Hosts Qatar are all set to kick off the 2022 FIFA World Cup as they go up against Ecuador on Sunday, November 20 at the Al Bayt Stadium
Despite the many controversies surrounding the 2022 FIFA World Cup, hosts Qatar will create history as they kick-off the first-ever winter World Cup when they take on South American side Ecuador in their Group A clash at the Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday, November 20.
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Qatar who will be making their World Cup debut will be aiming to become the first side to win their opening match on the biggest stage, since Senegal achieved the feat by beating reigning champions France back in 2002.
Felix Sanchez Bas' men have been hard at work despite the many distractions surrounding the tournament. Qatar have played four World Cup warm-up matches in recent weeks, beating Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and most recently Albania.
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They’ll also be hoping to get off to a good start and avoid the ignominy of becoming just the second World Cup hosts to fail to make it out of the group after South Africa were knocked out early on goal difference in 2010.
They’re placed in a tough group though and Ecuador is likely to present the kindest challenge for them with Africa Champions Senegal and 2010 World Cup finalists Netherlands awaiting them in Group A.
Ecuador meanwhile have faced their own fair share of controversy en route to qualifying for the World Cup. Gustavo Alfaro's side were challenged by Chile and Peru who claimed an ineligible player used by the Ecuadorian Football Federation (FEF) during World Cup qualifying. The player in question was Byron Castillo who has been left out of the squad.
While FIFA ruled in September that Castillo, was considered to have “permanent Ecuadoran nationality”. The case went to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, which partially upheld the appeals by Chile and Peru. It resulted in Ecuador being allowed to participate in Qatar but docked three points in the next edition of South American qualifying for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
Ecuador though have been solid defensively despite struggles to find the back of the net up front. They’ll be making their fourth World Cup appearance, however have only once gone past the group stages, back in 2006 when they were knocked out in the Round of 16.
Team News: Both teams come into this tie without any fresh injury concerns. Ecuador are without winger Joao Rojas who is ruled out of the tournament due to injury. Qatar too will be missing midfielder Abdullah Al-Ahrak who suffered an ACL injury.
Form Guide: (Last five matches, most recent first)
Qatar: W - W - W - W - L
Ecuardor: D - D - D - W - D
Betting Odds: (Bet365)
Qatar Possible Starting 11 (3-5-2): Sheeb; Khoukhi, Rawi, A Hassan; Ro-Ro, Hatem, Haydos, Boudiaf, Amin; Afif, Ali.
Bench: Y Hassan, Barsham, Waad, Salman, Kheder, Mohammad, Assadalla, Hajri, Madibo, Hadhrami, Gaber, Meshaal, Alaaeldin, Muntari, Muneer.
Ecuador Possible Starting 11 (4-2-3-1): Dominguez; Arboleda, Torres, Hincapie, Estupinan; Mendez, Caicedo; Plata, Cifuentes, Ibarra; Valencia.
Bench: Galindez, Ramirez, Pacho, Arreaga, An Preciado, Palacios, Porozo, Gruezo, Ay Preciado, Mena, Sarmiento, Franco, Estrada, Reasco, Rodriguez
Where to watch and match timing: The match will kick off at 9:30 PM IST and will be beamed live on Sports18 and Sports18 HD. Fans can also stream the action online on JioCinema’s official website.