Qatar hero Afif eyes Europe after ultimate hat trick


LUSAIL, Doha — After netting a hat trick in Qatar‘s 3-2 Asian Cup ultimate win over Jordan, Akram Afif has mentioned that he’d be open to enjoying in Europe once more however that the choice isn’t his alone to make, together with his rapid focus celebrating a second-straight title.

Successful two of them himself, Afif scored a hat trick of penalties as Qatar surged previous Jordan on the Lusail Stadium on Saturday, changing into simply the fifth Asian nation to defend their continental crown.

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It capped off a match wherein the 27-year-old was a dominant power for the Maroons, scoring eight objectives to safe the Golden Boot, ending as equal chief in assists with three and being comfortably named participant of the match.

Although beforehand logging stints with golf equipment in Spain and Belgium, Afif has been hooked up to Qatari Stars League powers Al Saad since 2018, the place he has been the topic of frequent hypothesis as he established himself as certainly one of Asia’s finest attackers together with his standout type at a home and worldwide degree.

“Transferring to Europe is one thing all gamers need however it is a resolution which must be made with nice consideration,” he mentioned post-final, talking by a translator.

“It isn’t me who decides. My spouse additionally has to make the choice with me, it isn’t simple to go away the membership and nation.

“It is future. If it is meant to be then it is meant to be.

“It is a troublesome reply, I might say I’d like to go.

“However what I do know is we gained back-to-back [Asian Cups], we’re pleased and we are going to get pleasure from till the subsequent Asian Cup.”

Staging the delayed match after preliminary hosts China withdrew, the back-to-back Asian Cups helped Qatar exorcise some demons of their disastrous 2022 World Cup, the place they misplaced all three group video games and have been eradicated sooner than some other host nation in historical past.

They managed this regardless of some sputtering type throughout 2023 and the departure of coach Carlos Queiroz only a month out from the match, with Al-Wakrah boss Tintín Márquez parachuted in on Christmas Eve to take over.

“Perhaps we did not play lovely soccer immediately however everybody remembers the winner. I am so pleased for Akram, he deserved to win all of the awards,” Márquez mentioned by a translator.

“What is going to occur is that I am going to return to Al-Wakrah and we are going to discuss concerning the future.

“I do not know what is going to occur sooner or later, now we are going to get pleasure from and rejoice.

“Working with the nationwide group is completely different. Working with golf equipment is day by day. I took cost only in the near past earlier than the start of the match.

“What was vital was that I knew the gamers and so they applied my beliefs very quick.

“Whereas some matches fell in need of expectations, others exceeded them. In the end, it was the gamers’ execution of the plans and concepts that made the distinction.”

For Jordan, the defeat marked the painful finish of what has in any other case been a fairytale match, the Chivalrous Ones beforehand gorgeous Jürgen Klinsmann’s South Korea 2-0 within the semifinal having beforehand by no means progressed previous the knockouts.

“We now have gained respect,” coach Hussein Ammouta mentioned by a translator. “The group has developed very effectively and opened new horizons sooner or later.”

“The penalties got here at a time that did not enable us to come back again. That is soccer, when errors occur, particularly in defence.

“We congratulate our gamers who performed an excellent match.”



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