Qatar striker Hussein Yasser says his team cannot be written off despite losing their opening AFC Asian Cup match, citing the example of eventual winners Spain at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™.
The host nation allowed the pressure to get the better of them on Friday when they crashed 2-0 to Uzbekistan.
But Yasser, one of his country's best-known players, who once had a stint with the Manchester City reserves, believes they can look to the example of Spain as an inspiration - the World Champions lost their first World Cup game 1-0 to Switzerland but still went on to win the tournament by beating the Netherlands in the final.
"It's not impossible but it's going to be difficult to go through," said Yasser. "As we could see at the World Cup, Spain lost their first game and still won the tournament. So nothing is impossible in football but we have to perform better of course. I hope that we can forget about the Uzbekistan result because we have now to mentally recover for our game against China."
The striker believes they can still advance from Group A. China PR, who won their opening game 2-0, are their next opponents on Wednesday, with Kuwait awaiting them on 16 January. "We have to forget about it because we cannot replay the match," said the 26-year-old. "We still have matches against China and Kuwait so we still have two chances to qualify."
Qatar coach Bruno Metsu conceded that his side were poor against Uzbekistan and Yasser accepts that he and his team-mates did not perform to expectations. "I don't want to make any excuses for why we lost. I think that the players felt the pressure of responsibility but we had to perform," he said.
"I'm one of the players that didn't really perform at 100 percent. Maybe the pressure was on us more than Uzbekistan but we had good chances in the first half, but in the second half we didn't have control and they got their goals."