Qatar opened the first FIFA World Cup in West Asia before world leaders and football fans. Ecuador’s Enner Valencia scored the first two goals of the tournament
Ecuador’s Enner Valencia scored two goals — a penalty and a header — against Qatar to give the South American side the upper hand in the first half of the opening match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Valencia’s goal was disallowed for offside in just the third minute of the game, but he found the net twice after that. Qatar had just one attempt on goal in the final action of the first half – a header from Almoez Ali that was off target.
Ecuador’s Enner Valencia scores a disallowed goal Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor, Qatar on November 20, 2022 | Image Credit: Reuters
Valencia was a thorn in the side of Qatar’s defence, drawing three fouls, all of which resulted in yellow cards.
More updates to follow.
Qatar Coach: Felix Sanchez (ESP)
Qatar line-up: Saad Alsheeb; Pedro Miguel, Bassam Hisham, Boualem Khoukhi, Abdelkarim Hassan, Homam Ahmed; Karim Boudiaf, Abdulaziz Hatem, Hassan Al Haydos (captain); Almoez Ali, Akram Afif
Ecuador coach: Gustavo Alfaro (ARG)
Ecuador line-up: Hernan Galindez; Angelo Preciado, Felix Torres, Piero Hincapie, Pervis Estupinan; Gonzalo Plata, Moises Caicedo, Jhegson Mendez, Romario Ibarra; Enner Valencia (captain), Michael Estrada
Referee: Daniele Orsato (ITA)
Qatar opened the first FIFA World Cup in West Asia before world leaders and football fans poured into the energy-rich nation after it was hit by a regional boycott and international criticism.
Jung Kook of BTS performs with Fahad Al Kubaisi during the opening ceremony of the 2022 FIFA World Cup at Al Bayt Stadium on November 20, 2022 in Al Khor, Qatar. | Image Credit: Getty Images
With the dulcet voice of American actor Morgan Freeman and an Arabian theme with camels, the opening ceremony began with a promise of “everyone is welcome.”
Regardless of Qatar’s outcome against Ecuador on the pitch, Doha has brought Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the tournament’s opening ceremony and inaugural match.
That Prince Mohammed, whose country closed Qatar’s only land border with the world through the kingdom during a year-long political dispute, will attend shows how far the rapprochement between the two countries has come. .
Newspaper columns during the crisis even suggested digging a trench along the 87-kilometer (54-mile) border and filling it with nuclear waste at the height of the conflict. Although a rhetorical quibble, it showed just how deep regional anger runs amid the dispute – which the then-Kuwaiti leader suggested almost led to war.
Its roots stem from Qatar’s stance on supporting Islamists who rose to power in Egypt and elsewhere following the 2011 Arab Spring. While Qatar views their arrival as a sea change among the gerontocracies that dominate the Middle East, other Gulf Arab countries see the protests as a threat to their autocratic and hereditary rule.
Qatar has also faced criticism from the West because groups it funded early in Syria’s civil war have turned extremist. Qatar would eventually deny that it funded Islamic extremists, despite criticism from across the American political spectrum from Hillary Clinton to Donald Trump.
Qatar, like Saudi Arabia, follows the ultraconservative version of Islam known as Wahhabism. However, the country allows alcohol to be served in hotel bars and in a FIFA Fan Zone in the country. So far, some in the country have criticized what they see as the tournament’s Western cultural extravaganzas — likely leading to the stadium beer ban.
Al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, the extremist group’s Yemen-based arm, issued a communique on Saturday criticizing the Qataris for hosting a tournament that “brings in immoral people, homosexuals, sowing corruption and atheism.”
“We warn our Muslim brothers from following this event or attending it,” the group said, calling on scholars not to support it. However, al-Qaida’s arm has not directly threatened the tournament and has been weakened by years of drone strikes from American forces and engulfed by Yemen’s ongoing war.
On hand Sunday night at the opening were UN Secretary-General António Guterres, Algerian President Abdelmadjid Tebboune, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi, Senegalese President Macky Sall, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Rwandan President Paul Kagame.
The crown prince of Kuwait also arrived, along with the director-general of the World Health Organization and the president of Djibouti. Jordan’s King Abdullah II was also present.
But the biggest applause came for the ruler of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, and his father, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani, who won the tournament in 2010.
Meanwhile, Iran has sent only its youth and sports minister — not its hard-line president — as the Islamic Republic faces months of protests over the death of a 22-year-old woman who was earlier detained by Iranian police. morality of the country.
It remains unclear to what degree Western countries will attend the ceremony and Sunday night’s match. Qatar has come under alarming criticism for its stance on LGBTQ rights and its treatment of low-wage workers who built more than $200 billion in infrastructure ahead of the tournament.
But before the match, an honor guard of camels and Arabian horses, some with M4 rifles slung over their shoulders, awaited VIPs — and even VVIPs according to road signs — expected for the event.
Jungkook is on stage
BTS star Jungkook renders his ‘Dreamers’ surrounded by white-clad dancers. The song highlights the optimism that comes with every World Cup every four years and is sure to make the tournament exciting, both on and off the field.
“Look who we are, we dream, we do it because we believe, look who we are, we dream, we do it because we see it,” is how the song begins
(With input from agencies)