Qatar risk Federation Internationale de Football Association action after T-shirt protest amid diplomatic crisis in Gulf

15 June, 2017, 02:11 | Author: Douglas Reid
  • South Korean players react to their 3-2 loss to Qatar in the teams&apos World Cup qualifying match at Jassim Bin Hamad Stadium in Doha

"We're just holding on to second place, and the general feeling around the KFA is that even if we do qualify for the World Cup, we won't be so competitive if we play the way we have", Yonhap quoted an unnamed "high-ranking" Korean FA official as saying yesterday.

Finishing third would only be enough to secure a spot in the play-offs.

Qatar's national football team could face disciplinary action from FIFA after its players warmed up for a World Cup qualifier against South Korea wearing t-shirts showing support for the country's Emir.

The 62-year-old former Germany midfielder had already been under pressure after two defeats in four qualifiers going into Tuesday's match, where the team's once all-but impenetrable defense was breached three times.

The team that finishes third will enter a playoff over two legs for a place in the 2018 World Cup.

Uli Stielike's side, who now sit second in Group A in the third round of AFC World Cup qualification, do not play again until August, when they host Iran and travel to Uzbekistan. He opened the scoring with a free-kick after 25 minutes and Akram Afif added a second six minutes after the restart. "We have to have a scan, it may be broken", said Stielike.

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Goals from South Korea's Ki Sung-Yueng and Hwang Hee-Chan in the 62nd and 69th minute seemed to have secured Korea a valuable point in their attempt to get to Russian Federation.

South Korea, chasing their ninth consecutive World Cup appearance, will host Iran on August 31 and face Uzbekistan in Tashkent on September 5 to close out the qualifying stage.

The Korea Football Association is expected to sack beleaguered head coach Uli Stielike this week, succumbing to the pressure that has been mounting since last fall.

In Group A, South Korea has work to do to reach a ninth successive World Cup after losing in Doha.

Doha will stage the 2022 World Cup, but its winning bid in 2010 has caused controversy amid accusations of corruption during the bidding process and the mistreatment of migrant workers building Qatar's stadiums and facilities.

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