The first match of the World Cup is finally here as hosts Qatar take on Ecuador. A host nation has never lost its opening game at such a tournament, and the first Arab hosts will want to continue that run.
The build-up to this game and the tournament as a whole has been littered with controversy, and FIFA president Gianni Infantino set a chaotic tone with a press conference on Saturday, which turned into a rambling tirade against the western media in the face of criticism of both the governing body and Qatar as hosts.
But now it is time for the football, almost 12 years to the day since Qatar were awarded the right to host. You can follow the first game of the World Cup 2022 live below with our dedicated match blog, featuring expert insight and analysis from Malik Ouzia at the ground.
Qatar vs Ecuador latest news
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Ecuador team news
Ecuador, meanwhile, have the kind of midfield many teams in the tournament will envy. Brighton’s Moises Caicedo is a standout, while Angel Mena, Jeremy Sarmiento and Ayrton Preciado provide added quality.
Carlos Gruezo is also a doubt after he limped out of Augsburg’s defeat to Bochum in the Bundesliga. Sarmiento, meanwhile, has been suffering with his own issue of late.
Deployed in various systems, ranging from 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3 and 4-4-1-1, this a tactically versatile side who place great importance on their full-backs.
Qatar team news
Qatar have largely operated in a 5-3-2 system, with the experienced Akram Afif and Almoez Ali leading the line.
Coach Felix Sanchez Bas has built his side on consistency and coherence since his appointment and it would be a major surprise to see him deviate from that.
Where to watch
TV channel: In the UK, the World Cup opener will be broadcast live free-to-air on BBC One, with coverage starting at 3pm.
Live stream: Coverage is also available online via the BBC Sport website and BBC iPlayer.
Here we go
It’s finally here. The first game of the World Cup in Qatar kicks off at 4pm GMT as the hosts take on Ecuador.
First up at the 60,000-capacity Al Bayt Stadium will be the opening ceremony.
The stadium is one of seven built since Qatar won the right to hosts and it is named and designed after the tents used by nomads in the Gulf. It also has a retractable roof.