Qatar became the first host nation to lose their World Cup opener as Ecuador kicked off the tournament with an emphatic 2-0 victory thanks to Enner Valencia’s double.
After months of pre-controversy, the focus was on the pitch as Qatar 2022 kicked off, but there was no relief on the pitch for the hosts as they were put on a good display in their first World Cup match.
After seeing a third-minute goal ruled out for offside, Ecuadorian captain Valencia wrote his name in the history books as he scored Qatar 2022’s first goal from an attack (16) before taking his tally to five goals in World Cup matches. is the second most visible topic (31).
Ecuador took a breather in the second half, but Qatar failed to respond as Gustavo Alfaro’s side began their World Cup campaign with an emphatic victory and a seventh consecutive victory to top Group A.
Qatar beats Ecuador in World Cup opener…
After the opening ceremony, which featured Hollywood star Morgan Freeman and South Korean actor Jung Kook, FIFA President Gianni Infantino said, “let the show begin”, but Qatar could not have started badly.
Valencia put Ecuador ahead within three minutes when goalkeeper Saad Al-Sheeb conceded a clearance, only for the goal to be ruled out after a late VAR review was ruled out, but the Qatari’s comeback was short-lived.
Goloboyi Al-Sheeb’s hesitation to engage Valencia as he entered the area led to a sloppy fall on the Ecuadorian, who went down and kicked the penalty sloppily – the first time a penalty has been awarded at a World Cup.
The difference in class between the two teams was underlined just after half an hour when Valencia stooped to head Angelo Preciado’s powerful effort into the Qatari net in their match against Ecuador.
Valencia’s game seemed to have come to an end when he sprained his knee at the end of the first half, but he played another 30 minutes, especially in the countless minutes before his death.
Almoez Ali missed a good chance to reduce the deficit at half-time, looking at Qatar’s best chance from seven yards, and the hosts only managed to pull away at the break, with shots from Akram Afif and Mohammed Muntari. Ecuadorian goalkeeper Hernan Galindez to think about.
But what the players lacked in attack they made up for with a strong second-half display that prevented Ecuador from suffering a major embarrassment, although this was not enough to prevent Qatar from setting an unnecessary World Cup record.
Unnecessary World Cup history for Qatar’s hosts – Opta stats
- Qatar has become the first host nation to lose their first World Cup match (W16 D6 before today).
- Ecuador have kept a clean sheet in their last seven matches in all competitions (W3 D4), with Argentina’s Julián Álvarez the last player to score against them in March.
- Ecuador scored twice in the first half of a World Cup match for the first time. This is the second time in their four World Cup appearances that they have won their opening game, the other being 2-0 (against Poland in 2006).
- There were only 11 shots in the match (5 in Qatar, 6 in Ecuador) – no World Cup match on record (since 1966) has had fewer attempts.
- Ecuador’s opener was the first time in World Cup history that the opening goal in one of the tournament’s matches was conceded.