Qatar wanted to make football history. It’s done. Not since 2006, and since the tradition of starting the host country’s team, had the latter lost in the first game. Sportingly, there was really no match. Quickly, Ecuador put his foot on the ball and impact in duels. And the beautiful mirage of the desert has disappeared. It is not enough to naturalize players, align them together in the local league and offer them exceptional working conditions to form a world-class team. To keep the pressure going when the whole world is watching, you need experience that can’t be bought.
He was the first goalkeeper Saad Alsheeb to make two holes in three seconds and allowed Valencia to open the scoring (3rd). But after long talks, the goal was disallowed due to a slight offside by the sole. In the stands, on the Qatari side, we don’t seem to understand the rule and a bewildered silence follows the annulment of the goal. However, a few minutes earlier there were hundreds of them, behind the Qatar goal, perfectly imitating the choreography of the ultras in Europe: songs, collective movements. But it all felt too formulaic and too perfectly aligned to be honest. Like these copies of the Mona Lisa, well imitated but not the size of the original: we smile a little embarrassed without believing it for a second.
On the lawn, the Ecuadorians didn’t care for impersonations. They played their football without genius but effective enough to make a difference. And it was Enner Valencia who took care of everything. First from a penalty obtained and converted by the Fenerbahce striker (0-1, 16′), then a nice uncrossed header after receiving a cross from Preciado (0-2, 31′). Surprisingly, an hour from the end, a few hundred spectators, dressed in white thobes, were seen leaving the stadium. Without anger but tired under the surprised eyes of the rest of the spectators. “It doesn’t matter, explains one of them as he comes out of Al-Bayt Stadium, I mainly came to see the opening ceremony. »
And suddenly the atmosphere in the stadium died down and cooled down. Surprising side effect of football in a country where everything is left on and where the air conditioning is constantly used to lower temperatures. After this initial failure against the team considered to be the most likely for them, Qatar, who are then faced with Senegal and then the Netherlands, must now consider avoiding zero points. It’s not exactly local custom to agree to finish last.
In the official gallery, the immense American actor Morgan Freeman, who had come to attend the opening ceremony, silently contemplated the spectacle. By enlisting him, the Qataris must have remembered his role Million Dollar Baby by Clint Eastwood. But, given the level of play offered by the local selection for his entry to the World Cup, it is impossible not to mention another of the actor’s great achievements: Bonfire of the Vanities…