|Qatar will have it all to do against Ecuador but can they exploit their known weaknesses? (Photo credit: GOAL)|
Qatar vs EcuadorAl Bayt Stadium5:00pm
It’s about that time again and although it was delayed by a few months, it’s never denied. The 2022 FIFA World Cup kicks off in Qatar today and the host nation will take on Ecuador in the curtain raiser.
There were talks and disagreements, human rights violation accusations and counter-accusations; tales of bribes and indiscretions amidst the ban of rainbow laces in the Islamic nation of Qatar, and most recently, the ban of alcohol across stadiums but in the end, the World Cup goes ahead as planned.
Players have cried out about fixture congestion and the fact that it was only last week they played league games and many of them also played friendlies in midweek; the weather is another concern but again, the tournament goes on and all talks would now take the back seat while football gets behind the wheel.
Welcome to our official World Cup season daily, we’ll bring you fixture information and select game predictions. Sunday is about the host nation and Ecuador and on paper, the South Americans should do numbers on the hosts but football isn’t mathematics.
Qatar isn’t known as a football powerhouse but they’re emerging from the shadows of obscurity to join the conversation with time, their name will fear opponents but if that will happen soon, they need to make a statement against Ecuador.
It’s interesting to note but Enner Valencia is still very much around and he will lead the Ecuadorians in Qatar. Their star player has to be Brighton’s sensational midfield enforcer Moses Caicedo, the young midfielder who has caught the eyes of everyone this season for his grit and tough tackles.
Qatar will have to deal with the pace and quick transitions of Ecuador but can also exploit the fact that the South American side lacks quality between the stick with aging Dominguez set to be handed the shirt again despite being dropped for most qualifier games.