- What: Qatar vs. Ecuador -- 2022 FIFA World Cup, Group A
- When: Sunday, November 20, 2022, at 11:00 a.m. EST
- Where: Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar
The first match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup is set to take place on Sunday, with host country Qatar set to take on Ecuador to usher in the group stages of soccer's biggest tournament. Ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup showdown, we'll size up the two squads and make a betting pick for the game. Before diving into the action, refresh your soccer betting skills with our FIFA World Cup betting guide, as well as our soccer betting guide, which is full of useful information.
Qatar vs. Ecuador World Cup odds
|Qatar||+0.5 (-115)||+235||Over 2 (-125)|
|Ecuador||-0.5 (-105)||+130||Under 2 (+105)|
Heading into Sunday's tournament debut matchup, it's the visitors who are considered favorites. Ecuador enters play with (+130) odds to win in regulation, while Qatar boasts (+235) odds to win, considered slightly less likely than a draw at (+205). The game doesn't figure to be very high-scoring, with just 2 goals predicted in total. With the spread set at -0.5 for Ecuador, the books envision a close game with an edge for the Ecuadorian side.
Why Qatar can win
This will be Qatar's first-ever appearance at the World Cup, and given that they will be hosting the tournament, there will be some added motivation for the national team to get a strong result in its first game. With history on the line, the Qatar squad will have a chip on its shoulder as it looks to pull off the upset win in front of its home supporters, hopeful of kicking off the international festivities with a bang.
In order to get its desired results at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Qatar will be leaning on its most experienced players. The most capped player in the history of Qatar football, and also the international team captain, Hassan Al-Haidos will be leading the team throughout the tournament. With 169 international caps under his belt, there's perhaps no better leader for the squad heading into the World Cup.
In addition to Al-Haidos' work in the midfield, longtime Qatar goalkeeper Saad Al-Sheeb will be in the net for the country, offering a reliable hand between the goalposts in order to help shore up the defense. He's plenty experienced with 76 caps for Qatar, and will be working closely with key defenseman Abdelkarim Hassan, the team's second most-capped player (130).
With plenty of experience as a team, though not so much on the World Cup stage, Qatar will hope to carry its recent form from friendly matches straight into soccer's biggest stage. Qatar is unbeaten in its past five games, with one draw and four victories during that span.
Why Ecuador can win
This will be Ecuador's fourth trip to the World Cup, and all of them have come since 2002. Despite not qualifying in 2018, Ecuador will be hoping for a strong showing in Group A, where they're paired with the likes of Qatar, Senegal, and the Netherlands. Favorites against host nation Qatar, Ecuador will be looking to get off on a strong foot on Sunday.
Ecuador will be led by Enner Valencia, the nation's most-capped player at the tournament. With 70 games for Ecuador under his belt, Valencia will look to aid some of his less experienced teammates as they navigate the World Cup stage. He's also the nation's all-time leading goalscorer with 35, a tally he'll hope to add to. He'll be joined by Brighton Hove Albion tandem Moises Caicedo and Pervis Estupinian, both of whom have impressed in the Premier League this year, among other talented players.
These two teams have squared off just once in their history, with the result going in favor of Qatar in a 4-3 win. The high-scoring match was a disappointing result for Ecuador, who will be keen on exacting revenge when the games actually count for something. Of Ecuador's previous five games, there has only been one goal scored in TOTAL. In addition to four separate 0-0 draws against Japan, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Mexico, Ecuador earned a 1-0 victory against Cape Verde.
Defense will be the name of the game for the Ecuadorians as they look to pick up a win in Qatar at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. While their last meeting saw seven goals scored between the two sides, that was a very out-of-character result for the Ecuadorian side, who typically manage to keep opponents off the score sheet while struggling to produce much offense themselves.
For better or for worse, the Ecuador team has made its name through its smothering defense and low-scoring games. I firmly believe the most recent meeting between these two teams was an outlier in terms of goal output, and both teams will be more determined to play lockdown defense now that the stakes are raised. I'm not expecting a high-scoring game during the first game of the World Cup, and as such, I'm going to back the UNDER of 2.0 goals in this one at (+105).
Ecuador's recent run of goalless draws is simply too eye-opening to ignore heading into this matchup, and I believe it will be the Ecuadorians who dictate the pace of the game. Because of that, in my eyes, this matchup has the makings of a 1-0 victory in favor of Ecuador.
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