A HOST platoon looking to prove its worth to the massive investment incurred in erecting it piecemeal from splurging over US $200billion in carrying the World Cup.
Just the cost of the state- of- the- art Aspire Academy, where Qatar’s public platoon has been raised some 45 twinkles down from the Al Bayt Stadium where it opened the World Cup on Sunday, stands at around US $1billion.
With a nation in anticipation, Qatar’s players were under pressure to deliver; an army of suckers dressed in maroon — Qatar’s public colours — drinking them on the pitch and chanting each on.
Qatar are the reigning Asian titleholders but their high was in 2019 when they won the Asian Cup. Then in front of their hot suckers, they were looking to avoid being the first World Cup hosts to lose the opening match.
But against Ecuador — the South American platoon that had punched above its weight to qualify for this time’s World Cup, they suffered a meltdown. A 2- 0 scoreline could ’ve been worse had Ecuador not been denied a thing by the narrowest of perimeters in just the third nanosecond.
It would ’ve seen Ecuadorian captain Enner Valencia finish with a chapeau- trick — the Fenerbahce striker ending with two to his name, getting his country’s commanding thing- arranger at World Mugs with five and the first to score doubly in the opening game.
It was maybe the weight of the occasion that rasped Qatar’s jitters. A lavish form, celebrating the first World Cup in the Arab world, had been the prelude and Qatar players were so eager to get the ball rolling that they began the game indeed before the colosseum preamble had finished.
But they were extravagant in possession and Ecuador began assessing themselves with their pressing. Qatar were being denied time and space and in the third nanosecond, Ecuador silenced the home crowd.
Qatar goalkeeper Saad Alsheeb flopped at a free-kick that saw Felix Torres acrobatically ding the ball reverse in the box where Valencia was there to head it.
Ecuador suckers erupted but it was the Qatari suckers who soon set up their voice when the thing was ruled out by VAR for offside.
Their joy, still, was short- lived. Just 12 twinkles latterly, Sebas Mendez set up Valencia zipping into the box and the striker was impeded by Alsheeb.
The adjudicator incontinently refocused to the spot and Valencia, facing the oral Qatari suckers, kept his whim-whams to stroke the ball calmly once Alsheeb.
It sparked Qatar into action and they incontinently went to the other end to no mileage.
Qatar were chancing it delicate to string passes together and in the 32nd, the Ecuadorians left them with a mountain to climb.
Moises Caicedo carried the ball across the pitch before laying it back for Angelo Preciado to clobber in the cross from out wide for Valencia to jump above everyone and find the nethermost corner.
Ecuador were cruising and maybe it was also they decided that it was enough and decided not to add farther misery on the host nation.
Qatar sounded to have given up, the daises began evacuating and although they had some sniffs at thing — many and far between, Ecuador glided through for the palm.
With matches to come against both the Netherlands and African titleholders Senegal in Group ‘A’, Qatar now need to regroup. An early exit looms and on the base of this performance prognostications from some former players including Tim Cahill, an minister for Qatar’s Supreme Committee that’s delivering the World Cup, that Qatar will progress from the group have been thrown out the window.
The investment by the Qataris on their public platoon — let alone the cost of bringing the World Cup was meant to make a platoon that would inspire the nation. The opening game, still, did n’t bring the result they wanted.
Ecuador had survived prayers by Peru and Chile over contending an ineligible player to make the World Cup. This palm will give them stopgap of going beyond the group stage.
When hosts go far at the World Cup, it keeps the nation interested. The atmosphere in Qatar had reached fever pitch only when the massive Fan Festival at Al Bidda Park opened on Saturday. Qatar have a lot to do to insure they keeps the interest alive.