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Qatar vs Ecuador odds and predictions: Who is the favorite in the World Cup opening game?

Who do the bookies think will win the first match of the tournament?

Joe Brennan
Qatar - Ecuador

Tomorrow marks the start of the greatest tournament in the world. In the Al Bayt stadium, Qatar will host Ecuador in the inaugural match of the World Cup in front of a crowd of 60,000 people and millions on television.

Match preview

Ecuador come into the World Cup without having set hearts racing and their previous match results have looked like a line of binary code (0-0, 0-0, 0-0, 1-0, 0-0, 1-0, 1-1); maybe they didn’t want to use up all of their goals before Qatar. What is true is that they are solid defensively, having only conceded just one goal in seven games.

Up front, despite Ibarra, Plata and Valencia looking on paper to be an electrifying front three, something is not clicking under Gustavo Alfaro and their failure to score goals might well be their downfall in a group that is by no means a foregone conclusion.

Qatar, on the other hand, come into the tournament as one of the best prepared teams of the whole list. They curtailed their club season early in order to have more than ample time to prepare the squad and as the current Asian champions playing on home turf, they will certainly not be low on confidence. Do we really know how good they are? Well, yes and no. Their manager, ex-Barcelona youth team coach, Félix Sánchez, plays in a possession-based 5-3-2: with talismans Akram Afif and Almoez Ali up front, they will definitely pose an attacking threat in some moments during the tournament.

If Qatar are to damage Ecuador, Akram Afif will be the man.
Full screen
If Qatar are to damage Ecuador, Akram Afif will be the man.Catherine Ivill - FIFAGetty

Match odds

Over at oddschecker, they have Ecuador down as favourites to win at 6/4 (150), will all the bookmakers fairly confident of a win for the South American side. In my opinion, this would be down to the lack of quality in the Qatari defence rather than the attacking threat posed by Ecuador, and I cannot see Ecuador giving up any easy goals. The draw is at around 2/1 (200) and a win for the controversial home nation is currently sitting at around 2/1 or 23/10 (230). Worth it? Personally, I can’t see a Qatar win, unless Ecuador break the mould they’ve set over recent (and not-so-recent) games and World Cup fever gets to their heads. You never know.

Match prediction

I am going for a narrow 0-1 Ecuador win. If that sort of prediction doesn’t get your heart racing, then I don’t know what will!

Group A fixtures

20 November: Al Bayt Stadium: Qatar-Ecuador 11:00 am ET / 08:00 am PT

21 November: Al Thumama Stadium: Senegal-Netherlands 11:00 am ET / 08:00 am PT

25 November: Al Thumama Stadium: Qatar-Senegal 08:00 am ET / 05:00 am PT

25 November: Khalifa International Stadium: Netherlands-Ecuador 11:00 am ET / 08:00 am PT

29 November: Khalifa International Stadium: Ecuador-Senegal 10:00 am ET / 07:00 am PT

29 November: Al Bayt Stadium: Netherlands-Qatar 10:00 am ET / 07:00 am PT


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