Ecuador coach Gustavo Alfaro said the opening match against Qatar will be approached with extreme importance, in light of a change in the schedule of the 2022 World Cup.
Speaking to FIFA+, the four-time FIFA World Cup commentator said the match against Qatar is a “massive privilege” as he has sacrificed a lot to make it to this moment.
“It’s our reward, and that’s how we’ve got to treat the game and just go out and enjoy the privilege of being involved in the opening match at the World Cup… it’ll be like a cup final for us because it’ll have a big bearing, both for ourselves and Qatar, on how the group pans out. We’ve got to take that level of enjoyment into the game, but also approach it with a sense of responsibility,” Alfaro said.
The former Argentine footballer believes both teams hold similarities since Qatar and Ecuador are inexperienced in the FIFA World Cup. Additionally, Alfaro commented on the young roster that both groups share.
The average age of Qatar’s squad is 26 years old, ranking it the 10th youngest team at the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Ecuador’s national team is the second youngest team behind the United States, at 25 years old.
This will mark the fourth appearance by the Ecuadorian national team, with their best performance in 2006 after being eliminated in the round of 16.
Qatar will face Ecuador on 20 Sunday November at 19:00 as part of a stand-alone event.
The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 match schedule and the competition regulations have been amended accordingly.
Qatar will see the world’s biggest footballing tournament come to the Middle East for the first time ever.