Qatar has earned the unfortunate distinction of becoming the first FIFA World Cup host nation to lose the opening game of the tournament in history.
They suffered a 2-0 loss against Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium in what was their first ever game at a FIFA World Cup.
The controversial game got sports fans talking after contentious VAR call with Ecuador saw their opening goal ruled out for offside.
With just three minutes on the clock, Ecuador won a free kick inside the Qatari half.
From the resulting kick, Enner Valencia was found in space to head in the first goal of the 2022 World Cup.
After the lengthy VAR check, the goal was ruled out due to offside.
But many fans felt Ecuador were hard done by as the replay doesn’t show a clear breach of the offside rule.
Either way, it made no difference to Qatar's score of zero.
Qatar's side, despite spending seven months together honing their skills in a pre-tournament training camp under the watchful eye of Spanish coach Felix Sanchez, froze in front of crowds.
The more disciplined team of Ecuador proceeded to run rings around them, hinting that they might pose a challenge to the more high-profile sides in the coming weeks.
NPR reported that although footballers ran onto the pitch in front of bustling crowds, fans began to empty the stadium midway through the second half.
Qatar’s Spanish coach Felix Sanchez spoke to the press following Qatar's blistering defeat.
"Truth be told, I have enough work to do to take a look at it," Sanchez said of the empty seats, as per Seven News.
"We felt backed and supported and we hope for the next game, people will feel prouder and keep supporting us to the end of the tournament.
"The atmosphere was great, people were very much looking forward to this game."
Qatar will next take on Senegal in Group A on Friday, on the same day Ecuador faces off with the Netherlands.
Featured Image Credit: Foto Arena LTDA / Alamy. UK Sports Pics Ltd / Alamy.
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