Well, the validity of those reports did not last at all as Qatar conceded within the first three minutes of the game and even though the goal would be chopped off for offside, it set the tone for an unexpectedly thorough beating for the hosts.
Qatari shot-stopper, Saad Al Sheeb must have dreamt his whole life about worldwide recognition but his big moment did not go according to plan at all.
The 32-year-old goalkeeper couldn’t catch a cold if he ate the bat that started Covid, his jittery ball handling and poor decision-making really makes one wonder if alcohol is really illegal in Qatar because Al Sheeb looked at times to be under the influence.
Al Sheeb was comfortably the worst player on a Qatari team that looked like a congregation of bad players, it really takes some doing to stand out.
Based on that first-half showing, Qatar would have been better off with the tournament mascot in goal, not even La’eeb would have given away that penalty.
Erik One Hag
Felix Sanchez Bas has been involved in Qatar football since 2006 with the Aspire Academy and took charge of the Qatar underage national teams since 2013 before graduating to the senior national team in 2017.
He led Qatar to their first-ever Asian Cup title in 2019 and is by all accounts a good coach but the terrible nature of his debut on the biggest stage means he will be more known for his resemblance to Dutch manager Erik Ten Hag rather than his coaching abilities.
Judging by the game, Qatar only has to develop their passing, shooting, movement, positioning, crossing, decision-making, set pieces, man-marking, dribbling, fitness, ball control, tackling, counter-attacking, overlapping, running and finishing, not too much work for Erik One Hag.
None of the pre-tournament odds for World Cup top scorer featured Enner Valencia and rightly so, the 33-year-old has not been good for at least five years now.
Qatar found a way to make the Ecuadorian striker look like prime De Lima Ronaldo though with shoddy defending that led to Valencia scoring twice and could have had a hattrick but for the VAR decision.
As it stands, Valencia is the leader in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Golden Boot race, who’s to say he can’t win it? Stranger things have certainly happened.
This Ecuador supporter decided to test Qatar’s resolve on human rights to the very limits by loudly celebrating alone and taunting a large group of home supporters.
Lucky for him, he quickly snapped back to his senses and realised the error of his ways without even having to be flogged publicly.
Qatar have been preparing for this World Cup for a long time and in all honesty, their team is better than it looked against Ecuador.
Perhaps they should have been given a bit more time to nationalise more Brazilians or maybe they should have gone a bit further and do what the Russians did or didn’t do when they hosted in 2018.