The large number of empty seats in the second half summed up the Qatar football team’s disappointing start to their first World Cup, but a lively and outnumbered group of Ecuadorians in the stands found some levity by chanting for beers at the end of the first half. be provided.
It was a comical intervention two days after Qatar made the decision Beer sales banned in stadiums during the World Cup. This was a late change by the conservative Islamic nation where access to alcohol is strictly limited, with the only alcohol-free Bud Zero sold at the game.
The night began with more than 67,000 Qatari fans filling Al Bayt Stadium, enjoying an opening ceremony that saw the tiny Arab emirate win the title 12 years after winning the right to host football’s biggest event. Showcased to a global audience.
It ended with Qatar’s matchless team being carried off the field, their undeserved place in football history secured and many of their disappointed fans long gone.
The controversial tournament began on Sunday with the 2019 Asian Cup champions lost 2-0 For Ecuador, to ensure that a host team lost their opening game for the first time in a World Cup.
“I would say we felt bad [for our supporters]said Qatar’s coach Felix Sanchez. “I hope they will be even more proud in the next game.”
ecuador captain Ener ValenciaHaving been substituted in the 77th minute with knee and ankle problems, he scored both of his team’s goals in the first half of a one-sided game, which was a damage-limitation exercise in one of Qatar’s biggest nights. Country history.
“It’s just the beginning of the World Cup,” said the 33-year-old Valencia, who has now scored Ecuador’s last five goals at the World Cup, including three in 2014. “We have to keep dreaming.”
In what could go down as one of the worst performances by a host nation to open a tournament, Qatar had five shots in the match and none of them were on target. The team only had two touches inside the opposition penalty area.
“I wouldn’t say we were naive,” Sanchez said. “I would say it was about panic … maybe we were too skeptical.”
Qatar’s passes often strayed and their defensive aggression was repeatedly exposed, Ecuador had no problem maintaining the lead as Sanchez stood helplessly in his technical area and the home fans fell silent.
Many did not return in the second half. And thousands of seats were empty when the game entered the final quarter.
After a disappointing start, Qatar will need more than just luck to avoid joining South Africa as the only host nation to fail to make it out of the group stage at the World Cup. Senegal And Netherlands still to come.
“We have to forget about the pressure and be more competitive,” Sanchez said. “We can do this.”
Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.