Sunday, November 20@7pm
Qatar v Ecuador
Hosts Qatar take on Ecuador in the opening match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, football’s global showpiece in which 32 nations will be vying for the prestigious trophy over the next three weeks.
All is set for the grand stage at the Al Bayt stadium where the first game of this World Cup tournament will be played after a widely-anticipated opening ceremony.
Being the first Middle East nation to host the World Cup, Qatar has spent heavily on preparations; both infrastructure and team building.
So, in the game against Ecuador, the host nation will be look to upset their highly-regarded South American opponents.
On paper, Ecuador, ranked number 44th by FIFA, are a better footballing nation compared to Qatar, ranked at 50 in the world. However, in football, as they say, anything on the pitch can happen.
Since they were named hosts (in 2010), Qatar did not go through the grueling qualifiers to make it to the Finals as did their Group A opponents Senegal, The Netherlands and Ecuador.
The Qatari team has, however, improved over the last 12 years leading to this World Cup. For instance, they hired Spaniard Felix Sanchez as the head coach in 2017 and he led them to the AFC Asian Cup in 2019.
Speaking at the pre-match media conference, Sanchez hinted that his team will fight to defy odds by getting out the group.
On the other hand, Ecuador present the real opposition not only against Qatar but also to the Senegal and Netherlands, the two nations tipped to win the group.
For Ugandan football fans, Ecuador has three familiar faces in their squad that includes Pervis Estupinan, Jeremy Sarmiento and Moises Caicedo, who ply their in the English Premier League with Brighton.