FIFAWC 2022: Ecuador defeat Qatar as hosts break unwanted record in opener


Qatar became the first host nation in the 92-year history of the FIFA World Cup to lose the opener as they fell to a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Ecuador in the tournament’s opener at the Al-Bayt Stadium. The hosts failed to overcome their South American opposition in Group A.

With so much noise being made about the host nation and political issues, there was a need for a quality opening match in the tournament. To allow the hosts to open the tournament, the match between Qatar and Ecuador was pushed back by one day.

Amid the fanfare in the stadium, it was the South Americans that showed early initiative as their captain and former West Ham striker Enner Valencia took advantage of a gaffe from goalkeeper Saad Alsheeb to head home from close range inside three minutes, only for the goal to be correctly ruled out for offside by the VAR.

Ecuador quickly put that behind them and went in front in the 16th minute through the same man. Valencia latched onto a through ball before rounding the goalkeeper, who brought him down to give away a penalty. The experienced striker calmly sent Alsheeb the wrong way from the spot to give the South Americans the game’s opener. It was also the first time in history that a penalty had been the first goal of a FIFA World Cup.

Ecuador continued to dominate proceedings and would eventually double their advantage shortly after the hour mark. A first-time cross from Angelo Preciado was met with power and precision by Valencia, who doubled his tally in the tournament. The Ecuadorian striker has now scored five goals in four FIFA World Cup appearances in his career.

Qatar managed to keep the scoreline respectable in the second half but they barely laid a glove on Ecuador. With two games against Senegal and Netherlands still to come, it is difficult to see the hosts progressing from the group stage.


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