Qatar hosted the first game of the 2022 World Cup last night but what should have been a dream turned into a nightmare.
Qatar faced Ecuador in their opening game, and the quality of both teams could not have been more evident.
Ecuador effectively ended the match with a 2-0 win over the hosts in the first half.
The defeat breaks with the tradition of the host country winning the opening match of the football festival, a host’s first defeat in decades.
The opening ceremony was a sight to behold as actor Morgan Freeman took the stage ahead of Jung Kook of BTS’s performance.
The main event finally took center stage, but not everything went to plan for the hosts.
Qatar looked nervous in the game, trying to catch up with an experienced team from Ecuador.
The opponents took advantage of plenty of chances and were rewarded with two goals from Ecuadorian striker Enner Valencia.
The match was practically over in the first half.
By the start of the second half, the stadium had more empty seats as some fans felt they had seen enough.
The host nation’s starting lineup was a strong team that previously reached the semifinals of the 2021 Gold Cup and won the 2019 Asian Cup.
The team consisted of the following:
- Saad Alsheeb
- Pedro Miguel
- Abdelkarim Hassan
- Homam Ahmed
- Bassam Hisham
- Boualem Khoukhi
- Abdulaziz Hatem
- Hassan Alhaydos
- Karim Boudiaf
- Akram Afif
- Almoez Ali
Meanwhile, Ecuador faced controversy regarding Byron Castillo’s eligibility for Ecuador.
He was born in Colombia, which conflicted with his place on the team.
Despite Castillo’s absence, Ecuador continues to be a strong squad with the following players:
- Hernán Galíndez
- Piero Hincapié
- Félix Torres
- Angelo Preciado
- Pervis Estupiñán
- Gonzalo Plata
- Jhegson Méndez
- Moisés Caicedo
- Romario Ibarra
- Michael Estrada
- Enner Valencia
From the kickoff, Ecuador kicked into high gear.
After three minutes of play, the opponents thought they had taken the lead with an Enner Valencia header.
When Valencia headed the ball, Ecuador and their fans celebrated, but VAR (Video Assistant Referee) ruled it offside and disallowed the goal.
Despite the disappointment, the opposition did not back down.
Minutes later, Ecuador was awarded a penalty when Qatar keeper Saad Al Sheeb fouled Valencia in the box.
Enner Valencia’s shot was on goal, and the yellow shirts started celebrating again.
Throughout the first half, Ecuador saw more of the ball and used their experience to overwhelm the home side.
Before the end of the half, Valencia fired a ball into the bottom corner, extending their lead.
Ecuador continued to put Qatar under pressure in the second half.
Despite their downtrodden spirit, the hosts managed to stay compact in defense.
Towards the end, Qatar came close to scoring, but the shot went over the crossbar.
Now Qatar will face a solid Dutch side on 29 November as they hope to progress to the round of 16.