The 2022 World Cup opened with the Qatar-Ecuador match. The host team lost the opening match of the World Cup for the first time. Ecuador won the 90-minute duel 2-0 with a brace by Enner Valencia.
Tricolor started the match convincingly. Gustavo Alfaro’s team spent most of the time in the opponent’s half and did not allow Qatar to get forward freely. High pressing yielded result at the start of the match. Already in the 3rd minute, Ecuador went ahead with a goal by Valencia, but the main referee, Daniele Orsato, canceled the goal due to offside through VAR.
Ecuador took the lead in the 16th minute. The same Valencia turned the penalty into a goal. At the age of 33 years and 16 days, Enner Valencia became the oldest player to score the first goal of the tournament. He improved the result of Alessandro Altobelli (30 years and 184 days), which was set by the forward in 1986 against Bulgaria as the reigning world champion. Besides, in the history of the World Cups, this was the first goal that was scored through penalty kick.
Ecuador still was not changing their style of play, the high defensive block allowed the whole team to play high. Qatar could not oppose the aggressive playing style of Alfaro’s team. The 4th team of South American qualifiers scored the second goal soon after. Enner Valencia used Angelo Preciado’s pass and scored a brace.
In the history of the World Cups, Fenerbahçe forward became the second player to score a brace in the first half of the opening match. Italian Angelo Schiavio did it for the first time in 1934 in the match against the USA, which Italy won 7-1. In addition, 5 of the last 5 goals of Ecuador at the World Cup have been scored by the captain.
Nothing much changed in the second half. Qatar tried to control the ball more, but Ecuador did not give the opponent the opportunity to create something tangible. The national team of the Arab country had several half-moments, but that was it. Qatar did not even have a shot on goal in the match. Overall, the teams had a total of 11 attempts, which is the lowest number in the opening match of the tournament since the opening match of the 1966 World Cup. Also, Felix Sanchez’s team became the first host to lose the opening match.
In the end, Ecuador won convincingly and will now wait for the second match of Group A, in which Senegal and the Netherlands will face each other. The match will start at 20:00 and if any team does not win by two goals or more, Ecuador will take the first place in the group after the first round.
The second day of the World Cup will be opened with the match of Group B. England will face Iran at 17:00.