With a FIFA ranking of 154, Afghanistan has a scarce chance of reaching the 2026 qualification.
Qatar’s Al-Annabi kicked off a decisive win against Afghanistan on Thursday, defeating the team 8-1 at the co-qualifiers match for the 2026 World Cup edition and the 2027 AFC Asian Cup.
On a mission to seal their position for both tournaments, the man of the match was Almoez Ali, who nailed four goals in the first half on the home pitch at Khalifa International Stadium.
Qatar’s Hassan al Haydos opened the scoring with a brilliant strike minutes into the match.
Assisted by teammate Akram Afif, the veteran footballer fixed the ball into the back of the Afghan net in the 11th minute of the match.
Despite the early goal, the Afghanistan team struck back against the Maroons with their own goal through the feet of Amiruddin Sharifi.
The Afghan forward cut through the back of the Qatari defence to a seemingly surprised Meshaal Barsham.
The Qatari goalkeeper’s lack of defence opened a rift of momentum for the Afghan team before Almoez Ali kicked in a series of goals, leaving no mercy for the Afghanistan team.
The 27-year-old forward made his mark on the pitch, striking a goal in the 15th and the 26th minute before settling two penalties before the end of the half.
Rising star Mostafa Mashaal also got his chance at the net with a left-footed strike.
With 14 shot attempts at the Afghanistan box, the second half erupted with a less-than-motivated Afghan squad.
Meanwhile, the Carlos Queiroz squad had plenty of gas in the tank as Ahmed Alaaeldin squeezed in a goal in the 53rd minute of the match.
Tameem Al Abdullah secured the eighth goal of the match, pushing aside any hopes of an Afghanistan comeback.
Al Annabi will now set their sights against India, whom they face in Bhubaneshwar on November 21.