QATAR became the first World Cup hosts to lose their tournament opener as Ecuador’s 2-0 win produced a string of staggering stats.
Enner Valencia struck twice in a one-sided first half and had a third-minute opener ruled out by VAR as the first World Cup finals held in the Middle East kicked off with stifling heat and stuttering displays.
AFPQatar fans look far from impressed and many were seen leaving early[/caption]
Abdulaziz Hatem points out some problems as Qatar slumped 2-0 to Ecuador – the first time in 23 World Cups that the hosts have lost their openerGetty
And amid all the debate about whether Qatar are suitable hosts off the field, the early figures suggest they are unsuitable opponents on it.
Of the previous 22 hosts, 16 won their opening matches and six drew it.
In fact, Qatar had ZERO efforts on target against Ecuador – a feat achieved by teams only four times throughout the whole 2018 tournament.
In all, the game provided just 11 goal attempts – the lowest total for an opener since records began with England‘s triumphant hosting in 1966.
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Maybe that’s why many home fans streamed out during the interval – leaving huge gaps in the stands.
And if Valencia’s volley had been allowed in the initial stages it would have been the fastest ever goal in a World Cup opener.
Fenerbahce’s former West Ham attacker did, though, soon bag the only penalty opening goal ever in sport’s top event.
And it could have been much worse had Ecuador not eased up in the second half.
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Qatar are likely to face even tougher opposition in their remaining two Group A games – Senegal and Holland.
FIRST GAMES FOR WORLD CUP HOSTS
1930 Uruguay – beat Peru 1-0
1934 Italy – beat USA 7-1
1938 France – beat Belgium 3-1
1950 Brazil – beat Mexico 4-0
1954 Switzerland – beat Italy 2-1
1958 Sweden – beat Mexico 3-0
1962 Chile- beat Switzerland 3-1
1966 England – drew 0-0 vs Uruguay
1970 Mexico – drew 0-0 vs Soviet Union
1974 West Germany – beat Chile 1-0
1978 Argentina – beat Hungary 2-1
1982 Spain – drew 1-1 vs Honduras
1986 Mexico – beat Belgium 2-1
1990 Italy – beat Austria 1-0
1994 United States – drew 1-1 vs Switzerland
1998 France – beat South Africa 3-0
2002 Japan/ South Korea: S Korea 2 Poland 0, Japan 2 Belgium 2
2006 Germany – beat Costa Rica 4-2
2010 South Africa – drew 1-1 vs Mexico
2014 Brazil – beat Croatia 3-1
2018 Russia – beat Saudi Arabia 5-0
2022 Qatar – lost 2-0 vs Ecuador