Tournament Hosts, Qatar kick off 2022 FIFA World Cup against Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor.
As the opening match of Group A, victory will see either Qatar or Ecuador move top of the group ahead of Senegal’s clash against Netherlands 24 hours later.
Qatar have no fresh injury concerns to report as captain, Hassan Al-Haydos prepares to lead his nation out for their maiden World Cup match.
Ecuador could be without Jeremy Sarmiento as the Brighton winger continues to manage a muscle injury, which has limited his involvement in recent weeks.
Carlos Gruezo (thigh) is also doubtful for this match.
- This is Qatar’s first-ever competitive meeting against Ecuador, although they have won just one of three previous meetings in international friendlies (W1, D1, L1).
- Ecuador are unbeaten in two of three previous visits to Qatar, which all came in their three previous friendlies (W1, D1, L1).
- Both teams have scored in all three previous meetings, in which Qatar and Ecuador both scored six goals apiece.
- None of the 20 single-host countries have lost their opening match at a World Cup (W15, D5) – 2002 tournament was hosted jointly by Japan and South Korea.
- Ecuador have lost just one of their last 14 matches in all competitions (W5, D8, L1).
As the host nation, Qatar will be high on adrenaline coming into this match and boast a decent attack with Al-Haydos and Almoez Ali who are both in form, so I expect them to come out and look to attack this match because Senegal and Netherlands won’t be easy opposition in their next two games.
Ecuador though are a primarily defensive team and will be eying a scrap with Senegal and Netherlands for the qualifcation spots, but will likely face a difficult atmosphere in front of the home crowds plus boast a quality striker in Enner Valencia who could cause issues up front if he gets service.
Qatar though have lost just three matches in 2022 so this won’t be an easy game by any stretch but I am going for an Ecuadorian win, despite no host country previously losing their opening game.
Prediction: Qatar 0-1 Ecuador