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Qatar clings to the hostess's fortune

Qatar clings to the hostess's fortune.

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Qatar clings to the hostess's fortune

Qatar clings to the hostess's fortune

The team led by the Spanish Félix Sánchez faces Ecuador at the start of the most controversial World Cup in history


The teams of Qatar and Ecuador open this Sunday (5:00 p.m. Spanish peninsular time / La1) the atypical 2022 World Cup, for the first time played between November and December, a match in which the Asian team, led by the Spanish Félix Sánchez, will debut for the first time time in a World Cup and in which 'la Tri' will try to break the statistics that say the hostess has never lost the opening match.

The controversies over the treatment of migrant workers in the construction of stadiums and the breach of human rights, as well as the suspicions over the awarding of the tournament to the Persian Gulf country, have focused all the attention in recent years, but this Sunday soccer will regain some prominence.

In the 21 editions of the World Cup played, the host team has never lost in the opening match, a 'tradition' that Qatar hopes to adhere to, which is also making its debut for the first time in a World Cup event -something that has not happened since Italy 1934-.

In the Al Bayt stadium in the town of Jor, in front of the Qataris, will be the Spanish coach Félix Sánchez, for five years in charge of a seasoned team in the national league and with the base of Al-Sadd and whom he led to become Asian champion in 2019 and third in the Arab Cup in 2021.

Now, they come to the event with a streak of six games without losing -five wins and a draw, the one achieved against Chile (2-2)- and with Almoez Ali, the Asian team's all-time goalscorer, and Akram Afif as offensive references. "We know that it will be a difficult rival due to their individualities and because they have footballers playing in Europe, and it is not their first World Cup. That makes them favorites," Sánchez said at a press conference, taking the pressure off his team.

Opposite, Ecuador, absent in Russia 2018, faces its fourth World Cup adventure with the endorsement of being the second highest scoring team in the always demanding South American Qualifiers (27 goals). However, in their next six games, although they remained undefeated and won two, they also recorded four goalless draws.

Thus, the Argentine coach Gustavo Alfaro will have to find solutions to recover his goalscoring effectiveness, for which he clings to his captain, the Fenerbahçe striker Enner Valencia. Players like Gonzalo Plata, striker for Real Valladolid; Piero Hincapié, Bayer Leverkusen defender; or the Brighton midfielder Moisés Caicedo will try to end the fortune of the hostess.

CATAR: Al-Sheeb; Pedro Miguel, Al-Rawi, Khoukhi, Salman, A. Hassan; Boudiaf, I. Mohammed, Al-Haydos; Almoez Ali and Akram Afif.

ECUADOR: Dominguez; Preciado, Felix Torres, Hincapié, Estupiñán; Cifuentes, Gruezo, Caicedo; Silver, Valencia and Ibarra.

-- Referee: Daniele Orsato (ITA).

--ESTADIO: Al Bayt.

--TIME: 17.00/La1.

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