Qatar vs Ecuador, opening game summary: Valencia goals, score, goals, highlights, Qatar World Cup 2022
Qatar vs Ecuador live online: Qatar World Cup 2022 opening game!
World Cup 2022 Group A schedule
A little reminder of what's next for these two in Group A.
Qatar take on Senegal, while Ecuador face the Netherlands. Both games on Friday, 25 November.
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."
Valencia wins Budweiser man-of-the-match
Well, this is ironic after recent events. I don't know if Enner is going to get any real Budweiser as a reward but if he does, I hope he's going to drink it in the hospitality suites and not in the vicinity of the stadium.
Alfraro: This is just the beginning for us
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.”
Alfaro: We were clear winners
Ecuador boss Gustavo Alfaro has unsurprisingly spoken of his happiness at his team's display after the game:
"“I have to give the team credit for their attitude, their commitment, the way they played, the way they went for it.Especially after we suffered a setback at the start of the game with the goal that was disallowed for offside. We kept going after that. I think we were really clear winners, we won convincingly. I hope it’s the start of something big.”
Enner Valencia joins Zidane and Hurst on five World Cup goals
Esteemed company for Enner Valencia, who now has as many World Cup goals as Zinedine Zidane and Geoff Hurst.
Most of theirs came in finals though. Valencia couldn't get that far, could he?
Enner Valencia: man of the match
Goalscorers change games, as they say. There wasn't much in the way of attacking flair in the game but Enner Valencia provided most of it. His darting run led to the penalty and his incredible leap made the second goal possible. That's man-of-the-match stuff.
Qatar become first hosts to lose the opening World Cup match
The good news just keeps on coming for Qatar, doesn't it?
And you really can't see them avoiding defeat to Senegal and the Netherlands unless they seriously improve. Could they end up being the worst hosts ever?
More stats in from the BBC.
There were 11 shots on goal in this game, the lowest in any World Cup game since 1966.
I didn't think it was that bad although it did peter out a bit in the second half.
Valencia the World Cup mastero
Enner Valencia played for West Ham United and Everton across three Premier League seasons, scoring 11 times in 72 appearances.
This World Cup lark is easy, isn't it?
Three touches in the Ecuador box for Qatar
Stats just in. Qatar had only three touches in the Ecuador box across 90 (really 100) minutes. That's not great...
Two Enner Valencia goals give Ecuador a comfortable win over Qatar in Qatar 2022 World Cup opening game
I'll repeat what I said at half-time. That was as easy as you like for Ecuador.
- Enner Valencia had a second-minute goal ruled out for offside against teammate Michael Estrada.
- Valencia brought down in the box by Qatar goalkeeper Saad Al-Sheeb and converted from the spot after 15 minutes.
- A superb header gave Valencia his second goal just after the half-hour mark.
- Ecuador in total control throughout the game and some quick transitions caused Qatar problems, although La Trididn't create a huge number of chances.
- Qatar offered next to no attacking threat, with Ecuador goalkeeper Hernán Galíndez a virtual spectator throughout the 90 minutes.
- Valencia forced off with an injury in second half, five days before their second match of the World Cup against the Netherlands.
Maybe they should've done! Rodríguez got his head on it but was off balance and skewed it wide.
A late corner for Ecuador. Could they add a third?
Empty seats update. There are LOTS of them.
Five additional minutes to be played.
Can Qatar find a way back into this? I suspect not...
That's the first time I can remember Ecuador goalkeeper Hernán Galíndez touching the ball with his hands...Surely he did earlier?
Close for Qatar!
Sub Muntari latches onto a straight ball over the top and his powerful strike nestles on top of the net.
That would've set up a grandstand finish, out of nowhere!
Estrada should've had the chance to grab a third goal there. He was in acres of space as he raced through on goal but Sarmiento's pass was too heavy and forced him too wide.
Enner Valencia iced up after injury
Goalscorer Enner Valencia is sitting on the Ecuador bench with an ice pack. Let's hope he'll be OK for the Netherlands game on Friday.
A lovely piece of skill from Méndez as he flicks the ball away from Waad, who clouts him round the mouth in frustration. No card though.
A nice little through ball from Cifuentes almost has Plata in for a third but the pass is just too heavy and it runs through to Al-Sheeb, who gets clattered by the Ecuador forward.
Sarmiento's blushes are spared by the offisde flag! Estupiñán's cutback lands at the feet of the Brighton man, who lifts the ball over the bar when he should've done better. Although it wouldn't have counted anyway.
Afif is booked for quite a nasty studs-up trod on Plata. You've seen reds given for that in recent years.
Enner Valencia going off through injury?
