The Maroon of Qatar will look forward to amassing the three points when they lock horns with Ecuador in the opening match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor on Sunday, November 20. This is going to be the host nation's first ever appearance at the World Cup at senior level. Their opponent's have been at the Mundial four times, their debut being in the Japan/South Korea edition in 2002. Ecuador's best performance was the round of 16 berth they secured in 2006. Whiles Qatar qualified as host nation, Ecuador finished fourth in the South American qualifying zone with 24 points from 18 games. The game on Sunday promises to be very exciting as both countries had ample preparations. Qatar played nine friendly games in 2022. They won two, drawn five and lost two. The South Americans have also been involved in 10 games in 2022 winning two, drawing seven and losing one. On paper, both teams are almost at par, judging from the games they played in 2022 and their output. In terms of experience, Ecuador are ahead of Qatar with a couple of their players including Enner Valencia having tasted World Cup action previously. The home fans and the zeal of the Qatari players could be the catalyst for the team to excel. Since the format in opening games of the World Cup was changed in 2006 and host nation's were allowed to set the ball rolling, no host country has ever lost a first match. Germany beat Costa Rica 4-2 in 2006, in 2010 South Africa drew 1-1 with Mexico, Brazil beat Croatia 3-1 in 2014 and in 2018, Russia humiliated Saudi Arabia 5-0. Qatar will not want to destroy this home team opening day record. Players to watch -Hasan Khalid Al Haydos The Al Sadd forward is the skipper of the Qatari national team and remains one of their best players. He has played all his club football for Al Sadd where he is a club legend. On the international scene, he made his senior debut for Qatar in 2008 and has gone on to play 169 games scoring 36 goals. The 31-year-old star led Qatar to win the 2019 AFC Asian Cup in United Arab Emirates. He will be instrumental if Qatar are to get the needed points on Sunday. -Mohammed Muntari Muntari was born in the Ghanaian city of Kumasi and played for several Academies in Ghana before moving to Qatar in 2013 to join Al Jaish. He naturalized for Qatar in 2014 and has so far played 48 games scoring 13 goals. Standing at 6 feet 4 inches tall, Muntari is a striker who is very deadly in the air. Most of his goals are scored with with his head. He will lead the Qatari attack in their quest for World Cup glory. -Enner Valencia The 33-year-old attacker plays his club football for Fenerbahce in Turkey. Currently, he is the leading scorer in the Ecuadorian team with 35 goals in 74 games since 2012. Valencia is the main player in attack for Ecuador. Expect the team to flourish if he excels. Pervis Estupinan A talented left-back who plays for Brighton in the English Premier League. On any day, Estupinan can be a nightmare for any player with his speed down the left flank. The 24-year-old lateral defender made his senior debut for Ecuador in 2019 and has gone on to earn 24 caps scoring thrice. Coaches and tactics Ecuador are being handled by 60-year-old Argentine coach Gustavo Julio Alfaro. He has been in charge of Ecuador since August 2020. Alfaro is an attacking minded coach whose preferred formation is 4:3:3. He expects his front three to be mobile whereas the midfield and defense also play it tight without given the opponent any room to operate. Qatar are coached by Spanish tactician Felix Sanchez Bas. The 46-year-old gaffer has previously handled Aspire Academy in Qatar. Sanchez also coached the Qatari national U19 U20 and U23 teams before being handed the senior team in 2017. Sanchez whose best formation is 5:3:2 started his coaching career at Barcelona and is well versed in attacking football.