It is the first time in World Cup history that a host nation has lost its opening game and Qatar were outclassed throughout, as the 12-year wait to welcome the world seemed to get the best of their players as the team froze.
After having an early goal ruled out by VAR for a marginal, and somewhat bizarre, offside, Enner Valencia slotted home a penalty kick and sent home a header in the first half to give Ecuador a commanding lead.
Ecuador’s captain became their all-time leading goalscorer at the World Cup in the process.
La Tri never looked under pressure, although Qatar did have a big chance at the end of the first half but Almoez Ali put a free header wide from six yards out.
The victory gets Ecuador off and running with three points on the board as they face the Netherlands next in Group A on Friday. Qatar have it all to do as they face reigning African champs Senegal (sans Sadio Mane) on the same day.
Gulf in class clear to see as Valencia provides clinical edge
Everything about this was one-sided. Qatar looked nervous from the start and Ecuador latched onto that indecisiveness and were absolutely ruthless. Ecuador kept things very simple and got crosses into the box and sprung into life when they won the ball back and had real quality with their passing and runs.
Enner Valencia, 33, has been incredible for Fenerbahce this season, scoring 13 goals in 12 appearances to lead the goalscoring charts in Turkey’s top-flight. He provided a cutting edge in the final third and Ecuador’s entire team is set up to counter and try to find Valencia early. They will hope the knee injury he picked up in the first half and tried to run off isn’t too serious as he holds the key to them picking up points against Senegal and the Netherlands to try and get into the last 16. As for Qatar, they have a huge uphill task to get out of the group and it looks like the hosts will be heading out early.