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SPORTS UPDATE

Qatar ready for ‘historic moment’ in World Cup opener, says Sanchez

Qatar coach Felix Sanchez said the hosts were excitedly looking forward to a “historic moment” when his team open the 2022 World Cup against Ecuador on Sunday.

“It’s a very important day for us, it’s a historic moment, it’s a very happy day for us, for the players and the staff,” Sanchez told a pre-match press conference on Saturday.

“It’s an extraordinary day… We have made a huge investment in this country.

“I hope we can enjoy football, our sport, and do our talking on the pitch. I hope all the countries in the world can come together to enjoy this.”

The build-up to the World Cup has been blighted by controversy, with Qatar criticised over its human rights record, including the conditions for migrant workers in the country.

“A lot has been said about this. Some disinformation in my opinion,” said Sanchez.

“Obviously the loss of human life during working hours is a great tragedy, whether it’s here or anywhere else in the world.

“I hope that this World Cup, all together, we can work to benefit the conditions for these groups.”

Qatar will be playing in the global showpiece for the first time, but are hoping to replicate the form which saw them win the Asian Cup three years ago.

“We know that it will be a great challenge for us but we’re very eager to play this match and are very happy to be here,” added Sanchez.

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