World Cup 2022: Ecuador vs Qatar, everything you need to know
The first match of the 2022 World Cup is upon us as Ecuador take on hosts Qatar in Group A on Sunday. Find out all the information about the game and teams.
The first match of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar takes place this Sunday, November 20 when Ecuador take on hosts Qatar in Group A at Al Bayt Stadium. As hosts, Qatar automatically qualified for the tournament, and this will be the first time they have competed on the big stage in nation history. Ecuador will make their return to the World Cup for the first time since 2014.
Follow along with our live buildup to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Qatar in the World Cup
This World Cup has been tainted by controversy since Qatar were awarded to host the tournament. But Qatar manager Felix Sanchez Bas will now focus on playing well in the tournament for the first time ever. Ranked 50th, Qatar will try to make it out of Group A, where they will play Ecuador, Senegal, and the Netherlands. They have won all four of their warmup friendlies since October. If Qatar manages to beat Ecuador on Sunday, they would become the first World Cup debutants to win the opening match since Senegal beat France in 2002.
Qatar national team
Qatar attacker Ahmed Alaaeldin left the field last week with an injury in their final friendly against Albania, but he is expected to be ready for Sunday. Even still, it’s likely that Akram Afif will come in to form a two-man attacking line with star striker Almoez Ali. If Ali can get his 43rd international goal, he will become Qatar’s highest scorer of all time.
Qatar possible starting lineup
Ecuador in the World Cup
Ecuador had its own share of controversy coming into this World Cup, with allegations that Qatar bribed Ecuadorian players ahead of their opening game. Ecuador was facing possible expulsion from the tournament, but nothing ended up coming from it.
Ecuador has played in three World Cups (2002, 2006, and 2014), but have only made it past the group stage once. There is some expectation that they could be a dark horse at this World Cup. They will surely be anxious to move past the controversy and prove themselves on the big stage.
Ecuador national team
Like Qatar, Ecuador also saw one player leave with an injury in their final friendly, but Byron Castillo ended up being left off of the final 26-man roster due to more controversy. He was accused by the Chilean Football Federation of using forged documents to play for Ecuador, claiming they had proof that he was actually born in Colombia. To avoid any problems, he was left off the squad. That leaves either Angelo Preciado or Robert Arboleda to likely fill in the right-back spot, although Arboleda will just be coming off of an ankle fracture. Their all-time leading scorer Enner Valencia will surely be leading the troops.