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THE SPECIAL moment when it sunk in that the FIFA World Cup was upon the world was not when the fireworks up into the skies like snakes flying , or when Morgan Freeman spoke, or when Qatar's emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani addressed the crowd, a sentence in English and rest in Arabic, or when BTS star Jung Kook belted out his single “Dreamers” and the audience enjoyed it.

The 60,000-stadium that resembles a bloated Bedouin tent was filled to the full, making one wonder whether the crowd had sprung from the earth like some magic gnomes.

On Sunday, for the team's opening match against Ecuador to kick off the tournament, they not only made numbers but made their presence felt in a exhibition of passion and excitement. So much so, the rendition of national anthem, “Al-Salam-Al-Amiri”, it is good.

Qatar team became the first to lose in the opening World Cup matches as Ecuador secured a 2-0 victory over the tournament hosts, with Enner Valencia scoring twice in the tournament.

Qatar may have qualified automatically as hosts, but their preparation for a World Cup on home soil has perhaps been one of the most extensive for any side in the tournament's history. After their shock AFC Asian Cup win in 2019, Al Annabi went on a world tour to prepare for his first-ever World Cup. First came a 2019 appearance at the Copa America in Brazil, in which they failed to qualify for the knockout finishing behind the likes of Argentina, Colombia and Paraguay in Group B.

This was followed up with the 2021 Gold Cup, which ended with a creditable third-place finish with Qatar losing to the winners USA in the semi-finals.
Finally, on September 16, Fifa’s appeal to the committee ruled that Castillo was of "Ecuadorian nationality” and therefore eligible to represent the country. However, despite the lengthy legal dispute, he was dropped from the squad.

Qatar became the first World Cup host that lose in an opening game.

Enner Valencia’s two goals gave Ecuador a commanding 2-0 win over hosts Qatar in the opening game of the FIFA World Cup. In the first half, it was all about the dominance of the South Americans as they completely outplayed Qatar. The first goal was a penalty while the second was a luminous header.

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