The World Cup opens with the host country Qatar facing Ecuador

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  • The World Cup opens with the host country Qatar facing Ecuador

    Al Bayt Stadium where the will play the opening day between Qatar and Ecuador.

Given the level of focus on the Qatari regime, its attitudes towards the Despite human rights, immigrant workers, the LGBTQ community and beer, the World Cup host soccer team has flown under the radar.

Qatar opens the tournament against Ecuador on Sunday, but even preparations for that match have been overshadowed by Friday's announcement that it will be banned. the sale of beer within the grounds of the stadium.

The World Cup is a source of immense national pride for Qatar as it seeks to raise its profile on the world stage and move towards modernization. But what about the team?

Qatar has never appeared in a World Cup before and faces a huge challenge just to get out of Group A, which also includes Senegal and the Netherlands. South Africa in 2010 is the only host nation that failed to achieve the highest ranking. I'm going to get past the group stage, so avoiding sharing that distinction would be a success in itself.

Sunday may be Qatar's best hope for a win against a team from Ecuador that is in the thick of it. just five places above No. 44 in the FIFA rankings.

Qatar's preparation for this tournament has spanned several years, including participation in the 2019 Copa América and 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup. But it was victory in the 2019 Asian Cup that provided ; This is evidence of the country's potential for a coup in the coming weeks.

That continental title was devised by the coach Félix Sánchez, who has held the position since 2017 and before that he was in charge of the U-19 team. The 46-year-old Spaniard learned how to learn. She learned her craft at the famed Barcelona academy and her impact has been remarkable, with the Asian Cup success her highlight.

“We try to maintain normality,” Sánchez told the Spanish sports daily Marca. “We already know that this pressure exists, and we don't have to add to it. We have our routine. We try to isolate ourselves from the noise around us and focus on getting our best performance.

“It's difficult because then you go to the countryside and you see 60,000 people. It's the first game of a World Cup and there's so much expectation that it's hard, but that experience will help them”.

Ecuador will wait for He was going to crash the party, and has been talked about as a possible surprise package. But the team is headed to the World Cup due to doubts over whether it would be allowed to compete after claiming it fielded the best. to an ineligible player during qualification.

Chile and Peru; They argued that defender Byron Castillo was actually Colombian and played the game. illegally in qualifying matches. That claim was rejected by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

Ecuador kept its place in the World Cup, but three points will be deducted before the match. start of qualification for the 2026 competition due to its use of false information about Castillo's birthday and birthplace in its procedures to grant him a passport.

Castillo was left behind. He will then be out of coach Gustavo Alfaro's 26-man squad for Qatar.

With so much focus off the pitch for both teams, Sunday's opener will bring a lot of attention. I turned the conversation back to soccer.

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