FIFA WC 2022 | Interesting facts & stats | Qatar & Ecuador
History will be made when host Qatar clashes against Ecuador in Group A match in the opening game of the 2022 World Cup, at the Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday.
It is anticipated to be the most expensive FIFA World Cup, as the oil-rich state of Qatar has invested $300 billion in the tournament's preparations.
The biggest tournament in football is about to kick off, as we look into some interesting facts about hosts Qatar and Ecuador.
Football was first introduced in Qatar in the late 1940s and developed rapidly in the 1950s with Doha Stadium taking center stage as a proper football venue.
The first major football tournament hosted by the gulf state was the 1988 AFC Asia Cup, and later again hosted in 2011.
Qatar will mark its World Cup debut on Sunday against Ecuador, having qualifications guaranteed as a host nation, as they never qualified for any FIFA World Cup before.
Previously, the two sides met once where Qatar emerged winners in a narrow win of 4-3 at home in 2018.
With the presence of Ecuador, Senegal, and the Netherlands in Group A, Qatar will have a real test, as Sanchez Bas's side are eyeing to avoid being the second World Cup hosts to fail to make it out of the group. Previously, it was fate befell South Africa in 2010, but victory here would also see Qatar make history as the only AFC nation to win their first-ever World Cup showdown.
Since Qatar began playing in the opening match of the competition in 2006, the home side has never tasted defeat at Al Bayt Stadium, this record is for a test on Sunday.
Felix Sanchez Bas's side has had great preparation coming into the World Cup, with four wins and one draw in the last five friendlies.
The Maroon currently ranks at 50, with their highest FIFA ranking being 42, recorded in August 2021.
Player to watch: Striker Almoez Ali will be crucial for Qatar's World Cup campaign, as striker Ali was the leading scorer for Qatar when crowned Asia Cup champions in 2019. Moreover, he also scored top scorer at the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Ecuador are making a return to the World Cup after eight years, having featured in 2002, 2006, and 2014.
In the build-up to reaching their first World Cup finals in 2002, the la Tricolor recorded a historic 1-0 win over Brazil, needing just a single point in their final qualifying match, which Ecuador drew 1-1 against Uruguay to secure a place in the cohosted tournament in Japan and South Korea.
Having played in three World Cup finals, only once have they progressed to the Round of 16, in the 2006 edition.
The South American side finished fourth in the CONMEBOL qualifying round this time, as the solid defense was their key to reaching the World Cup finals.
During the qualifying stage, Ecuador managed to secure a 1-1 draw against giants Argentina and Brazil. Moreover, only Brazil have scored more than Ecuador in the World Cup qualifiers.
Furthermore, Gustavo Alfaro's side has kept six clean sheets in the six friendlies, as they arrive in the tournament keeping things tight at the back.
Ecuador currently ranks at 44, with their highest ever FIFA ranking being 10 in 2013.
Player to watch
Estupinan, the left back could be put in a lot of trouble on the left flank capable of making an impact on both ends of the pitch. So far, the left back alongside his countrymen Jeremy Sarmiento and Moises Caicedo has formed a deadly attacking trio for Brighton in the Premier League.
Estupinan created more chances (22) than any other defenders in the CONMEBOL qualifiers.
Cover Credits: ESPNofficial