Qatar’s boss worked at La Masia – and Barcelona gave him a glowing review

Given that all of their players play club football in Qatar the World Cup hosts are a bit of unknown quantity, though they've got some pedigree in the dugout.

Qatar manager Felix Sanchez is a former Barcelona youth coach and received rave reviews during his decade-long stint at the club's famed academy, La Masia.

Barcelona chiefs labelled him "a winning coach with Barca DNA" and gave him credit for aiding the growth of players such as Sergi Roberto, Gerard Deulofeu and Marc Muniesa.

READ MORE: Thousands of World Cup fans leave opening game early as hosts Qatar disappoint

Sanchez left the La Liga giants in 2006 after being approached by the Qatar-based Aspire Academy – set up to scout and develop young Qatari athletes and help them compete on the international stage.

Several members of Qatar's current World Cup squad were developed under Sanchez's watch so it's little surprise that in 2013 he was appointed manager of the nation's U19s team.

He won the following year's U19 Asia Cup and quickly began climbing the ladder. After winning nine of his 10 games in charge, he was promoted to U20s boss, and then U23s boss, before being appointed manager of the senior side in 2017.

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Despite failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, Sanchez continued to make waves and led his totally unfancied side to glory in the 2019 Asian Cup – Qatar's first ever major trophy.

They conceded just one goal in the entire tournament, during their 3-1 win over Japan in the final, and scored a whopping 19 goals.

People may not respect Qatar the country, nor their national team, but their manager, and his fascinating career, commands it, and rightly so.

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