The 2022 World Cup finals in Qatar kicked off on Sunday evening with the host nation taking on South American side Ecuador at Al Bayt.
It was supposed to be a tough game, with home team Qatar preparing for the match and the tournament for months.
The Qataris have a reputation of playing good and passing football, and given that they were the home team, they were expected to at least pick up a point from the encounter.
However, it was Ecuador who won the opening game at the Qatar World Cup 2-0 with ease.
Enner Valencia scored both the goals for the South American side.
The former West Ham United forward scored in the 16th minute from the penalty spot.
Qatar goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb brought Valencia down in the box, and the 33-year-old himself stepped up and successfully converted the spot kick.
It was Valencia who scored Ecuador’s second goal on 31 minutes when he powered in a header.
Valencia had actually scored in the opening minutes of the match with a header from close range, but the goal was ruled out for offside by the video assistant referee.
The forward is now rated at 20/1 to finish as the top scorer at the World Cup and win the FIFA Golden Boot.
This is what we learned from the match:
Qatar fans not passionate
While there was clearly a zeal for the game during the opening ceremony and in the first half of the match, Qatar fans deserted their team by the start of the second period. The stadium had plenty of empty seats by the hour mark. Qatar were 2-0 down to Ecuador at half time, and the fans clearly thought that the team were not going to make a comeback. This was Qatar’s first ever match at a World Cup, and the way the home team’s fans left the stadium with more than 30 minutes left on the clock just about sums up the passion they really have for the game. None.
Ecuador could be dangerous
Yes, it was only Qatar, but the way Ecuador played and won the opening game at the 2022 World Cup was brilliant, and it has sent a clear message to the rest of the teams in the group.
The South American team were efficient, physical, solid, strong and good on the eye.
Netherlands are the clear favourites in Group A, but Ecuador showed against Qatar that they can beat Senegal to the runners-up spot.
Qatar should be fearful against Senegal and the Netherlands
The Netherlands have some of the best players in the world, and Senegal are Africa’s best team. If Qatar could not even score against Ecuador, what chance have they got against the Dutch and the Senegalese? Based on their performance against Ecuador on Sunday, there is a very good chance that they could end up conceding five or six more goals in the group stage and drop out without scoring.
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