Qatar vs Ecuador: What are the key battles to look out for in the FIFA World Cup 2022 opener?


The world’s biggest football event is about to take place as the FIFA World Cup 2022 begins in Qatar. It is a unique tournament, with the World Cup being held in mid-season and in winter for the first time. However, the level of enthusiasm and eagerness is no less than before. The campaign promises lots of mouth-watering action, spectacular goals and plays and countless unforgettable memories at the end.

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Hosts Qatar will play their first World Cup match against Ecuador on Sunday. After a controversial build-up, the tournament is all set to kickstart and already all the involved parties are busy fulfilling their various roles. Here are some of the key battles to watch in the game between Qatar and Ecuador.

Almoez Ali vs Piero Hincapie

A lot of Qatar’s hopes at the World Cup rest on their forward line and Almoez Ali in particular. The Center Forward plays for Al Duhail in the Qatari Super League. It is also one of the leading creative outlets in its country. Undoubtedly, a lot of weight will be on the shoulders of the man who was also the top scorer of the 2019 Asian Cup.

The task of limiting Ali will undoubtedly be handed to Bayer Leverkusen’s Piero Hincapie. The 20-year-old made his debut for the national team just over a year ago and soon established himself as a regular in the national team setup. Hincapie has been a key part of an Ecuador defense that has not conceded a goal in their last five games.

Abdelkarim Hassan vs Enner Valencia

Although Qatar have displayed some promising football in the recent past, they have not been able to escape criticism regarding their shaky defence. Chief among some of these complaints was the fact that the backline was often bent out of shape. In times like these, the onus will be on Abdelkarim Hassan, who has been a key player for Qatar including 2019 Asian Cup glory.

Just as the defensive crisis has plagued Qatar, offensive limitations have been a major issue for Ecuador. Although strong in defense in their last five games, Ecuador have only found the back of the net twice in their last five encounters. Enner Valencia, one of the few players in the squad to have experienced World Cup football before, will be the focal point of the attack. The captain is already the top scorer in Ecuador’s history and will be looking to use his experience to guide his team.

Abdulaziz Hatem vs Moises Caicedo

A lot of football games are won and lost in the middle of the park. The quality of the midfield is often underestimated, but there is no doubt that it is one of the key factors deciding many fortunes at the World Cup. Qatar will be hoping that Abdulaziz Hatem will be able to lead the midfield with his experience. The 32-year-old has over 100 caps for Qatar and could be featuring in his last international tournament.

Moises Caicedo has quickly become one of the most promising talents in Europe at the moment. The Brighton man is already on the radar of various European giants. As a result, many consider him as the X-Factor player of Ecuador. A classic box-to-box midfielder, Kaido will play a key role in controlling his country’s play.

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