The World Cup is finally upon us with Game 1 being between the hosts, Qatar, and Ecuador. The two countries will open the festivities with a match on Sunday, November 20. But don’t you dare bet on it until you get our free betting picks on Qatar and Ecuador in this article.
Qatar vs. Ecuador Preview
Both these teams are part of Group A, which also includes the Netherlands and Senegal. The latter two are expected by most to advance to the knockout stage, which makes this opening match all the more important. The two teams are looking for the full three points to boost their advancement options, but is any one of them getting it? We’ll share that shortly but first, let’s preview Qatar vs. Ecuador as a whole.
Ecuador is playing in only its fourth-ever World Cup after finishing fourth in the loaded CONMEBOL. They are currently ranked No. 44 in the world, which puts them slightly higher than Qatar, which as at No. 50. Of course, Qatar did not have to qualify for the tournament, getting an automatic bid due to being the hosts.
Many are going as far as saying Qatar is the weakest host nation of all time. That's probably not an exaggeration as no one on the team plays outside of Qatar's domestic league, which doesn't hold a candle to those found in Europe. Only one other host nation — South Africa in 2010 — has failed to advance from the group stage, but many are penciling in Qatar as the next one already. But hey, home-field advantage is a hell of a thing in the World Cup.
While Qatar might not be battle-tested, Ecuador sure is. CONMEBOL is no joke and "La Tricolor" fared well. They earned a big victory over fellow World Cup team Uruguay, as well as earning draws against the continental powerhouses Brazil and Argentina. We wouldn't overlook Ecuador despite its lack of World Cup history and middling world ranking.
Qatar vs. Ecuador Best Bets
We're going to be making two separate bets on Qatar vs. Ecuador. If you're feeling risky, perhaps parlay them together at a popular World Cup sportsbook. But we're confident in these two results:
Over/Under 2 Goals Scored
|Over 2 goals||-110||-110|
|Under 2 goals||-110||-110|
Let's be real, the pressure is going to be on for both of these teams. Each is inexperienced and as it's the first game of the tournament (and the only one taking place Sunday), the world is literally watching 'em. When pressure enters the equation, mistakes become easier to make. And nothing leads to scoring chances quite like mistakes.
And not only that, but Ecuador is a team built to capitalize on mistakes. The squad is absolutely lethal on the counter-strikes. They're fast on the wings and midfielder Moises Caicedo (who plays in the English Premier League) might be the best playmaker on the field come Sunday. We're pretty confident La Tricolor will have ample chances to score.
What about the Qataris? Admittedly, we're less certain about their offense — mostly because we have no idea what to expect. We're not going to pretend we're all that familiar with its roster since they have very little international exposure. But with a partisan crowd, can they put one into the back of the net? We think so. Look out for captain Hassan Al-Haydos to create the scoring chance.
So all things considered, we're betting the over here. Our prediction is three goals get netted in this one.
Home-field advantage matters, but it's not nearly enough to make up for lackluster depth and talent. We hate to say it, but the Qataris are in for a rude awakening this tourney and that will become apparent on Sunday.
We're betting Ecuador to pull out a 2-1 victory. Never mind Qatari, but this Ecuador team is way better than people credit them for. A lot of their shine has been taken away from off-field controversy with Chile and Peru, who argued the country used an ineligible player (FIFA says it didn't). Regardless, they are a dark horse team to look out for in Group A and are getting our money here.
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