The moment Qatar had been waiting nearly 12 years for arrived—and it didn’t go at all how the country and its national team had envisioned.
The 2022 World Cup host nation flopped in its first match on soccer’s grandest stage, falling to Ecuador 2–0 in the opening game of the competition.
An Enner Valencia double in the first half was all it took to make Qatar the first host team to lose the opening match of its World Cup, but truthfully the match was more lopsided than the score reflected.
The hosts of the last four FIFA World Cup: Russia, Brazil, South Africa and Germany all won their opening matches to start their fabulous trips.
For the big-spending host nation Qatar, this situation was not what they wanted. Their performance did match their poor experience and they were criticised for being too nervous to play to their strengths.