QAT
Qatar
0
FT
2
ECU
Ecuador
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Qatar vs. Ecuador final score: 2022 FIFA World Cup opening game sees Enner Valencia shine, Tricolor dominate

World Cup hosts Qatar were humbled by Ecuador on Sunday in the tournament opener as an Enner Valencia brace lifted Gustavo Alfaro's squad to a deserved 2-0 victory. The win sees the South Americans lead Group A with three points (complete standings) while the hosts are in big trouble with Senegal and Netherlands to come (complete schedule). 

The match began with controversy with Ecuador finding the back of the net on a wild little sequence in the box, but VAR shockingly called an offside that seemed very harsh, yet it was backed up by the recently introduced automated offside technology.

But just 10 minutes later, Ecuador would finally get their opener on a well-deserved penalty kick. Valencia was taken down in the box and cooly finished the spot kick for the 1-0 lead. He would add his second before the break with a brilliant, powerful header to the bottom left corner of the goal to all but wrap up the win. 

Qatar, meanwhile, showed next to nothing during their first World Cup match in the history of their program. The reigning champions of Asia barely looked like a threat to create a chance, let alone score, putting them in a difficult spot moving forward.

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"The credit goes to the players because of their attitude, because of their commitment, because of their form, because of their intent," Ecuador coach Gustavo Alfaro said after the match. "Because we suffered a punch when the game started when they ruled the goal out for offside.

"We continued looking. I think they won with clarity ... I hope it's the start of something special, which is what we want."

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It's over! Ecuador win!

2-0 the final score with Valencia's brace!

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20 minutes to go

Muntari makes his way on for Ali as the hosts look for some sort of spark, but it's been an incredibly disappointing performance from Felix Sanchez's team. They've shown next to nothing in attack.

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Ecuador remain comfortable

The third youngest team at the cup behind Ghana and USA, Ecuador look very comfortable as they look to score their third and slam the door shut. As for Qatar, their passing is still quite horrendous, failing to really build much of anything.

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Second half set to start

Qatar have to be even more aggressive in this half and try to find a way back into it. Let's see if they can do it as action resumes!

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Halftime stats

Three shots for Ecuador and two on goal, while Qatar have two shots. The possession has gone to Ecuador with 54%. 

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We've reached the break!

It's 2-0 to Ecuador at the half with the two goals from Enner Valencia. A deserved lead for the South Americans, who are in great shape with 45 minutes to go.

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2-0 Ecuador! 

Enner Valencia! A great header! 2-0 for the hosts! 

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Here is the view from the goalline technology.m NPO1 screenshot
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Goal Ecuador!

This one should stand! Valencia finishes calmly down to his right, sending the goalkeeper the other way to put his team up 1-0! A deserved start. 

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Penalty!

Valencia is taken down in the box! And it's a clear penalty! Ecuador have another chance to go up 1-0!

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Goal ruled out! Offside!

I'll tell you what, I didn't see an offside there. Looked like a clear goal to me.

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Goal Ecuador!!!! 1-0!!! Enner Valencia!!!! (called off)

It's a goal for the visitors. Poor from the goalkeeper, and the ball ends up right on Valencia's head in front of goal, and he scores easily! A roaring start for the South Americans!

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Underway!

Here we go!

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About 15 mins to go

The World Cup is almost here! The ceremony is over and the match is about to begin! Ecuador are the favorites, but don't discount Qatar. They have some places. I think it is going to be an electric one!

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How to watch and odds

  • Date: Sunday, Nov. 20 | Time: 11 a.m. ET
  • Location: Al Bayt Stadium -- Al-Khor, Qatar
  • TV: Fox and Telemundo | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
  • Odds: Qatar +230; Draw +225; Ecuador +123 (via Caesars Sportsbook) 
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30-minute warning

Half an hour to go until the opening match of the tournament begins! It feels a little strange having a World Cup in the middle of November, but here we are! It's surely going to be a unique tournament with a ton of excitement, and what a moment this will be for Qatar! 

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Morgan Freeman makes an appearance

The famous American actor has made an appearance during the opening ceremony. Some may remember he was part of the USA's bid to host this World Cup before losing out to Qatar.

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Ecuador storylines

This team finished in fourth in qualifying and held their own, holding onto the spot despite not winning any of their last four games. That shows you just the hot start that they had to qualifying. They can grind out results in arguably the most competitive region in qualifying in the world. They have speed, they have strength, and while they may lack discipline, they have more than enough to get out of the group. 

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Qatar storylines

There is so much momentum and hype around this team in their first participation, and it's important to note that they have played meaningful games. They participated in the 2019 Copa America, they were semifinalists at the 2021 Gold Cup, and they have a manager in Felix Sanchez who is impressive. The 46-year-old manager was a Barcelona youth coach and wants his team to have the ball, pass quick and move even quicker. Don't be surprised by Qatar, because they can play.

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Declines and other performance rumors

According to reports, Shakira who has been a staple in past World Cups was set to perform but has decided to not take part in the opening ceremony. Her song Waka Waka has a place in our memories from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Dua Lipa was also rumored to be involved but she released a statement on Instagram.

"There is currently a lot of speculation that I will be performing at the Opening Ceremony of the World Cup in Qatar. I will not be performing and nor have I been involved in any negotiation to perform," Dua Lipa said on performing. "I will be cheering England on from afar and I look forward to visiting Qatar when it has fulfilled all the human rights pledges it made when it won the right to host the World Cup."

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How to watch opening ceremony

  • Date: Sunday, Nov. 20 | Time: 9:30 a.m. ET
  • Location: Al Bayt Stadium -- Al Khor, Qatar
  • TV: FS1  | Live stream: fuboTV (try for free)
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