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

The wait for the FIFA World Cup 2022 opener is almost over. Here are some of the key battles between Qatar and Ecuador.

File photo of Ecuador national football team's training session; Credit: Twitter/@LaTri
By annirudh bhalla | Nov 18, 2022 | 3 Min Read follow icon Follow Us


The biggest football event in the world is just round the corner with the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar about to start. It is a unique tournament with the World Cup being held mid season and in the winter for the very first time. However, the excitement and curiosity levels are no less than before. The campaign promises lots of mouth watering action, spectacular goals and plays and at the end countless unforgettable memories.

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The hosts, Qatar will be playing it’s first ever World Cup match on Sunday in the opener against Ecuador. After a controversial build-up, the tournament is all set to be kickstarted and already all the involved parties are engaged in fulfilling their various respective roles. Here are some of the key battles to look out for in the game between Qatar and Ecuador.

Almoez Ali vs Piero Hincapie

A lot of Qatar’s hopes in the World Cup rest on their forward line and Almoez Ali in particular. The centre forward plays for Al Duhail in Qatari Super League. He is also his nation’s one of the chief creative outlets. Undoubtedly, a lot of weights will be on the shoulders of the guy who was also the top scorer of the 2019 Asian Cup.

The task to limit Ali will be undoubtedly handed out to Bayer Leverkusen’s Piero Hincapie. The 20 year old who made his debut for national team just over a year back has quickly made himself a regular in the national team setup. Hincapie has been a crucial part of the Ecuador defense which hasn’t conceded a goal in their last five matches.

Abdelkarim Hassan vs Enner Valencia

Although, Qatar have displayed some promising football in recent times, they haven’t escaped criticisms about their shaky defence. Some of the highlights of these complaints was the fact that the backline often was caught out of shape. In such times, a bulk of the responsibility will be on Abdelkarim Hassan who has been a crucial player for Qatar including their 2019 Asian Cup glory.

Just as the defensive woes have troubled Qatar, offensive limitations have been a major issue for Ecuador. Although, rock solid in defense in their last five matches, Ecuador have found the back of the net only twice in their last five outings. Enner Valencia who is one of the few players in the squad to have experienced World Cup football before will be the focal point in 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 midfield quality, often underrated but is without a doubt one of the key factors which will decide a lot of fates in 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 a 100 caps for Qatar and might be participating in his last international tournament.

Moises Caicedo has become one of the most promising talents in Europe right now. The Brighton man is already under the radar of various European giants. As a result, he is considered by many as Ecuador’s X-Factor player. A classic box to box midfielder, Caicedo will be a key part in controlling his nation’s play.



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