Qatar's coach Jose Daniel Carreno warned against complacency ahead of his team's 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ qualifier against Maldives.
Qatar go into Tuesday's match with four wins from four and sit on top of Asia Group C, five points ahead of their nearest rivals, Hong Kong and China PR. They have scored 20 goals and conceded only two so far and are one of only three teams across Asia with a perfect record, Saudi Arabia and Korea Republic being the other two. Having just beaten China last week, a confident Qatar are fully expected to extend their 100 per cent record against the Maldives. Carreno, however, said they must be wary of their opponents.
Despite his caution, Carreno's team only need to win, at most, three of their remaining four matches to progress to the next and most important stage of qualification where 12 teams from across Asia compete for four spots at the 2018 World Cup finals in Russia.
Two of those matches come against Group C's bottom teams, Maldives and Bhutan, who Qatar beat 15-0 in the home fixture. Qatar started their campaign with a 1-0 win in Male in June. New Maldives coach Ricki Herbert said his team would not be frightened and had not come just to defend.
"The game for us tomorrow is very exciting. Qatar are a very good team, a very strong team, it's a big challenge," he said. "We will be positive. Football is full of surprises and hopefully tomorrow we can see another one."
Herbert, who played in the 1982 World Cup finals with New Zealand and swapped shirts with Brazilian legend Socrates after their group clash 33 years ago, said he would play several "youngsters". This includes teenage full-back Samooh Ali. The 19-year-old is a semi-professional who works as a fisherman when not playing football, highlighting the differences in resources between the two sides.
Hosts of the World Cup in 2022, Qatar are seeking to avoid becoming the first nation since Italy in 1934 to do so without ever playing in a finals beforehand.