The three-time champions booked a place in the last four against hosts Iraq after a 1-1 draw with the UAE
Newly promoted coach, Bruno Pinheiro said Qatar deserved to qualify for the semi-finals of the Arabian Gulf Cup after the team’s last Group B match at the Al Mina Olympic Stadium in Basra on Friday.
“It was a complicated and a difficult match but our performance was very good, especially in the first half when we missed many chances,” the Portuguese coach said.
“We deserved to qualify and advance in the competition based on the performance and efforts made by the players,” Pinheiro added.
After finishing second in their group, Qatar stands at four points behind reigning champions Bahrain, which holds seven.
In their run against the Emirates, Tameem Al-Abdullah saved his team from elimination when he struck an unstoppable shot to the back of the net in the 88th minute.
Pinheiro applauded the effort of his young squad, which is absent of several veteran players.
“I thank the players and the officials of the Qatar Football Association and their insightful vision for giving them the opportunity to be in this tournament and gain these wonderful experiences in front of full stadiums,” Pinheiro said.
“To develop physically and mentally in such a short time is great news. We had only a two-week preparation period, and our young players were able to find solutions in the matches themselves.”
Ahead of their match against hosts Iraq on Monday, Pinheiro admits he was surprised but thankful for the country’s generosity.
“I am happy with my presence and my first visit to Iraq. I am surprised by the kind of welcome, hospitality, and good reception we have received.”
Piloting a new generation of young stars, Pinheiro replaced national team coach Felix Sanchez after the Spanish coach parted ways per the team’s poor performance at the World Cup.
Pinheiro began his coaching career with the semi-pro team Portuguese football club Electrico before appearing in Benfica and Belenenses.
Pinheiro managed the Qatar youth national teams for four years but left in 2020 to coach Estoril and return after the dismissal of Sanchez at the start of this new year.
Qatar will have its chance of glory as the team is in dire need of retrieval after enduring the earliest exit by a host nation in the World Cup’s 92-year history.