Qatar Becomes First-Ever World Cup Host Nation to Lose Opening Game
The controversial 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar kicked off on November 20, with host nation Qatar taking on South America’s Ecuador. Enner Valencia scored a brace of goals as Ecuador won at a canter n front of a half-empty stadium. Ecuador’s victory marks the first time in FIFA World Cup history that a host nation has lost its opening game.
Qatar had been together in a training camp spanning six months, but Felix Sanchez’s men often looked like they had never before seen each other. The Qataris looked nervous as they stepped out in front of more than 67,000 supporters, although the game finished with around half that figure, with swathes of Qatar fans leaving at half-time and never returning. After having a goal wrongly chalked off for offside in only the third minute, Ecuador dominated proceedings and was worthy of their two-goal cushion going into the interval. They took their foot off the gas during the second 45-minutes but were much the better team.
With games against reigning Africa Cup of Nations champions Senegal, and a Netherlands side brimming with talent, Ecuador was seen as Qatar’s most likely opponent to score points from. However, their dreadful showing at the Al Bayt Stadium will have punters flocking to the best Washington sportsbooks online and backing Qatar to finish Group A without a single point to show for their efforts.
A World Cup Overshadowed by Controversy
Most talk about the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar has been the various controversies surrounding FIFA awarding Qatar the World Cup. Rumors are circulating that someone offered Ecuador players substantial payments if they lost to Qatar on November 20. Alleged corruption at the highest level has taken the shine off this World Cup, which should be a celebration of people who love “the beautiful game.” Any decision that goes Qatar’s way will face intense scrutiny from media outlets globally.
It took only three minutes for one such decision to rear its head. Valencia thought he had broken the deadlock in only the third minute, only for VAR (Virtual Assistant Referee) to rule it out for offside. The goal was perfectly legal because the player adjudged to be offside was on by five or six yards. It did not matter in the end because Qatar was so poor, and Ecuador controlled the game for 90 minutes, running out as worthy winners.
FIFA awarding Qatar the 2022 World Cup is the biggest controversy of them all. The country has a horrific human rights record, especially regarding people from the LBGT+ community, and has absolutely no footballing history. When one considers FIFA chose Qatar over the United States bid, one knows something was amiss.
Then you have the jaw-dropping allegations of the slavery and deaths of thousands of migrant workers Qatar was forced to bring in because it had no football stadiums. A 2013 investigation by the British broadsheet newspaper, The Guardian, claimed many workers were denied food and water and had their passports and identity papers taken from them before being forced to work long, unpaid hours.
The Guardian claimed more than 1,200 migrant workers had died between 2010 and 2013. This number increased to 6,500 by 2021, although Qatar’s government claims that number is only 40 deaths.
Alcohol Ban in Stadiums and Awful Living Conditions for Supporters
Two days before the 2022 FIFA World Cup was due to kick off, the Qatar government announced it was going back on promises to allow supporters to drink alcohol in the stadiums. There is no alcohol available in the World Cup stadia despite Budweiser being one of the tournament’s most prominent sponsors!
In addition, reports across several media sites and newspapers are showing the awful living conditions in the World Cup village, a so-called purpose-built facility for fans from around the world to stay in. Some fans are paying $200 per night for a tent made of thick plastic, with only two beds, a lamp, and an electric fan for decoration.