Enner Valencia is replaced by José Cifuentes, a defensive change. But Valencia didn't look to be moving very freely, Ecuador will hope it's nothing major.
Not too much going on at the moment. Ecuador seem to be happy with a 2-0. Qatar have absolutely zero threat.
First switch for Qatar
Attacker Mohammed Muntari replaces Hasan Al-Haydos.
Empty seats at opening game
What's this? Empty seats at the opening game of the World Cup?
It's almost as if FIFA didn't think it through properly...
First substitution of the World Cup
Jeremy Sarmiento of Brighton comes on for Ibarra. A straight switch.
No beer, no problem?
"We want beer, we want beer," chant the Ecuador fans.
The non-alcoholic stuff near the ground not doing it for you, lads and lasses?
Preciados is back on, by the way. It looks as if he'll be OK to keep going.
An effort on goal for Qatar! Hassan hoists a high ball into the Ecuador box and Pedro Miguel gets a run on if but can't get his header on target.
Preciado is next to go down for Ecuador. The right-back slid into block the ball and looks as if he might've overstretched something.
I cannot emphasise how unlikely it looks that Qatar will get back into this game at the moment. There's nothing at all from them going forward.
Jhegson Méndez goes in the book for a high challenge on Afif.
For all the pressure Qatar have been under, I think that's the first save Al-Sheeb's made. Ibarra is played through on the left, cuts inside and is denied by a decent stop from the Qatari goalkeeper.
A dangerous ball into the box from Plata looks as if it's going to tee up Estrada for a shot at goal but it falls just between the Cruz Azul attacker and Enner Valencia.
To say that was ambitious from Ángelo Preciados there would be something of an understatement. The Ecuador right-back had men in the box but decided to shoot from a ridiculous angle from a ridiculous distance. Wild.
No changes from either side for the second half. You'd imagine Qatar boss Félix Sánchez might shake things up soon if there's no improvement.
Valencia very nearly turned provider there for Gonzalo Plata. The Valladolid winger would have been clear through but a Qatari leg managed to divert the ball away.
He's got a chance to add one or two more here as Valencia has reappeared for the second half.
Off we go!
Enner Valencia: The man for the big occasion
That's some record from our boy Enner Valencia. How long can he keep this run going?
Valencia could become the first player to score a hat-trick in the 'opening game'
Something to look out for in the second half. Enner Valencia could become the first player to score a hat-trick in an opening World Cup game.
Three players (Italy's Angelo Schiavio in 1934, Brazil's Leonidas in 1938 and France's Just Fontaine in 1958) all scored three times in their team's opening games but the first set of matches were played at the same time in those tournaments.
Thanks to my colleague William Allen for that one.
Enner Valencia - a third of the way to the Golden Boot?
We might as well just give him the trophy now. As long as he shakes off that knock he took, I can see him adding to his tally in the second half.
HT Qatar 0-2 Ecuador: Qatar 2022 World Cup opening game
As easy as you like for Ecuador so far.
- Enner Valencia scores twice, once from the penalty spot, as Ecuador cruise into a 2-0 half-time lead.
- Valencia had a goal disallowed in the second minute for a tight offside call on teammate Michael Estrada
- Qatar goalkeeper Saad Al-Sheeb has looked nervy so far, dropping a cross before the disallowed goal and bringing Valencia down for the penalty
- The hosts have really struggled to keep the ball for anything great length of time. Their only chance came in the first last move of the first half, as Ali headed wide.
- Ecuador haven't tested Al-Sheeb very often but are in total control, with goalkeeper Hernán Galíndez a virtual spectator.
Huge chance for Qatar!
What a chance for Qatar to get a goal back! Al Haydos whips a lovely ball into the box and Ali just can't quite stretch his neck muscles enough to direct it on target. The last touch of the half.
The stoppage for the injury to Valencia has allowed Qatar to settle down a bit and get some much-needed possession. They're not going anywhere so far, though.
Five minutes to be added on at the end of the first half.
No stopping Enner Valencia
Scratch that, Enner Valencia is back on! There's no stopping this man.
Worst performance by a host nation at the World Cup?
Qatar are really struggling out there at the moment, with Ecuador well in control. The hosts are ranked 50th in the world, with Ecuador at 44th, but the gulf in quality between the teams looks a lot more than six ranking places. Possibly Qatar just need time to warm up, but from this point it looks likely they’ll be losing this match. They will then go on to play the Netherlands and Senegal.
Qatar may come good in those games, but if they don’t, they run the risk of becoming the worst ever performing World Cup host. The current holder of that unenviable title is South Africa - they are the only host to fail to qualify for the knock-out stage, although they were extremely unlucky.
