big step for us. Now we’re looking forward to developing the players, because it’s a very young squad and they performed very well."


Qatar: Celebrate AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 triumph

“But the good thing is we can see that we can still grow as a team and we can go forward.”

Qatar will host the FIFA World Cup in just under four years’ time and have qualified for the tournament automatically as a result, meaning Sanchez and the Qatar Football Association will be able to focus on further enhancing the team until November 2022.

The QFA has lined up appearances at a number of key events, with the team next slated to feature at the Copa America in Brazil in June as Qatar look towards impressing on home soil in 2022.

For the moment though, Sanchez said his team will savour emerging AFC Asian Cup champions.

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