The highly-anticipated, long-awaited World Cup is finally underway with the matchup between host Qatar and Ecuador. With a pair of captain Enner Valencia’s goals, Ecuador made it just enough to earn their first three points of the tournament, handling Qatar its first defeat in the country’s first-ever World Cup match.
Despite being the reigning Asian Cup Champions, Qatar is still considered by most fans and experts to be one of the weakest teams in the tournament. This is shown clearly in the first half of the match. The ball mainly rolled into Qatar’s territory as Ecuador dominated possession. La Tri looked so much faster and stronger than their opposition. Their pressure almost paid off when Enner Valencia headed the ball in, but it was later ruled offside. He didn’t have to wait long, though. A couple of minutes later, the Qatari goalkeeper conceded a penalty, and Valencia calmly put it into the bottom right corner. And just before the half ended, the captain again with a pure striker finish from Preciado’s cross to give Ecuador a comfortable lead into half-time.
The second half saw more fighting spirit from Qatar, but it was in vain, as both teams left the field without more goals.
Qatar is the first host to lose in the opener
In the 92-year history of the World Cup, the host never lost in their first match. Not even once! Even the biggest underdogs, South Africa in 2010 or Japan in 2002, pulled off a draw.
A miracle didn’t happen for Qatar this time. Ecuador was too overwhelming for them and didn’t allow any mistakes. It is pretty unpleasant to see a streak break. But it is part of football.
Qatar World Cup outlook
Ecuador is the closest opponent in terms of FIFA Ranking for Qatar. Senegal and the Netherlands are both far out of their league. Unless they play twice as well as the form that got them the Asian Cup trophy, adding a touch from the lucky god, it is highly likely that they will lose both of their upcoming fixtures. But hey, cheer up! Only a few teams have the chance to participate in the limelight of international football. The players should enjoy their time and play their hearts out for the country.
Ecuador dominated Qatar the whole game. They looked physical, especially in the middle of the park with Moises Caicedo and Jhegson Mendez. Their wingers were outstanding as well. We already know how nice Estupinan is, but Preciado looked like the best player today. Ecuador’s early crosses and strong overlapping plays could give any team a hard time. Let’s wait and see if La Tri can pull through and advance.
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