Bilal to Qatar's U-20 team: 'The whole country is behind you'
For the Qatari player who scored some of the most important goals – including a spectacular bicycle kick against England in the semi-finals – for Qatar's Under-20 team as they surprised the world and reached the final of the 1981 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Australia, the current squad of Qatari U-20 players have the potential to impress once more. Badr Bilal, Qatar's top-scorer at that tournament, told www.sc.qa that the experiences won in New Zealand would be vital in the further development of the Qatari youngsters.
"This type of tournament is the highest level in football and they need this experience," said Badr Bilal. "My advice for the team is to play with heart, concentrate, and think about the flag of the country, your people, the Emir of the country and what they have done for you to reach this kind of level. Most of the world will be watching you. You will need courage, strength, and with the help from the technical team they will work together as a team."
With Qatar's first match in the tournament against Colombia just days away on May 31, Bilal added that right from the first whistle the whole country was behind the team which was crowned Asian champions in Myanmar last year.
"We will give them a big support; they should put in their mind that their people are with them. From the first whistle in the first match, we are all behind them. We have very good players in this team, they have good football minds, and when they have a difficult situation they know how to solve it. I hope and I am sure they will have good results and qualify for the next round. I have trust in them."
Badr Bilal on the cover of Al Saqr magazine, 26 November 1987.
Looking back at his own participation in FIFA's flagship youth tournament 34 years ago, Bilal added that his memorable goal against England was the highlight of his footballing career: "The best moment in my football life was my bicycle kick and the moment we beat England in the semi-finals and knew we were in the final. At that time Poland was the best team in Europe and we beat them in the group stages, we beat Brazil in the quarter-finals, the home nation of football, and then we beat England which was massive. Now we have trust in this team to do well too."
While Bilal still fondly remembers his side's exploits in Australia, he also believes that the current Qatar squad will form the basis of the team for the 2022 FIFA World Cup™ on home soil: "I believe in the coach Félix Sánchez, he is very good and I hope that he has luck in the tournament. When you have luck, you can reach the final. But there is no pressure on the team. My advice to the whole team is to enjoy when you play, if you do so then you can achieve big things. They will be very experienced, and if they continue on the right way they will be a part of the team in 2022."
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