Qatar hosted the first match of the 2022 World Cup last night, but what was supposed to be a dream turned into a nightmare.
In their opening match, Qatar faced Ecuador, and the quality of both teams could not have been more evident.
Indeed, Ecuador closed the match in the first half, scoring 2-0 against the hosts.
The defeat breaks with the tradition of the host country winning the opening match of the football festival, the first host defeat in decades.
The opening ceremony was a sight when actor Morgan Freeman took the stage before BTS star Jung Kook’s performance.
The main event finally took center stage, but not everything went as planned.
Qatar looked nervous in the game, battling against 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 game was practically over in the first half.
When the second half started, the stadium had more empty seats as some fans felt they had seen enough.
The host country’s starting lineup was a strong team that reached the semi-finals 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 over Byron Castillo’s eligibility for Ecuador since he was born in Colombia.
Despite Castillo’s absence, Ecuador continues to be a strong team with the following:
- Hernán Galíndez
- Piero Hincapié
- Félix Torres
- Angelo Preciado
- Pervis Estupiñán
- Gonzalo Plata
- Jhegson Méndez
- Moisés Caicedo
- Romario Ibarra
- Michael Estrada
- Enner Valencia
When the match started, Ecuador immediately kicked into high gear.
After three minutes of play, the opponents thought they had taken the lead.
When Valencia headed the ball, Ecuador and their fans cheered, 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 immediately had a shot on goal, and the yellow shirts celebrated 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, but despite their stifled spirits, the hosts managed to stay compact in defense.
Toward the end, Qatar came close to scoring, but the shot went over the crossbar.
Qatar will face a solid Dutch side on 29 November and hope to progress to the round of 16.