Despite the gulf in quality between the two teams, Ecuador and Qatar managed to play a respectable game of football. Although the two teams were far from perfect, it was Ecuador who took the lead in the opening game of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. A goal from Enner Valencia and a second-half penalty from Angelo Preciados proved to be the difference between the two sides.
Ecuador started the game with a 4-4-2 formation. Their centre backs have done a decent job in containing the Qatar attack. Although Ecuador are not quite the high-flying outfits they once were, they have the experience to be more than just a match for their opposition. Despite this, Ecuador are still not particularly good at getting out of their own half. In the end, however, they managed to get a goal, and it was a well-earned one.
Enner Valencia was the man of the match, scoring two of Ecuador’s three goals. He also provided some attacking flair, especially in the first half. Although it was a bit of a snooze, his header off an Angelo Preciados cross put Ecuador in front. He then provided the only assist for his team’s second goal. In fact, Enner was the first Ecuadorian player to score four goals in a single World Cup game.
The most important statistic is that Ecuador have not conceded in six matches. They’re also unbeaten in the last five games. That’s quite a feat, considering they’re only ranked 44th in the world. The stadium was packed with fans, many of whom had travelled to the country on buses.
The first half was all Ecuador. In the first 20 minutes, the South Americans outplayed the Qatar defenders. They even managed to create a few chances. Although Qatar’s keeper Al Sheeb made some impressive saves, the Ecuadorian back line kept Qatar from doing too much damage.
There were no real surprises in the second half. Ecuador were not particularly impressive on the ball, but they were more composed after their first-half shaky start. In fact, they managed to keep their set-pieces from flying over the goal line. Moreover, they’ve also managed to improve their defending. They’ve also defended the first-half’s most important piece of kit – the free-kick.
The VAR was a big help. Several notable events were awarded a VAR check. It was not just the most important one, however. There was also a video review highlighting the simplest one, the smallest and most obvious one.
There were also some other more nifty things, such as a “Shoomila, shoomila” – a song penned by Abdullah Al Manai, the lyrics of which are a little rudimentary. That’s probably not the first thing that came to mind when considering the most important one.
However, the most important one is the most simple to understand. It’s a bit of a cheesy title, but it’s still the best description of their most impressive performance. They haven’t conceded a goal in a competitive game for more than a year.