Qatar 0-2 Ecuador: 12-year World Cup wait ends in frustration for Qatar

Tactical disorganization and nervousness impeded the functioning of Qatar’s defensive system against Ecuador.


In the week of the start of the World Cup, off-field controversies marked the news of the FIFA World Cup before the opening whistle of the confrontation between Qatar and Ecuador, the opening game of the World Cup.

However, inside the pitch, there was a considerable expectation for us to finally experience that after more than four years of waiting for the World Cup to take place.

Thousands of Qatari fans showed their support for the local team inside and outside the stadium, with huge expectations in the streets of Doha for the opening of the World Cup. At the opening ceremony, fans showed pride in their country.

Regarding the football project, the opening whistle marked the most important moment of a consistent 12-year project in football, involving the strengthening of the local team and the game played within the country.

This preparation involved organizing the Qatar national team more like a football club, keeping some players from youth competitions that were played more than ten years ago.

In addition, participation in international continental competitions such as the Copa America and the Gold Cup, in addition to the unprecedented (and undefeated) title of the Asian Cup in 2019, increased expectations of the local public with the World Cup.

However, shortly after the opening whistle, the fan’s expectations turned into a huge disappointment. Ecuador, under the technical command of Gustavo Alfaro, were absolutely dominant from the first minute.

The tactical formation of 5-3-2 used by Qatar was quickly leaked, with the scoreboard being effectively opened in the 16th minute with Enner Valencia scoring the first official goal of the World Cup.

The score was defined in the first half, with Valencia again defining in favour of the Ecuadorians, this time counting on the accurate cross of Angelo Preciado.

In the first half, Ecuador absolutely controlled all 45 minutes of the match and prevented Qatar from threatening any real goal opportunity, winning the fight for the second ball and maintaining consistency in midfield.

In the second half, Ecuador adopted a more defensive style and handed possession of the ball to Qatar, who failed to turn this into goal opportunities.

The Ecuadorians lowered the intensity of the match and Qatar failed to respond with pressure, leaving an extremely slow second half without any entertainment for a World Cup debut.

But what really drew attention were some “events” about the opening match. First, Ecuador fans got a chance to protest against the ban on the sale of beers inside the stadium, a situation that will probably cause embarrassment for FIFA and the organizing committee in the next fixtures.

Ecuador fans chanted We want beer

Footage on social media also showed an Ecuadorian fan belting out a provocative chant for the Qatar national team, angering local team fans in the stands.

Finally, the crowd’s disappointment was fully evident when hundreds (and later thousands) of fans began to leave the stadium at half-time. In addition to the problems of the Qatar team, the lack of a metro station close to the stadium caused traffic jams in the surroundings.

Unfortunately for the Qatari fan, the most important moment of the 12-year football project in the host country started in an extremely disappointing way. Hard to believe in a short-term recovery for the duels against Senegal and Netherlands.

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