World Cup 2022: Qatar vs Ecuador match preview | Qatar World Cup 2022 News

Who: Qatar v Ecuador, Group A

Where: Al Bayt Stadium

When: Sunday, November 20, 7pm (16:00 GMT)

fifa rankings: Qatar (50), Ecuador (44)

The Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup will start on Sunday with a clash between the hosts and Ecuador.

The opening match and opening ceremony of the iconic tournament, to be held for the first time in the Middle East, will be held at the monumental 60,000 capacity Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, north of the capital Doha. Qatar.

The fixture has been carry out one day in advance to keep true to the tradition of the host country opening the contest.

Al Bayt Stadium
Al Bayt Stadium [Sorin Furcoi/Al Jazeera]

Once ranked 113th in the world, Qatar team – nicknamed the Maroons – have risen to number 50 on the FIFA rankings thanks to a string of successes in recent years, including a surprise 2019 Asian Cup win.

The team also reached the semi-finals at last year’s Gold Cup of the North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football Leagues as a guest nation.

This will be Qatar’s first time participating in a World Cup.

Led by Spain coach Felix Sanchez, the Maroons hope to reach the next round from a group that includes European giants the Netherlands and African champions Senegal.

“It’s three games and we know the level of the opponent,” Sanchez told reporters on Saturday. “Due to their history, their individual talents, their careers where they played, they are ahead of us.

“In theory, they should get three points. Maybe they counted 3 points already. But we’re here to show we can be a competitive team. We will bring our ‘A game’ and try to get good results to bring a lot of fun.”

The team landed back in Doha seven days before kick-off, returning from extended training camp in Marbella, Spain.

“We want to show the results of all our efforts. God willing, we will perform much better than in any previous match,” Qatar captain Hassan Al Haydos said in a pre-match press conference.

The player to watch is the skillful left winger Akram Afif. The 25-year-old, who plays for Qatar’s Al Sadd team, was named the best player in Asia in 2019 after having 1 goal and 10 assists to take Qatar to the continental championship.

Despite having the home field advantage, Qatar is not easy to overcome Ecuador.

With an average age of 25, the team nicknamed La Tri is the youngest team from South America to qualify and one of the youngest teams in the tournament.

Ecuador, ranked 44th, had an impressive qualifying campaign, finishing 4th behind Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay and losing just once at home. They battered Colombia 6-1, beat Uruguay, won 4 points against Chile and drew with heavyweights Brazil and Argentina.

The star of the team is Moises Caicedo, who plays for Brighton and Hove Albion, a side in the English Premier League. The 21-year-old box-to-box midfielder brings balance and solidity in defense to the youth team.

If the Maroons pick any points against La Tri, they will have to nullify his effective passes and penetrations.

Also keep an eye out for Gonzalo Plata, an exciting winger who plays for Real Valladolid in Spain.

Led by the Argentinian, Gustavo Alfaro, who usually favors a 4-4-2 formation, La Tri will try to improve on their best record at the World Cup, when they reached the round of 16 in 2006. .

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