Al Khor, Qatar. The primary ever World Cup in Qatar led to disappointment for a superior group and left a spot in undesirable soccer historical past.
The controversial event opened on Sunday as Qatar misplaced 2-0 to Ecuador in entrance of 67,372 followers at Al Bayt Stadium.
In 92 years of soccer’s greatest occasion, the host group has by no means misplaced their first 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 world. His soccer group, enjoying at such a stage for the primary time because of the internet hosting of the event, couldn’t dwell to see the second when the captain of Ecuador, Enner Valencia, scored each targets within the first half.
The match got here after a colourful 30-minute opening ceremony that featured Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman and influencers together with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who promoted inclusiveness and humanity dwelling “beneath the identical tent.”
Many could not like this, provided that this World Cup is being held in an emirate the place gay acts are unlawful, which has come beneath fireplace for the best way migrant staff who construct stadiums and event infrastructure have been handled since Qatar gained a shrouded voting scandal in 2010. .
Years of scrutiny by no means stopped simply because a area sport lastly entered the narrative of a event stricken by human rights controversy, however a number nation victory would not less than solid Qatar in a good mild from a soccer standpoint.
As a substitute, the Qatari footballers, who had simply spent seven months collectively in a pre-tournament coaching camp beneath Spanish coach Felix Sanchez, froze in entrance of a ready crowd and a disciplined Ecuador squad that might pose a hazard to extra senior rivals as a result of subsequent few weeks.
Valencia thought he had scored within the third minute when he headed from shut vary after an acrobatic cross from Felix Torres. After a two-minute video evaluation, the Ecuadorians’ celebration was reduce quick when a objective was dominated out for a minor offside.
Nonetheless, Ecuador took the lead within the sixteenth minute when Valencia had been greatly surprised by Saad Alshibe after flanking the goalkeeper who had been cautioned for the problem. Valencia casually ran up and transformed the penalty into the underside nook.
The 33-year-old striker was second in thirty third place, heading Angelo Preciado’s proper flank.
With Qatar’s frequent fumbled passes and repeatedly uncovered defensive imperfections, Ecuador had no downside sustaining the lead as Sanchez stood helpless in his technical space and the house supporters fell silent.
There have been many empty seats within the second half, which was virtually a damage-limiting train for Qatar on one of many greatest nights within the nation’s historical past.
Leaders from the Center East and Africa attended.
Camels and Arabian horses lined up on the entrance to the stadium, which appears to be like like a Bedouin tent, situated within the fairly remoted outskirts of the agricultural city of Al Khor, north of Doha.
And the atmospheric seven-act opening ceremony paid off, culminating within the second Freeman prolonged his yellow-gloved hand to a World Cup ambassador affected by a uncommon spinal dysfunction in a picture representing inclusion in a rustic beneath worldwide criticism resulting from his entry within the area of human rights.
FIFA President Gianni Infantino, in addition to leaders from the Center East and Africa, watched from luxurious seats. The Emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, obtained thunderous applause in a brief speech delivered in Arabic from his retinue, with Infantino and the monarch’s father, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, on both facet of him.
“Greetings and good luck to everybody,” the emir stated in his solely phrases in English.
After this efficiency, Qatar will want extra than simply luck to keep away from becoming a member of South Africa as the one host nation to fail to qualify from the World Cup group stage.
The primary half was coming to an finish when a lot of the vocalists, wearing yellow Ecuadorian followers, started to chant: “We wish beer.” It was a playful intervention two days after Qatar determined to ban the sale of beer in stadiums in the course of the World Cup. This was a late change from a conservative Islamic nation the place entry to alcohol is severely restricted. Solely non-alcoholic Bud Zero was bought on the sport.
Qatar landed 5 pictures within the match and none of them hit the goal. The group had solely two touches within the opponent’s penalty space.
Qatar want to bounce again in opposition to Senegal in Group A on Friday, the identical day that Ecuador takes on the Netherlands.