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Ecuador dampens Qatar’s celebration as controversial World Cup will get underway

Al Khor, Qatar CNN  — 

For the previous 12 months, an enormous clock in Doha has been counting all the way down to the opening match of the World Cup. Qatar and the world want wait no extra, after this controversial match received underway Sunday with the host dropping 2-Zero to Ecuador.

After a spectacular opening ceremony, which starred the likes of Hollywood actor Morgan Freeman and BTS star Jung Kook, the game itself lastly took middle stage after being overshadowed by off-the-pitch issues throughout the build-up.

It wasn’t the outcome that many in Qatar would have hoped for. The host appeared nervous and struggled towards an opposition possessing expertise and high quality. In fact, the sport was all however over at halftime, with Ecuador comfortably 2-Zero up thanks to 2 targets by Enner Valencia.

All the joy pre-match slowly drained away from the stadium within the second half and there have been noticeably extra empty seats as some followers appeared to have had sufficient.

Empty seats are seen during the match.

Competition environment

The nearer we received to Sunday’s kickoff in Doha, the extra excited followers on this metropolis turned. An impressive firework show lit up the sky on Saturday evening and social media exploded with Qataris making their enthusiasm identified about internet hosting one among sport’s greatest occasions.

Over the previous couple of days, followers from world wide have gathered in squares in downtown Doha to sing, chant and wave their nationwide flags, making a unbelievable environment.

That pageant spirit continued on match day, from town middle to the newly-built Al Bayt Stadium, which hosted the opening match of this historic World Cup, the primary to be held within the Center East.

People watch as fireworks go off before the start of the World Cup at the Al Bayt Stadium.

At occasions, it has felt like some other main worldwide match, however the build-up to this occasion has, in fact, been not like some other.

Corruption scandals plagued FIFA, world soccer’s governing physique, after it awarded Qatar the match in 2010 – although Qatari officers have beforehand “strongly denied” to CNN the allegations of bribery which has surrounded its bid.

For over a decade, and more and more in order kickoff neared, the pre-tournament build-up has centered on the nation’s human rights report, from the loss of life of migrant employees and the circumstances many have endured in Qatar, in addition to its LGBTQ legal guidelines and the function of ladies in its society. The nation’s last-minute ban of alcohol in World Cup stadiums additionally made headlines world wide.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino’s exceptional press convention on the eve of the opening sport demonstrated simply how little on-field points have featured to date.

The FIFA boss addressed a whole bunch of journalists in Doha, Saturday, and began the information convention with a close to hour-long speech, throughout which he accused Western critics of hypocrisy and racism.

These concerned within the match have confronted a lot criticism. Colombian singer Maluma, who options within the official World Cup anthem, walked out of an interview on Israeli tv when he was questioned concerning the Gulf state’s human rights report.

The opening ceremony itself centered closely on unity, with performances giving a nod to all of the international locations enjoying on this 12 months’s match.

VAR comes into play

Whereas the pre-match consideration was inevitably on the host nation, Qatar’s opponents additionally had a narrative to inform as its place within the match was solely confirmed weeks in the past after it was concerned in a authorized dispute with rivals Chile.

It centered across the eligibility of Bryon Castillo who, rivals argued, was ineligible to symbolize Ecuador over claims he was born in Colombia. The case was referred to the Court docket of Arbitration for Sport, who deemed Castillo eligible however, regardless of this, he was not included in his nation’s World Cup squad for Qatar 2022. On Sunday’s displaying, it doesn’t seem like the crew miss Castillo.

Valencia scores past Qatar's goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb for Ecuador's opening goal.

Minutes after the sport began, the noisy Ecuadorian followers have been celebrating after it appeared their aspect had taken the lead. Valencia headed in from shut vary however the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) deemed Valencia was offside and disallowed the purpose.

However simply minutes later, the yellow shirts have been celebrating once more as Valencia put his aspect forward from the penalty spot. Goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb had fouled the ahead as he tried to skip past him.

The captain doubled his tally earlier than the primary half completed, directing a bullet header into the underside nook as Qatar appeared wanting confidence and perception.

Now that the motion is underway, organizers will hope consideration will transfer away from human rights and different off-field points. However, in fact, this match’s legacy is not going to be decided on the pitch. As an alternative, it will likely be determined by actual change and the advance of the lives of the individuals who helped make it occur.

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