Monday November 21, 2022
Al Bayt Stadium, al Khor, Qatar – 20 November 2022 Common view of a large duplicate of the World Cup trophy contained in the stadium earlier than the match. © Fabrizio Bensch, Reuters
Qatar’s first ever World Cup match led to dismay for an overmatched crew and with a spot in undesirable soccer historical past.
The controversy-laced match opened Sunday with Qatar getting outplayed and embarrassed in a 2-0 loss to Ecuador in entrance of 67,372 followers at Al Bayt Stadium. In 92 years of soccer’s largest occasion, a number crew had by no means misplaced its opening sport.
The primary World Cup within the Center East is an opportunity for Qatar, a tiny Arab nation jutting out into the Persian Gulf, to showcase itself to the broader world. Its soccer crew, taking part in at this stage for the primary time by advantage of internet hosting the match, could not dwell up to date as Ecuador captain Enner Valencia scored each objectives within the first half.
The match occurred after a colourful 30-minute opening ceremony — fronted by Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman and attended by highly effective dignitaries together with Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — that promoted inclusivity and mankind dwelling “under one tent.”
For a lot of, that may jar with this World Cup being internet hosting by an emirate the place gay acts are unlawful, one which has come below robust criticism for a way migrant staff have been handled constructing stadiums and match infrastructure since Qatar received the scandal-shrouded vote in 2010.
The yearslong scrutiny was by no means going to cease simply because play on the sphere lastly entered the narrative of a match dogged by human rights controversies, but a win for the host nation would have at the least put a positive gentle on Qatar, soccer-wise.
As an alternative, Qatar’s gamers, contemporary from spending seven months collectively in a pre-tournament coaching camp below Spanish coach Felix Sanchez, froze in entrance of an expectant crowd and a disciplined Ecuador crew that may simply pose a hazard to extra high-profile opponents over the following few weeks.
Valencia thought he had scored within the third minute when he headed in from shut vary following an acrobatic cross from Felix Torres. After a video assessment of about two minutes, Ecuadorian celebrations had been reduce brief when the objective was dominated out for what seemed to be a marginal offside.
Ecuador did take the lead, nevertheless, within the sixteenth minute when Valencia was tripped by Saad Alsheeb after rounding the goalkeeper, who was booked for the problem. Valencia was nonchalant as he trotted up and transformed the spot kick into the underside nook. The 33-year-old striker added his second within the thirty third by heading in a right-wing cross from Angelo Preciado.
With Qatar’s passes usually going astray and its defensive raggedness repeatedly uncovered, Ecuador had no downside holding onto its lead as Sanchez stood helpless in his technical space and the house followers fell quiet.
There have been a number of empty seats for a second half that was nearly a damage-limitation train for Qatar.