Qatar v Ecuador: 2022 World Cup kicks off with opening ceremony – live | world Cup
Who will win the world cupapart from Joe Lycett)?
Brazil and Argentina are the popular picks, although it’s not quite beyond the areas that Brazil – like 2018 favorites Germany – could exit in the first round. I think Spain are the best European team in the tournament, but they have a stinky group and could also end up on the DO1 flight from Doha before the knockout stage begins.
In short, it’s a William Goldman World Cup: nobody knows anything about it. Just the way it should be.
Today’s match will be played at the spectacular Al Bayt Stadium. You can read all about it – the good, the bad and the unforgivable – here.
We have an interactive guide for each team, and even for each player. Let’s start with the hosts, a team that… well, nobody really knows.
Equator has flown under the radar – they live under the radar – but could ruin a few wall charts that were filled in prematurely. To borrow from Barry Davies, when will be we learn that big tournaments never go as planned. (In 2018, for example, Germany was supposed to face England in the quarter-finals. That didn’t happen.)
Anyway, Ecuador. Read all about them.
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Hello and welcome to the biggest sham on earth. Qatar 2022: the tournament that puts the ‘vile’ in ‘violation’. It’s a vile farce — part sinister power trip and part Chris Morris satire — and has a human cost that’s acceptable only to those with mental illness. But it’s also a world cup, the biggest To display on earth, therefore, there is a good deal of the old cognitive dissonance flying around. Widespread human rights violations, World Cup. World Cup, widespread human rights violations.
I am well aware that, even in the echo chamber of the Guardian, there will be no consensus on the most appropriate way to live blog this tournament. I’m sure some of you are thinking, “For heaven’s sake man, focus on the football, I want to know if Qatar invert their wingers!” Others will think we shouldn’t talk about football at all, that this minute-by-minute report shouldn’t exist, that the Guardian should instead take a stand by live blogging Alan Titchmarsh’s Love Your Garden on ITV.
Football will take over soon enough – it always does – but the controversy isn’t going away, especially after Fifa President Gianni Infantino gave the most bizarre speech since father Ted Crilly received his Golden Cleric award and launched into an extended score. colon. And there are still worrying unknowns, including how fans will be treated if they don’t show a little flexibility and compromise.
I’ll be honest, I don’t know how to delicately transition into real football, so I’m just going to do it and hope I get away with it. In a few hours, hosts Qatar will kick off against Ecuador in Al Khor. Group A also includes Senegal and the Netherlands, who will face each other in the tournament’s first big match tomorrow, so both teams would really need a win today.
The focus on Qatar, the nation, means that we know very little about Qatar, the team. They were impressive Asian Cup winners in 2019, winning all seven games and conceding just one goal. Their recent form isn’t as strong, but they have drawn with Chile and have two very exciting attacking talents in Akram Afif and Almoez Ali.
Qatar have been training together for five months, which puts them five out of the other 31 teams. But they remain, in more ways than one, the outsiders of Group A. Whatever one thinks of Qatar hosting the tournament, one should not ignore the rich and complicated human history of a team representing its country in a seismic event.
The young Ecuadorian team qualified in impressive fashion, finishing ahead of the likes of Chile, Colombia and Peru, although their recent results had – and what a flavor it would be – a whiff of George Graham: 1-0, 0-0, 1-0, 0-0, 0-0, 0-0. Brighton’s Moises Caicedo is the star of a dynamic side that is some people’s dark horse to go further in the tournament.
The opening ceremony begins shortly; then it will be time – finally – to watch some football. Let’s put this simulacrum/show on the road.
To start up 4 p.m. in London, 7 p.m. in Al Khor, 11 a.m. in Quito.