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Qatar team starts local training camp

Felix Sanchez’s men started training at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium in Doha’s Al Sadd Club as preparations for the grand event pick up steam 50 days ahead of the tournament.

Qatar News Agency reported that the training is open to the public on Sunday as part of improving interaction between fans and players ahead of the World Cup that kicks off on November 20.

The Qatari squad will leave on Wednesday for the Spanish city of Marbella where it will join a new camp which will be an extension of the camps that started in June in Spain and then Austria and ended late last month.

Qatar played three friendly matches in the Austrian capital Vienna in September during which coach Sanchez tried out new combination of players including younger members of the squad before choosing the final team that will compete in the World Cup and includes 26 players, to be submitted no later than November 13.

Qatar played Canada on September 23 at Villa Park in Vienna, losing 2-0 to the North American side. The match against Chile, also at Villa Park, ended in a 2-2 draw, giving some cause for hope to the Qatari side.

Towering Stars

Meanwhile, Portuguese soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo has not been chosen to be on a poster to adorn a skyscraper in Doha ahead of the World Cup, local media reported.

One player from every team playing at the World Cup is being featured on a 75-foot billboard pasted over Doha’s towers in the West Bay area-the glitzy central business district of the Qatari capital, but Ronaldo’stowering stature in the game isn’t enough to earn him a place on the glass facades of the tall structures.

According to ESPN, Ronaldo will not be the selected figure, to be replaced by either his Manchester United colleague Bruno Fernandes or Liverpool’s Diogo Jota.

Portugal’s choice is surprising as Ronaldo became the all-time leading international goal scorer last year by breaking Ali Daei’s 109-goal record with a brace against Ireland. Ronaldo now has 117 international goals in 191 appearances.

–IANS<br>mukesh/shs

CELEBRITY GALLERY

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Himanshi Khurana

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