Qatar suffered a disappointing 1-2 defeat to Kenya in their first friendly at the Al Janoub Stadium last week.
Qatar’s national team is set to face Russia in their second friendly match in a week as the country looks to qualify for the upcoming 2026 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and the 2027 AFC Asian Cup.
Led by head coach Carlos Queiroz, the Russian encounter at Al Janoub Stadium will be the third time the two times sides come together.
The first match between the two sides ended in a 1-1 draw in 2011, with the second game taking place in 2016, with Qatar winning 2-1.
The Russian meeting of Qatar came as the team got suspended by both FIFA and UEFA from all competitions following the invasion of Ukraine.
Despite the suspension, Russia maintains a reputable FIFA ranking as it sits 38th, with Qatar at 59th.
Ahead of arriving in Qatar, Russia defeated Iraq in March and played a 1-1 draw against Egypt earlier this month.
Speaking ahead of the Qatari friendly, midfielder Ruslan Litvinov voiced that the match would be an “interesting one” as he had been following Qatar’s performances.
“The team must play and practice. There should be at least friendly games if there are no official matches yet,” the FC Spartak Moscow player said.
“Qatar competed at the FIFA World Cup and I have been following their performances. Some of their matches really surprised me and I think it would be an interesting match,” added Litvinov.
Qatar will seek an improved performance after losing to Kenya 2-1.
Coach Queiroz looks to finalise the squad for the FIFA World Cup 2026 qualifying campaign next month and is expected to play all 26 players throughout tonight’s match.
Against Kenya, Qatar fielded an experimental starting lineup for the match that saw Joseph Okumu and Michael Olunga strike two goals into a vulnerable Queiroz side.
World Cup and AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers
Qatar is placed in Group A of the men’s FIFA World Cup 2026 and 2027 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers.
Competing against India, Kuwait, and either Afghanistan or Mongolia, Qatar will have its golden opportunity to qualify for the World tournaments.
With the 2026 edition of the World Cup expanding to a 48-team affair, the AFC will have eight direct qualification spots, four more than in the 2022 World Cup, and a playoff slot.
This is the third time that the first two rounds of qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup will also serve as the qualifiers for the AFC Asian Cup.
After the qualifiers, the top two teams from each group will make it to the next round, while the rest will advance to the third round of the 2027 Asian Cup qualification.