Qatar take on Ecuador to launch 2022 World Cup

AP - Darko Bandic

A capacity crowd of 60,000 is expected at the Al Bayt Stadium in Doha on Sunday night to watch Qatar and Ecuador launch the 2022 World Cup.

The hosts, who are 50th in the world rankings, will be playing their first tie at the World Cup which is being held in the Middle East for the first time.

On Friday, Qatar face Senegal and on 29 November for their final Group A match they take on the Netherlands.

“We’ll be playing against teams who have a lot of players who are the best in the world in their position," said Qatar coach Felix Sanchez.

"There will be players who have World Cup and Champions League experience.

"I’m not saying we’re going to win the World Cup, but we will put in a performance of the highest level."

Attempt

Qatar - nicknamed al Annabi - enter their tournament not only with the pressure of hosts but also with the burden of trying to switch attention away from the off-field debates that have dogged its organisation since world football's governing body Fifa awarded the country hosting rights in 2010.

Qatari authorities have come under fire for their attitudes towards the plight of the thousands of migrant workers involved in the construction of the World Cup projects.

There has been criticism too of its treatment of the LGBT+ communities.

And on the eve of the tournament, organisers courted even more controversy by banning the sale of alcohol around the eight venues for the matches.


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