The FIFA World Cup 2022 started with a bang after the opening ceremony with Morgan Freeman and Jeon Jungkook of BTS as stars of the night. The tournament saw its inaugural match in the Al Bayt stadium in Al Khor, where the hosts Qatar faced Ecuador. It ended with the South Americans leading Group-A with 3 points in their bag.
The hosting side, Qatar, had been completely shut down by the opposing Ecuador team, who kept more than 80% of the ball possession in the first half of the match. The South-American side had completely dominated the match, especially in the first half, leading them to an incredible victory.
This led to the first broken record of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Qatar became the first hosting nation to lose their inaugural match.
Enner Valencia’s brace helps Ecuador triumph
The star player of the match was obviously none other than the Ecuador captain Enner Valencia, who pierced the Qatari defense not once, not twice, but thrice in the entire 90+ minutes of drama that unfolded this Sunday, in which the Equador side dictated the tempo of the game.
The 33-year-old captain became the first and second goalscorer of the 2022 FIFA World Cup on the same night.
He would have had a hat trick to his name if it wasn’t for the VAR-announced offside ruling. Nevertheless, he netted the ball on three occasions while scoring on two.
The Qatari side had a very intense and violent game play, with almost four players on their bank getting yellow bookings from the referee but could not pose any real threat. This very violent nature of their play cost them one of their goals, as the goalkeeper, Al Sheeb, received a yellow and Valencia was provided with a well-deserved penalty, which he definitely scored. The second net came not too long after, by Valencia himself with a header.
The frustration of conceding thrice in the first half of their opening match had definitely gotten on their nerves. It saw them drawing foul after foul on the other team, especially on Valencia, who instinctively predicted a knee injury after being the victim of harsh Qatari play and called in for substitution for himself before 90 minutes. Even though Qatar improved its strategy in the second half, it was too late to recover, and it faced a depressing defeat that crushed its hopes.
The next match to look forward to for hungry football fans is tomorrow, where Harry Kane’s England is set to face the first-time World Cup players, Iran.