The FIFA World Cup 2022 kick-started with a sensational opening ceremony that included the likes of Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman and Korean singer Jung Kook. Qatar became the first host nation to lose the opening game of a World Cup as Ecuador kicked off the tournament with a dominant 2-0 victory thanks to Enner Valencia’s double.
After months of talking points and debates leading up to the tournament, the focus turned to matters on the pitch as Qatar 2022 began on a solid note. There was no respite shown on the pitch for the hosts as they were comprehensively outplayed throughout their first-ever World Cup match.
Enter Valencia, popular for his time with West Ham United in the Premier League, was on the scoresheet within four minutes for the visiting team. However, the goal was turned down after the Fenerbache forward was found off-side in the build-up.
He remained in the thick of the action and won a penalty by attempting to steer the ball away from a charging goalkeeper. Qatar’s goalkeeper Al Sheep was a little late on his challenge and the referee pointed it to the freekick. He stepped up to take the penalty and made it 1-0 for the Ecuadorians, who were on the verge of breaking a century-old record.
Ecuador dominated the game later on and doubled the lead through the same player once again. Valencia took his goal tally at World Cups to six with a header around the half-hour mark. Angelo Preciado’s cross from the right flank was headed powerfully to the right of the keeper, who had no chance once again.
Ecuador set the foot on the pedal in the second half but Qatar failed to create any major chances. They had five attempts at goals but none of them were on target, making them the first hosting nation in World Cup history to lose the opening match.
Ecuador extended their excellent form in 2022 and have kept a clean sheet in each of their last seven matches in all competitions (W3 D4), with Argentina’s Julián Álvarez the last player to score against them back in March. They will next face Senegal on November 25.