Qatar – Ecuador -Played on 11/20/ 2022
At the inauguration of one of the most controversial World Cups in history, there was an event that left no controversy: Ecuador’s overwhelming superiority over a Qatari team that became the first host team to lose the opening match in the history of the world.
Those led by the Argentine coach Gustavo Alfaro quickly took the lead with a goal from Enner Valencia after three minutes of play, but the referee annulled it at the request of the VAR for an offside position.
However, that would not be the last time tonight that the Qataris would hear of Enner Valencia…
The Turkish Fenerbache striker entered the opponent’s six-yard box after 15 minutes and was brought down by goalkeeper Saad Al Sheep. The Italian referee Daniele Orsato did not hesitate: he scored a penalty and cautioned the Qatari player.
Valencia himself kicked the maximum penalty and became the top Ecuadorian scorer in World Cup history, beating Agustín Delgado’s three goals with his four goals.
Valencia, who is the only player in the current Ecuador squad to have played in a World Cup before (in 2014), scored again after 31 minutes with a superb header that slipped into the right post of the Qatari goalkeeper.
His five World Cup goals are the last five goals scored by the Ecuadorian team in both Qatar and Brazil (Ecuador did not qualify for Russia in 2018).
At that point in the game, the South American team had more than 60% possession of the ball and Qatar could not find any way to scare the goalkeeper Hernán Galíndez, born in Argentina but nationalized Ecuadorian.
The only scare for “la Tri”, as Ecuadorians affectionately call their national team, was a foul on Valencia that raised fears of his continuity in the game, but the 33-year-old striker finished the first half on his feet and went out to play the second part
But Valencia was not so incisive in the second half and was replaced at minute 75 by José Cifuentes.
When he sat on the bench, they iced his knee, thinking about the next game with the Netherlands in five days.
The Europeans will play this Monday with Senegal the other match of this group A.
Qatar will return to the field on November 25 against the African team.
Group A closes on November 29 with the matches Ecuador – Senegal and the Netherlands – Qatar.
Qatar celebrates its World Cup beyond not shouting any goals
José Carlos Cueto, BBC Mundo correspondent in Qatar
Little did the strong wind and the constant shaking of sand and dust today on the east coast of Qatar matter so that the party started early on the first day of the World Cup.
45 kilometers from the nerve center of Doha, the Al Bayt stadium, where the inauguration takes place, is revealed as a giant rectangular tent in the middle of the desert.
Ecuador and Qatar played their first match there, although many other fans also wanted to be present.
The Ecuadorians enlivened the afternoon with songs and painted it with the yellow, red, and blue of their flag.
Qatari families turned up in droves in their traditional attire, flags, and scarves, excited to experience the party they have waited 12 years for since FIFA granted them the venue in 2010.
“We are very proud, we want to welcome all of you to Qatar, to this World Cup,” Qatari Salem al Kathairi told BBC Mundo, proudly carrying a photo of former emir Hamad bin Khalifa al Thani.
Many other Qataris waited almost until the last minute to arrive, appearing mounted in spectacular luxury cars driven by their drivers.
In Qatar, as you will discover this month, there will be plenty of room for excesses.
Back in Doha, the capital’s main fan zone was packed by match time.
Other screens around the city allowed more fans to experience the opening in style.
The final victory of Ecuador may have frozen the spirits of the supporters of the Qatari team, but it certainly does not freeze their smiles.
His dream of hosting the World Cup is now a reality.