Qatar’s Almoez Ali has shifted his focus onto the 2019 Copa America and 2022 FIFA World Cup after helping Qatar win their first-ever AFC Asian Cup title beating Japan 3-1.
22-year-old Almoez notched up nine goals to take home the Golden Boot and Most Valuable Player award along with the Asian Cup trophy on Friday. He also became the highest ever goalscorer in a single Asian Cup breaking Ali Daei’s eight-goal record from the 1996 edition.
AFC Asian Cup 2019: Japan 0-1 Qatar – Almoez Ali (12′)
And the Al-Duhial star who will next be seen in action for Qatar at the 2019 Copa America where Qatar, along with Japan, are the two invited teams. The tournament will act as even bigger testing grounds for Qatar as they build a team for the prestigious 2022 World Cup that the nation will host in a few years’ time.
“We are working on the target of the 2022 World Cup and we have started well with the Asian Cup. We managed to win [the Asian Cup title] and defeat Japan and for the next step towards the World Cup, we will be preparing for that with the Copa America in Brazil,” said Almoez after the victory in the final.
Qatar are drawn in Group B of the Copa America to be held in Brazil from June 14 to July 7. They will have Argentina, Colombia and Paraguay for company in the group with the top two teams as well as the two best third-placed teams from the three groups making the quarterfinals.
Estos son los resultados para el choque de los verdaderos titanes. ¡Que el mundo sienta la vibración sudamericana ¡Así se jugará la CONMEBOL Copa América Brasil 2019! #CopaAmerica2019 pic.twitter.com/Wa65qhHBxL
— Copa América (@CopaAmerica) January 24, 2019
“We don’t expect to get results but to learn more about football because we know the Copa America is one of the biggest tournaments in the world. The Copa America is different and we will learn a lot from that. As a team from the Gulf, that will help us to have a better performance in 2022,” Almoez said.
The young striker broke Iran great Daei’s record with a fantastic overhead kick in the first half of the final against Japan and Almoez had this to say about the goal: “For the first goal I had one defender behind me. So, I knew I could put the ball in any corner, so I tried to put it in the corner past the goalkeeper. It was a nice goal,” he said.