Qatar loses the first match, USA wins the second day

JENNA FRYER is an AP national writer

DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The first FIFA World Cup in the Middle East finally kicked off Sunday night with a colorful opening ceremony and match Qatar — Ecuador without any beer sold at the stadium.

The beer ban imposed two days before the start of the tournament became the latest controversial snag in a global event already under scrutiny over Qatar’s human rights record and the Emirates’ efforts to prepare the nation for the most compact World Cup in history.

And when Qatar lost 2-0 to Ecuador in their opening match the fan zone in central Doha became a chaotic scene when tens of thousands of fans were pushed past the police squad to enter the grounds. Fans tried to enter the closed area, where large screens were placed to watch the matches and buy beer.

People also read…

Qatar is home to 3 million people, most of them migrant workers, and has spent more than $200 billion to develop the entire energy-rich country, which is about the size of Connecticut or the island of Jamaica. Among the additions are seven new purpose-built venues, including the 60,000-seater Al Bait Stadium, which hosted the opening ceremony and first match on Sunday.

Qatar became the first host country to lose its opening match in the 92-year history of the World Cup.

Qatar made its first appearance on the world stage as the host nation, but they were unable to stop Ecuador captain Ener Valencia, who scored both goals in the first half.

Two of the best players in the world were ruled out of the tournament due to injuries before it even started.

Attacking France Karim Benzema, winner of the Ballon d’Or, is out after injuring his left hip during practice on Saturday. Senegal forward Sadio Mane, who finished second to Benzema in the voting for the best player in the world, is out with a leg injury he sustained last week while playing for Bayern Munich.

France midfielders Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante were previously ruled out, along with Germany striker Timo Werner. Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku and South Korean captain Son Heung-min arrived in Qatar with lingering injuries.

The awarding of the World Cup to Qatar was a financial boon for FIFA as football’s governing body said it raked in a record $7.5 billion in revenue over four years of commercial deals tied to this year’s tournament.

Revenue by $1 billion exceeds the profit from the previous commercial cycle of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The extra cash this year has been boosted by local sponsorship deals, including Qatar Energy joining as a major sponsor. Qatari bank QNB and telecommunications company Ooredoo are also sponsors.

New in sponsorship packages this year crypto.comthe first new American sponsor in more than a decade.

The The United States returns to the World Cup after missing the 2018 championship in Russia and starts Monday’s game against Wales under Gareth Bale.

Bale played for Los Angeles FC and helped them win the MLS Cup earlier this month.

The United States has one of the youngest teams in the 32-team tournament. The three Americans — Gio Reina, Joe Scully and Yussuf Musah — were only 11 years old when the team last played at the World Cup.

DeAndre Yedlin, a 29-year-old defenseman, is the lone holdover from the American team that was eliminated by Belgium in the second round eight years ago. Yedlin, Christian Pulisic, Kellyn Acosta and Tim Ream are the only four players who were on the team when it failed to qualify for Russia.

The first full day of competition will also host a Group B match between heavily favored England against Iran at Khalifa International Stadium, and the Netherlands against Senegal at the Al Thumama Stadium in Group A.

England are one of the favorites and were semi-finalists four years ago in Russia and were runners-up at last year’s European Championship. But the Three Lions arrive in Qatar without a win in their last six games, hoping their strong record in recent major tournaments will turn the team around.

Eight of the 13 team captains from European countries planned to wear “One Love” armbands, which promote LGBTQ inclusivity and rights in Qatar, where same-sex relationships are prohibited.

Bale and England striker Harry Kane are among those to wear armbands.

But FIFA kit rules prohibit such headbands. The tournament rules require that “match personnel must wear official clothing and equipment provided by FIFA, including FIFA badges as defined and provided by FIFA.”

If armbands are deemed inappropriate, players wearing them can be fined or shown yellow cards.

The England international has said he is prepared to be fined for wearing an armband, as is Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer. who answered “yes” when asked if he planned to continue the silent protest.

In response, FIFA, in conjunction with the United Nations, launched its own captain’s armband, which will promote a different campaign for each round of the tournament. The theme of the quarterfinals is “no discrimination.” There is no indication that LGBTQ rights will be part of either campaign.

Read on in all 32 teams that will play in the World Cup.

AP World Cup coverage: and

Copyright 2022 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, copied or distributed without permission. Qatar loses the first match, USA wins the second day

Back to top button