The first foul of this 2022 World Cup is attributed to Estupinan, but not so wild.



    A long shot into Ecuador’s penalty area, but the South Americans clear it.



    Kick-off 2nd half



    Let’s go – Qatar kicked off this World Cup!


    Captains Al Haydos and Valencia are in the process of exchanging pennants so it can only be a matter of seconds.


    Ecuador is to be expected with a 4-4-2, Qatar acts with a 5-3-2, so they tend to be quite defensive – but let’s take a look at that first.


    The Ecuadorians just sang their anthem with a lot of fervor. Now it’s the Qatari’s turn – they seem extremely tense but you really can’t blame them. The pressure on these players is unbelievable.


    Referee is Daniele Orsato from Italy. A top man, without a big show, not a self-promoter, one who understands the game and lets it run – very pleasant.


    The teams are coming out of the catacombs now. After twelve years of start-up, the ball will actually start rolling here.


    Oh dear, now Gianni Infantino is giving his opening speech here. Qatar is probably the only country in the world where he is not booed…


    Ecuador: 1 Galindez – 17 Preciado, 2 Torres, 3 Hincapie, 7 Estupinan – 19 Plata, 20 Mendez, 23 Caicedo, 10 Ibarra – 13 Valencia, 11 Estrada. – Coach: Gustavo Alfaro


    Qatar: 1 Al-Sheeb – 2 Pedro Miguel, 16 Khoukhi, 15 Bassam Al-Rawi, 3 Abdelkarim Hassan, 14 Ahmed – 6 Hatem, 10 Al-Haydos, 12 Boudiaf – 11 Afif, 19 Ali. – Coach: Sanchez


    You can see the line-ups listed separately in our ticker, also with a tactical scheme. We’ll also give a brief overview of the teams here.


    Ecuador has removed a top performer from the squad: Byron Castillo was doubted as to the correctness of his nationality, allegedly he was not born in Ecuador but in Colombia. He was used in eight qualifying games, then rival Chile complained to the CAS about the exclusion of Ecuador, but failed. But now Ecuador has apparently been worried about sanctions and has taken Castillo out of the squad.


    Moisés Caicedo is also very noteworthy, he is considered an exceptional talent in Ecuador. The 21-year-old has been a regular in the six-man position at Premier League club Brighton & Hove Albion since the end of last season.


    The current showpiece – also thanks to Hincapié – is the defensive. Most recently, the team of national coach Gustavo Alfaro remained unbeaten seven games in a row – six times they even kept a clean sheet.


    Two Bundesliga professionals part of Ecuador’s World Cup team: Piero Hincapié from Bayer Leverkusen and Carlos Gruezo from FC Augsburg.


    Given all these conditions, Ecuador should be considered a favourite. High expectations weigh on captain and star striker Enner Valencia, he is the record scorer in his country.


    Coach of the Qatar team is the Spaniard Felix Sanches, for several months he worked with his protégés behind closed doors. Most recently, there was a 0-2 draw against Canada in a test in Austria and then a 2-2 draw against Chile.


    Qatar won the Asian Cup in 2019, but since then there has been stagnation. In preparation for this World Cup, the hosts didn’t have to play any qualifiers, at the training camp in Marbella there were wins in friendlies against Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama and Albania.


    There are no legionnaires in the Qatar team, all players come from the domestic league. The big hope is winger Akram Afif, who has built a career exactly according to the master plan: trained at Aspire Academy, then played at Qatar-backed KAS Eupen and then at FC Villarreal and Sporting Gijón. He then returned to the Qatari league in 2018.


    One can only speculate about the form and class of Qatar. There was a Handball World Cup here in 2015, before which Qatar brought together a squad of famous players from Spain, Brazil, Egypt and many other nations and made them Qataris through lightning naturalization. This was not possible here in football due to FIFA regulations.


    However you like to look at all this as a football fan – in 35 minutes the game will kick off here. So let’s take a look at the sporting requirements of the duel between Qatar and Ecuador, without ignoring all of the accompanying circumstances mentioned.


    The director of Human Rights Watch Germany, Wenzel Michalski, said on ZDF about the celebration and the accompanying speeches: “I saw quite a lot of hypocrisy there. Diversity was addressed or shown, inclusion was shown, tolerance was talked about. But from a country and people who don’t live it. As long as that’s a hollow and cheesy statement.”


    Cheering fans from all sorts of nations were shown again and again. Again on this subject there were reports that many of these were spectators bought with flights, accommodation and pocket money – unsurprisingly the organizing committee vehemently denied these reports.


    At the beginning of this opening ceremony, the world-famous US actor Morgan Freeman performed here. The fact that he allowed himself to be instrumentalised for this big show will certainly cause enormous criticism.


    The opening ceremony is now underway – and the Emir has just welcomed “people of all religions and orientations”. One can only hope that this is somehow meant seriously.


    The fact that the World Cup was postponed to between November 20 and December 18 because of the unbearable summer temperatures for athletes was accepted, as was the highly controversial human rights situation in this country and the catastrophic conditions for guest workers on construction sites of the World Cup stadiums and anti-gay attitudes, which recently became frighteningly clear in a ZDF documentary: Qatar’s official World Cup ambassador, Khalid Salman, called being gay a “sin” and “mental damage” – the spokesman for the organizing committees from the interview.


    As a result of the award of the World Cup, there were extensive investigations, including by the American Department of Justice, which were documented in the “Garcia Report” – this was published in 2014 and with further details in 2017. This ultimately revealed that several FIFA officials, including Ricardo Teixeira and Nicolas Leoz, were bought to vote for Qatar. Despite this, Qatar retained the tournament.


    At that time, at the FIFA Congress in Zurich, the tournaments for 2018 and 2022 were jointly awarded, four and a half years ago, as is well known, the game was played in Russia. Qatar’s bid, as later leaked out after extensive investigations, was the worst of the four applicants, with Australia, Japan and South Korea also wanting the World Cup.


    Have fun – at this world championship, of course, this is a very conflicting topic. For almost exactly twelve years, namely since the World Cup was awarded to Qatar on December 2, 2010, almost everyone has been aware that this tournament should never have been awarded here.


    Hello and welcome, dear football fans! Your Sportschau team warmly welcomes you to the opening game of the 2022 World Cup – hosts Qatar meet Ecuador in Group A. We wish a Lot of fun!