The 2022 World Cup is underway, and it’s already a high-pressure street fight

AL BAYT, Qatar – The World Cup is designed to sparkle and shine, and so is its opening ceremony, a glitzy start to football’s glitzy feast of glitz and glam every four years.

So it was on a Sunday, yet don’t be fooled by the show and the fireworks and the jazz, it’s just prelude to get the fans in the mood.

Instead, the true story, what really makes any day of World Cup action unacceptable, is what you find when the layers are peeled back, to the raw, exposed centre, where insecurity and weakness cloud the minds of the players. Sits up, ready to be targeted.

The defeat of host nation Qatar, who lost 2–0 to Ecuador in the first game of 64, was a classic case of a World Cup debutante discovering to their cost that the event was being relaxed and slowly reduced. should not be done. , It lasts a month, but it’s a sprint. In fact, for all the glamor and festivities, each team’s campaign is a dirt, bare-knuckle scrap, an on-the-spot street fight. Weak hearted need not apply.

Qatar vs Ecuador Highlights

Qatar vs Ecuador Highlights

Qatar and Ecuador kick off the 2022 FIFA World Cup in style! Ecuador responded with a penalty kick in the 16th minute through Enner Valencia. That was not the end for Valencia, as he scored his second goal in the 31st minute. In the second half both teams had chances but the score was 2-0 in favor of Ecuador.

The World Cup is all about pressure, relentless and relentless. It’s also about the pain, because it has to be, because no grand prize is worth achieving unless it makes you feel a knot in your stomach and a tight throat when you realize that your greatest The dream will not come true this time.

Qatar didn’t do enough to keep pace with Ecuador, a tough and steely rival who deserved to escape the fury of South America. Perhaps the hosts, who won the Asian Cup in 2019 but have rarely been tested at this level, were a touch overwhelmed by the occasion.

Either way, they benefited from a headed goal by Enner Valencia, which was disallowed for offside in the third minute, but could not prevent Ecuador scoring from the penalty spot on 16 minutes and another header on 31. with.

Ecuador’s Enner Valencia scored in 15′ against Qatar.

Ecuador's Enner Valencia scored in 15' against Qatar.

Watch Ener Valencia of Ecuador score a goal in the 15′ against Qatar at the 2022 Men’s FIFA World Cup.

In a system that places four teams in each group and advances two, you would expect the narrative to move slowly. Generally, this does not happen. Challenges come, thick and fast. One missed opportunity, and you’re close to being eliminated.

“Ecuador outplayed us in every aspect of the game,” Qatar head coach Felix Sanchez told reporters. “We have a lot of room for improvement. No excuses, we started poorly. Had nerves and we felt the responsibility.”

Ecuador’s Ener Valencia scores against Qatar 31′ | Goal scored in 2022 FIFA World Cup

Ecuador's Ener Valencia scores against Qatar 31' |  Goal scored in 2022 FIFA World Cup

Watch Ener Valencia of Ecuador score a goal in the 31st minute against Qatar at the 2022 Men’s FIFA World Cup.

The Qatar team is the first team to feel that sting of disappointment, and it won’t be the last. The tournament is about to hit full flow, with three games set for Monday, including the crucial USA clash in Group B, then four daily, with no rest, between November 22 and December 2.

Big teams, little teams, favorites and unknowns, all of them – except one – will soon find their souls tormented. Lionel Messi, Neymar, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, Harry Kane, Sergio Busquets, Manuel Neuer, Virgil van Dijk; More than one from that illustrious list will leave the Middle East with a smile on his face.

When a team is knocked out of the tournament, all hope is gone with no room for an answer or a miracle.

But almost as stinging is the eye-opening realization that so often befalls rookies and newcomers who come in with such lofty ambitions and must quickly re-evaluate them.

Qatar are not wiped out, but will need to regroup quickly and perhaps beat Senegal on Friday to have a serious chance of advancing. Even the winner finds a thorny road ahead – next up for Ecuador is the Netherlands, seen as one of the teams with the talent and firepower to potentially win it all.

And so, the battle continues. The World Cup – after all this talking and waiting and predicting – is here. A visual spectacle, sure, but also a massive festival of sports disguised as a competition of brutal difficulty.

That’s what makes it so compelling. And that’s why, for players and fans alike, it’s everything.

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Martin Rogers is a columnist for Fox Sports and author of the Fox Sports Insider newsletter. Follow him on Twitter @MRogersFOX And subscribe to the daily newsletter,

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