May 30, 2024 8:01 am

Qatar set 92-year record in World Cup history

Qatar have become the first host nation to lose their opening game at that edition of the World Cup (W16 D6 before Sunday).

Ecuador 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.

Ecuador scored twice in the first half of a World Cup match for the first time. This is the second time in their four appearances at the World Cup they’ve won their opening match, with the other also being 2-0 (against Poland in 2006).

There were just 11 shots in this game (5 for Qatar, 6 for Ecuador) – no World Cup match on record (since 1966) has seen fewer attempts.

Ecuador’s opener was the first time in World Cup history that the opening goal at a single edition of the tournament was scored from the penalty spot.

What the managers said…

Ecuador manager Gustavo Alfaro: “It was a great victory. As usual the first match of a World Cup you feel more pressure and tension. We were aware we were going to feel that. We are the youngest team at this World Cup.

“The most important thing was to win. We played the way we wanted. I’m not entirely happy but I am calm enough because we did what we had to do. We need to improve certain things to reach the round of 16.

“Enner [Valencia] will play against the Netherlands, there is no doubt about that.”

“We fought this game in a certain way, but our opponent had their own ideas. It’s not that we didn’t want to attack, but our opponent had their own weapons.
“If we want to be competitive, we will need to defend, and be very well organised. When we have possession we would like to be more effective.”

What does the result mean?

Ecuador are now the early leaders in Group A, with Qatar propping up the table behind Senegal and Netherlands, who play on Monday.

Ecuador face Netherlands in their second group game on Friday, November 25, at 4pm, while Qatar host Senegal on the same day at 1pm.

The winners of Group A will face the runners-up from Group B, containing England, Wales, USA and Iran. The runner-up in Group A will face the winners of Group B.

Enner Valencia became the oldest player to score the opening goal at a single edition of the World Cup and is now Ecuador’s highest-ever goalscorer at the World Cup, after netting his fourth and fifth goals in the competition. Including all three of their strikes at Brazil 2014, Valencia became the first player to score five consecutive World Cup goals for a South American nation.

Source: Skysports

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