Hosts Qatar played the opening game of the 2022 FIFA World Cup as they faced off against Ecuador.
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Former West Ham striker Enner Valencia put the ball in the net just three minutes into the game. The South American side looked good, continuing to pressure and attacking from the start of the match.
Looking at the offside rule as Qatar’s keeper rushed out, I finally saw what VAR was supposed to do. For me it’s simple: It means that the ball is being played from a player that is even with the two last defenders and in front of the goal decision maker.
13 minutes later, Valencia scored again, this time from the spot after being brought down by Saad Abdullah Al Sheeb.
Ecuador continued to dominate and deservedly doubled their lead in the 31st minute. Enner Valencia scored again, this time with a header into the bottom corner after a beautiful cross by Angelo Preciado.
Despite a furious effort from Qatar, including an incredible effort from Akrim Afif which sailed just over the crossbar. Ecuador held on to their two-goal lead without coming out of first gear for the second 45-minutes.
Final Score : Qatar vs Ecuador 0-2
Qatar boss Félix Sánchez: The occasion got to us
Qatar boss Félix Sánchez reckons his team never recovered after a bad start to the game:
“We didn’t start the way we wanted to. I think the occasion got to us a bit at the start and that set the tone for the rest of the game. We lacked confidence, we conceded goals very early on and we really struggled to get into the game against a team that played really well. They were better than us in every area.”
Ecuador boss Alfaro also stated the importance of getting the World Cup campaign off to a good start:
“It was the most important game of the World Cup for us. Not only were we kicking off the tournament against the host nation, we had to fight against history, which sometimes works in your favour or sometimes goes against you, depending on certain things. But this group of players is above that. They’re really committed, which is what allowed us to win this game.”
“But this is just the beginning for us. We need to show that we’re capable of doing it again in the upcoming matches.”
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