Controversial host Qatar face Ecuador in tournament opener

[World Cup: Viewer’s guide | Group previews | Top 30 players | Power rankings]

The 2022 World Cup is upon us.

The tournament kicks off on Sunday with hosts Qatar against Ecuador. That’s the only game of the day ahead of three games on Monday with the opening round of Group A concluding and the first two matches in Group B.

Qatar, on paper, is a mishmash of naturalized foreigners and nondescript veterans who comprise the worst of the 32 teams at their own tournament. But at the 2019 Asian Cup and as guests at the 2021 Gold Cup, they punched above their weight. So, will they get embarrassed? Or will years of Qatari government investment in soccer — much of it to ensure they don’t

get embarrassed — pay off?

(Note: Odds from BetMGM.)

Qatar vs. Ecuador betting preview

11 a.m. ET Sunday, Fox Sports 1

  • Qatar to win (+220)

  • Ecuador to win (+140)

  • Tie (+210)

Qatar’s big moment is here. We wouldn’t be totally surprised if Qatar was buoyed by adrenaline and won the first game of this World Cup. But we’ve got our eye on the over/under. The total is extremely low for good reason. And we like it to go under at +140. Ecuador’s last three games have finished at 0-0 and you have to go back seven games to find an Ecuador match that had more than one goal.

Qatar vs. Ecuador live updates

Qatar’s controversial World Cup kicks off Sunday as the host country meets Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium. (Photo by Hector Vivas – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)