An aerial view shows Doha's diplomatic area March 21, 2013. (REUTERS/Fadi Al-Assaad)
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With four years to go before the next World Cup opens in Qatar, the small gulf country's national soccer team is on the rise but still has a long, long way to go.Qatar surprisingly won the right to host the 2022 tournament eight years ago, when it was ranked 113th in the world by FIFA. There are positives, however, including Qatar's 1-0 victory over Switzerland last week in a friendly match -- an eye-opening result against a team that reached the round of 16 at the last two World Cups.Respect has been hard to come by for Qatar's national team and the country's hosting of the tournament in general.The win over Switzerland and subsequent 2-2 draw against Iceland were good signs, though a far cry from the progress Iceland has made in the same eight years, rising from No. 110 in the FIFA rankings to No. 36 following a quarterfinal run at the 2016 European Championship.Still, the team is improving under coach Felix Sanchez, who spent a decade as a youth coach at Barcelona before becoming Qatar's ninth coach in eight years.
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