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2022 World Cup: Qatar vs Ecuador preview, team news, possible line-ups



The opening 2022 World Cup match pits hosts Qatar against Ecuador in Group A on Sunday afternoon at the Al Bayt Stadium.

The South American nation returns to the World Cup finals after an eight-year exile, whereas Felix Sanchez Bas’s team is making its first appearance in their history on the biggest international stage.

The game will kick off at 4pm GMT (11am EST & UTC).

Match preview


Sanchez Bas and his crop of soon-to-be history-makers have simply tried to give themselves the best possible chance of making it out of Group A.

Taking on 2010 World Cup finalists The Netherlands and Africa Cup of Nations champions Senegal is a true baptism of fire for the 50th-ranked country in the world, but they have participated in four friendly matches since October and have won all four of them.

In recent weeks, Qatar has defeated Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, and most recently Albania, with star striker Almoez Ali scoring the solitary goal against the latter. The Maroons are now attempting to become the first World Cup debutants to win their opening game since Senegal defeated the reigning champions France in 2002.

Sanchez Bas’s team, on the other hand, is attempting to prevent being the second World Cup hosts to not advance past the group stage, following South Africa in 2010. However, a win here would also make Qatar the first AFC country to win their first-ever World Cup matchup.


The South American nation is getting ready to return to the game’s biggest competition after missing out from Russia 2018, but they haven’t exactly made a splash there so far.

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Ecuador has already participated in three previpus tournaments, in 2002, 2006, and 2014, although they have only ever advanced past the group stages once, losing in the round of 16 back in 2002; this is also the first occasion that they have ever won their opening game of the competition.

The pattern for Gustavo Alfaro’s team throughout their pregame warm-up phase has been clean sheets. Amazingly, Ecuador has recorded six shutouts from six games since the beginning of June, but they have only scored twice themselves, with four of those six games ending in a scoreless draw.

The most recent Tricolor goalless draw was last Saturday between Ecuador and Iraq, and Qatar has previously faced its South American opponents three times at home, picking a win and a draw, and losing to the team that will be looking to ruin the celebration.


The two teams have met once before, just over four years ago. Ecuador finished the game with just nine men and were beaten 4-3 by Qatar.

Team News


Ahead of this game, Qatar’s medical staff has already been hard at work since forward Ahmed Alaaeldin, who was forced off against Albania last week after suffering an undisclosed injury, was always anticipated to miss this one.

Ali, who is tied for the team lead in goals with 42, could team up with Akram Afif in a two-man attack, and the two will lead the charge for a Qatari team that is mostly defensive in nature.

Abdelkarim Hassan, an international with 130 caps, should control a five-man backline, while captain Hassan Al-Haydos, who is vying to replace Ali Asad, will aim for his 170th cap behind the strikers.

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Byron Castillo, 24, left the field early in Ecuador’s last warm-up game due to a first-half injury, but he was really the player who got caught up in the ineligibility controversy and was not included in the Tricolor’s 26-man roster.

As a result, even though Robert Arboleda has only recently recovered from an ankle fracture, one of Angelo Preciado or Robert Arboleda should play right back for the South Americans. Moises Caicedo, Carlos Gruezo, and Jeremy Sarmiento were not involved against Iraq either; instead, they simply arrived after the game had ended.

The line will be led by all-time top scorer Enner Valencia, while Gruezo has been exercising regularly after recovering from a thigh injury. Sarmiento will need a checkup for a small muscle issue.

Qatar possible starting lineup:

Al-Sheeb; Miguel, Al-Wari, Salman, Hassan, Ahmed; Hatem, Boudiaf; Al-Haydos; Ali, Afif

Ecuador possible starting lineup:

Dominguez; Preciado, Torres, Hincapie, Estupinan; Gruezo, Caicedo, Cifuentes; Plata, Valencia, Ibarra