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Qatar become first hosts to lose the FIFA World Cup opening match

Posted: Sunday, November 20, 2022. 2:18 pm CST.

Photo Credit: FIFA

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: Qatar have become the first hosts to lose a World Cup opening match. Out of the 22 World Cups up to date, the hosts have only played in eleven of them and had never lost.

Until today when Qatar fell 2-0 to Ecuador. The Ecuadorians celebrated effusively (see photo) after the match. After all, while Qatar are the first hosts to lose in the opener, the Ecuadorians are the first to beat the hosts in a World Cup opening match.

The first time the hosts played in an opening match was in Italy 1934, the second World Cup. In effect, eight opening matches were played at the same time then, with Italy routing the United States 7-1 in Rome.

In 1950, Brazil blanked Mexico 4-0 in Río de Janeiro.

Sweden won 3-0 over Mexico in Solna in 1958, the year that Edson Arantes do Nascimento, better known as Pelé, stole the show.

Chile beat Switzerland 3-1 four years later in Santiago. That year also featured three other matches played at the same time. That was the last time multiple matches were played on opening day.

In 1966, England drew 0-0 with Uruguay at Wembley Stadium in London.

In 1970, Mexico played to a 0-0 stalemate against the Soviet Union at the Azteca Stadium in Mexico City. That’s the year Brazil won the World Cup for the third time and gained sole possession of the Jules Rimet Cup, which preceded the FIFA World Cup trophy.

The hosts didn’t open the World Cup during the next eight editions as it became customary for the defending World Champions to open the tournaments.

The hosts playing in the opening match became the norm over the last six editions.

In 2006, Germany doubled up on Costa Rica 4-2 in Munich.

South Africa drew 1-1 with Mexico in Johannesburg in 2010.

That was followed in 2014 with Brazil defeating Croatia 3-1 in Sao Paulo.

And four years ago in 2018, Russia walked over Saudi Arabia 5-0.

And today, Ecuador became the first country to beat the hosts in a first game.


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