Kick-off: 1600, 20/11/2022
Stadium: Al Bayt Stadium
Qatar have been building towards this match since being confirmed as 2022 World Cup hosts 12 years ago and the good news for them – and bad news for Ecuador – is that football’s biggest stage is no place for party-poopers.
A flick through the history books, way back to Uruguay in 1930, shows that no host has ever lost their opening match at the World Cup!
So, the home side to draw or win at 57/100 is an obvious Qatar vs Ecuador prediction for anyone seeking to fill up multiple bets.
It is more than just history making a case for Qatar being able to avoid defeat on their World Cup debut.
Their stock has risen over the past decade and they have recently been hovering inside the top 50 in the FIFA world rankings, having been well outside the leading 100 when the 2022 announcement was made.
Their triumphant 2019 Asian Cup campaign was an amazing run of seven straight wins and no goals conceded until the 3-1 victory over Japan in the final.
Later the same year, they faced South American opposition as guests in the Copa America, drawing with Paraguay and going down to Colombia and Argentina.
Third place at last year’s FIFA Arab Cup was another fair effort, with Egypt beaten on penalties in the bronze medal match.
Questions have been raised about the speed of Qatar’s rise, particularly as they have conducted much of their preparations at remote training camps behind closed doors, but coach Felix Sanchez called allegations of corruption “misinformation”.
“No one will be able to destabilise us with this criticism,” he said. “We are not affected at all. We are very much excited and motivated.”
Drawing 2-2 with a strong Chile line-up in a September friendly will have boosted confidence and this is the group game their fans should be looking forward to the most.
The hosts can give them something to cheer and the Maroon to score first is worth backing at Qatar vs Ecuador odds.
Brazil 2014 was the last World Cup Ecuador qualified for and they were the only South American side to bow out at the group stage after losing to Switzerland, beating Honduras and drawing with France.
They finished well off the pace when trying to reach Russia four years ago, stumbling to eighth place in the 10-team group, before claiming the fourth and final automatic spot this time around.
La Tri failed to register a win across their final four qualification games, although they did draw with Argentina and only Brazil scored more than Ecuador’s 27 goals in 18 matches.
However, Gustavo Alfaro’s side managed only seven wins and lost six times, while letting in 19 goals at the other end.
Midfielder Moises Caicedo is one of three Brighton players in the Ecuador squad, along with Pervis Estupinan and Jeremy Sarmiento.
Alfaro commented: “We have to make the most of the opportunity that these players are experiencing and how much they are growing.
“Ecuadorian football needs to grow and wants to grow, and we need to have at least 30 to 35 players in Europe. That’s the challenge.”
Netherlands and Senegal are fancied to go through from Group A, so the opening tie is huge for the other two teams.
We just feel home advantage is hard to ignore and a 2-1 win for the hosts at 11/1 completes our Qatar vs Ecuador betting tips.
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