Qatar coach: Team must shut out ‘noise’ in World Cup opener
Qatar coach Mani is not concerned about the noise, but is concerned about the team’s defensive performance in the opening game of World Cup 2018.
“We have to shut down what we have no chance of winning,” he said. “The team’s performance is the least we can hope for and it should be a tough match against Tunisia. But the team must be patient and stop anything coming from the backline. I would like to believe that everyone will do their best in the tournament.”
Mani’s side are hoping to improve on their 6-0 win over New Zealand in the opening round of the tournament last month, with Qatar needing to beat the Black Ferns in their semi-final match at the Khalifa International Stadium on Wednesday, 11 May, before the team can progress to the quarter-finals.
“New Zealand are a very organised side. We should be ready for any situation and can’t be complacent. We also know that the Black Ferns will give us a difficult match and it would be best to get through to the quarter-finals,” he said. “We have to be competitive, but we need to play well and we can’t allow them to play well.”
Qatar will be aiming to continue their remarkable run of form for the second consecutive World Cup under Mani at the Khalifa International Stadium, while the Black Ferns, who went unbeaten in all of their group outings last summer, are the favourites to book their place in the semi-finals.
“This group of eleven teams is the strongest and best we have ever won against in one World Cup and we hope the same group returns,” Mani said. “We have a lot of respect for Tunis but they must play differently to us.”