They drew their opening match against Mexico 1-1, were soundly beaten by Uruguay 0-3 and beat France (who had utterly fallen to pieces) in their final game 2-1. They finished third, level on four points with Mexico but went out on goal difference, with Uruguay winning the group.
On today’s performance Qatar look like they may struggle to even pick up a World Cup group stage point…
No stretcher required in the end but Valencia is limping heavily. Will Ecuador play with 10 until half-time, I wonder?
Valencia has been the main protagonist in this first half but he might have to go off here. He's getting treatment on the field but they've called for the stretcher...
It looked as if Afif was about to have a rare chance to make his way into the Ecuador box there but no, Torres shut the door quickly.
A vital, last-ditch challenge there from Al-Rawi as Valencia threatened to get in behind.
Anohter Estupiñán free-kick comes into the box, Al-Sheeb will be delighted to catch that one under absolutely no pressure. He's had a tough 37 minutes.
Boudiaf goes in the book for crunching Caicedo in midfield. That looked a sore one.
Ecuador hadn't scored more than one goal in a game in over a year, when they beaten Chile 2-0. They played 11 games in that time. They look like they could get a few more here...
2-0 Ecuador! Valencia gets his second!
Ecuador are in cruise control.
Caicedo breaks forward into the right channel and lays the ball back for Preciado, whose cross is superbly headed into the bottom corner by Enner Valencia. What a leap!
A few whistles from the home crowd as star man Afif sticks the ball out of play under no pressure. Oh dear.
For all their dominance, Ecuador haven't created many chances to score but that was a decent sight of goal for Gonzalo Ibarra. However, he slashes well wide from the edge of the box.
Boudiaf asking for his teammates to up the ante a bit here. They've been well off the pace so far.
Qatar right wing-back Pedro Miguel launches the ball upfield and it runs through to Ecuador keeper Galíndez with no Qatar player in sight. That sums up the hosts at the moment.
Continuing with that theme...Estupiñán races to the goal line and crosses for Ibarra, who gets absolutely clattered by Al-Sheeb as he heads over the bar.
The ref isn't interested in anything other than a goal kick, though.
There was a yellow card for Al-Sheeb in there too for bringing Valencia down. Not a good start for the Qatar keeper.
1-0 Ecuador (this time)! Enner Valencia
He was denied earlier but not this time. Enner Valencia scores the first goal of the 2022 World Cup. Cool as you like.
Penalty for Ecuador!
Al-Sheeb brings down Valencia and that's a penalty! Clear as day.
Offside was actually called against Michael Estrada and not Enner Valencia. Estrada had challenged for the ball after Al-Sheeb's cock-up. That does actually look to be fair enough.
Ecuador have taken total control of this in the last few minutes. Qatar have barely had a tough.
The word coming through is that there was an offside called because Valencia was in front of Al-Sheeb and only one other player was behind him. Looked ridiculously tight to me...
Another free-kick in a dangerous position for Ecuador. Estupiñan's delivery is dealt with more comfortably this time though.
Oh. Guess what? We're having a VAR check on Valencia's goal...
1-0 Ecuador! Enner Valencia!
What. A. Start.
And what a mess from Qatar keeper Al Sheeb, who comes for a free-kick into the box, totally misses it and gets punished. Félix Torres clips a bouncing ball to the back post and Valencia is there to nod it in.
I didn't see that coming. Straight from kickoff, Qatar pump a long ball into the Ecuador box that has their defence scrambling. They just about manage to get it away!
After four-and-a-half years, we have World Cup soccer!
Qatar 2022 World Cup: we have kick-off
This. Is. It.
Italy's Daniele Orsato, by the way, will referee the opening game. He's the lowdown on him from Joe.
And, of course, VAR will be here to help him (hopefully).
Did you see Hollywood legend Morgan Freeman in the opening ceremony?
As his narration continued, and we listened intently to the message that feels very much aligned to any question marks over sports washing here, we noticed that his left hand, gloved, was getting a lot of attention. Cal explains...
The coin toss is literally just seconds away. Ever wondered what captains can choose if they win?
Of course you have.
As they've never been at a World Cup before, I must confess that I'd never heard the Qatari national anthem before. Quite a jaunty number.
Bet that word's not been used to describe Qatar in the build-up to the tournament.
Ecuador: pride of a nation
The Ecuador lads are fairly belting out this anthem. A superb effort.
National anthem time
The teams have emerged from the tunnel...time for the national anthems!
Ecuador first up.
Infantino speaks: Football unites the world
FIFA President Gianni Infantino (remember him?) is speaking ahead of kickoff.
