|Qatar have never qualified for the World Cup and are under pressure as 2022 tournament hosts [GALLO/GETTY]
Qatar have sacked coach Sebastiao Lazaroni after less than five months in charge despite the Brazilian taking the Gulf side to the brink of the fourth round of World Cup qualifying.
A short Qatar Football Association (QFA) statement late on Monday said the coach had been removed after "a series of weak performances" and highlighted the team's exit at the group stage of the ongoing Arab Games they are hosting as the final straw.
Qatar are undefeated in second place in Group E of the third round of World Cup qualifiers in Asia ahead of their final match in February away to pool leaders Iran, who they trail by two points.
A draw in Iran should be enough to qualify for the 10-team fourth round although Qatar could qualify even in defeat as they boast a considerably better goal difference over third-placed Bahrain, who are three points behind and host Indonesia.
Lazaroni's was only appointed in August this year, succeeding Serbian Milovan Rajevac who was sacked because of the "rather alarming fashion" in which Qatar had edged "humble" Vietnam 4-2 over two legs in the second round.
The QFA said Lazaroni's successor will be well aware of Qatari football and will be announced soon.
The 2022 World Cup hosts have never qualified for the finals and are ranked 95th by world governing body FIFA.