"Welcome to celebrate football because football unites the world."
Nothing too controversial there at least.
Qatar 2022 World Cup: minutes away
A huge World Cup trophy on the centre circle right now and a spectacular fire show has just come to an end.
Let's hope for some fireworks out on the pitch too.
10 minutes to kickoff!
Perhaps not the World Cup everyone wanted but the one we've got.
It's almost time!
A quick bit of reading for you before kickoff.
We've had a look at the key figures for Qatar and Ecuador, here are some of the others from Group A, including Senegal and the Netherlands' finest.
Check out our World Cup special, with the lowdown on every team in the tournament.
Ecuador's key player: Moises Caicedo
Caicedo didn't immediately impress after joining Brighton in the Premier League, spending some time out on loan in Belgium. But regular game-time in the English top flight has taken his game on leaps and bounds. Keep an eye out for him at both ends of the field, he's got a great engine to help out in both defence and in attack.
Ecuador fans in fine voice
A decent backing for Ecuador at the Al-Bayt Stadium by the looks of things!
Seven new grounds for the 2022 World Cup, which will add extra novelty value (in case we needed some more). And all eight stadiums are within about an hour's drive of one another.
Here's the full 26-man roster for Ecuador.
Manager Gustavo Alfaro will be delighted to be able to call upon key figures such as Enner Valencia of Fenerbahçe and Brighton duo Moises Caiceido and Pervis Estupiñan today, who were unable to feature in Ecuador's last warm-up game against Iraq in Madrid.
Qatar starting XI
Qatar have also just announced their starting XI!
Al Sheeb; Al-Rawi, Khoukhi, Al Haj Fadlalla; Pedro Miguel, Boudiaf, Mohammed Abdullah, Ahmed; Al Haydos, Abdulla, Afif.
Looks like a 3-4-3 for the hosts.
Ecuador starting XI
Here's the Ecuador line-up for the opening game!
Galindez; Preciado, Torres, Hincapié, Estupiñán; Plata, Mendez, Caicedo, Ibarra; Valencia, Estrada.
A 4-4-2 on paper.
Qatar "ready and raring to go"
The Qatar boys are looking relaxed and ready! Imagine being about to play in your first ever game in the World Cup. Wow.
Ecuador: World Cup record
As for Ecuador, their World Cup story is a recent one.
This is the fourth World Cup Ecuador have qualified for, all since 2002. They have made it through to the knockout stages once, in 2006, when they lost to England in the round of 16. Will they fancy their chances of repeating that feat this time around?
Things didn't look great for La Tri when Jordi Cruyff was appointed of manager in January 2020 then left in July that year having not taken charge of a single game after leadership changes in the Ecuadorian Football Federation. But in came former Boca Juniors boss Gustavo Alfaro to steady the ship and set Ecuador on the road to qualification.
La Tri finished in fourth spot in South American qualifying, beating the likes of Colombia and Chile to a place in the World Cup. And it's their recent defensive record which really stands out. Since the end of World Cup qualifying, they have played six games without conceding a goal, although they have only scored twice themselves in that run, one goal against Nigeria and another to beat Cape Verde.
Joe Lycett shreds £10k ($11.8k) after Beckham ultimatum
Before we get on to Ecuador, let's get back to some controversy.
British comedian and TV presented Joe Lycett has shredded £10k ($11.8k) because of David Beckham...
Lycett had called on Beckham to cancel his contractwith the Qatar World Cup organisers in a protest against the anti-LGBT+ stance in the country. Lycett had said that ifthe Inter Miami owner stepped away from the World Cup project, he would give £10k ($11.8k) to LGBT+ football charities but that he would shred the money publicly before the opening ceremony if Beckham didn't.
Make of that what you will.
Akram Afif: Qatar's star player
Qatar's star man is expected to be attacker Akram Afif, who plays for Al-Saad, as do 12 (yes, TWELVE) other players on the roster. Afif, who has been on the books of Villarreal and Sporting Lisbon, is just 26 but has already played89 times for his country, scoring 26 goals.
He'll likely drift into central areas from wide and has the ability to conjure up a bit of magic in the final third.
2022 World Cup opening ceremony getting underway!
As I mentioned a little earlier, the World Cup opening ceremony is taking place...right now!Head over here to Reem, who'll keep you entertained with details of that suspended whale shark and lots more (just no Shakira, Dua Lipa or Rod Stewart...).
Recent success for Qatar national team
And the Qatari soccer system. starting at the Aspire Academy, has certainly paid dividends.
Qatar came closer than ever to qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and then went on to win the Asian Cup for the first time in their history in 2019, beating the likes of South Korea and Japan along the way. They were even invited to participate in the Copa América that same year, where they picked up one point from three matches, losing narrowly to Colombia and Argentina.
To summarise, they have a generation of players who have been well-managed and well coached. Now it's time for them to show it on the global stage.
Qatar's World Cup record
I know what you're thinking...what World Cup record? This will be Qatar's first ever appearance in the world's biggest sporting event.
Qatar were named as hosts of the 2022 World Cup (in allegedly dubious circumstances) in December 2010 and have basically spent the last 12 years preparing for it. Head coach Félix Sánchez, a Spaniard who has close ties with Barcelona boss Xavi Hernández, has been based in Qatar since 2006, starting out at the Aspire Academy, whose goal is to scout and develop Qatari athletes, while giving them secondary school education.
Sánchez moved from there to the Qatari U17s, to the U23 and then onto the senior team in 2017, taking a number of players with him along the way. Unless you're into watching the Qatar Stars League, the national team are likely to be something of an unknown quantity, with all 26 players on the roster representing domestic clubs.
2022 World Cup Group A schedule
Our wonderful friends over at Sofascore have put together this handy infographic so that you can easily follow the goings-on in Group A.
Who's going through out of these four? My money (literally) is on the Netherlands and maybe Ecuador, given that Senegal will have to cope with star man Sadio Mané, who misses the tournament due to injury.
"What about Qatar?" I hear you say. Could they be the 2022 World Cup's surprise package?
More on them coming right up.
Qatar vs Ecuador : World Cup Group A, kick-off at 11am ET
Time to focus some more on today's game between hosts Qatar and Ecuador, which gets underway at Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor at 11am ET.
As hosts, Qatar were technically not (I don't think) drawn out of the hat at the draw and immediately put into Group A as the seeded team. They'll battle it out with today's opponents Ecuador, Senegal and Netherlands (who I've got in the AS sweepstake, come on Oranje) to clinch a place in the knockout stages.
There's still a bit of time before we get underway in Al Khor this afternoon, so why not have a peek at this? AS USA's 2022 World Cup special.
Fixtures, dates, times and group stage schedule, along with a profile of every team, their star player and coach.
I'll test you on it after today's game so get studying!
Qatar 2022 World Cup – the most controversial World Cup in recent memory
It won’t have escaped your notice that FIFA have come under fierce criticism for awarding the 2022 World Cup to Qatar. Allegations of corruption during the voting process, the nation’s human rights record, discrimination against women and minority groups, suppression of dissent, persecution of LGBTQ people and mistreatment of migrant workers are among a number of issues that have been highlighted by protestors against Qatar’s suitability as World Cup host. Let’s hope soccer can be a driver of change in those areas.
And on a much, much lesser note, the moving of the tournament to November and December due to the excruciatingly high temperatures in ‘normal’ World Cup months, causing a complete redesign of the football calendar in many countries for 2022-23.
Qatar vs Ecuador takes centre stage and is the only game being played today. But…you’re in for a proper feast of football from tomorrow on. Four matches per day in the group stages, while there are only seven days with no World Cup football on between now and the final on Sunday, 18 December.
My colleague Paul Reidy has put this together, which shows you the full schedule for the duration of the tournament.
2022 World Cup opening ceremony – suspended whale shark included!
Before Qatar vs Ecuador gets underway there is the small matter of an opening ceremony, which will be getting underway in a matter of minutes, to get through.
And yes, you read that right, a whale shark will be suspended in the air as part of it. If that doesn’t temp you into following it, then I don’t know what will.
My esteemed colleague Reem Abdalazem is bringing you live coverage of the ceremonyright here, so head over to see what she’s got to say about it!
Before we get going, if you’re looking for a place where you can watch the game, then look no further! Here’s a little something I put together earlier with all the info you need.
Just make sure you keep this page open too….
Qatar vs Ecuador: Qatar World Cup 2022 opening game
The hosts, World Cup debutants in this case, have had the honour of playing the opening game since the tournament in Germany in 2006. I personally liked it better when the holders played first but what do I know?
Qatar vs Ecuador up first in 2022 then. The game will be played at the brand spanking new Al-Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, with kickoff at 7pm local time, that’s 11am ET. Just under two hours to go!
Welcome…to the Qatar World Cup 2022!
Hello and welcome! Thanks for joining me (Roddy) for live coverage of the opening game of the 2022 World Cup! Qatar vs Ecuador here we go - the curtain is up!
They’ve made us wait five months longer than usual but it’s finally here. It’ll be worth the wait, right? Even if it’s going to be a little weird at this time of year…