'A historic moment' - Qatar manager Sanchez looking forward to 'extraordinary day' as hosts prepare for World Cup opener

Felix Sanchez QatarGetty
  • Qatar set to open tournament vs Ecuador
  • Will be nation's first-ever World Cup game
  • Sanchez says it's an 'important day'

WHAT HAPPENED? Qatar are set to play their first-ever World Cup match on Sunday as the hosts kick off the 2022 tournament against the Ecuadorians. Manager Sanchez has expressed his excitement at opening the tournament, which has been 12 years in the making.

WHAT HE SAID: Speaking ahead of the game, Sanchez told reporters: "It's a very important day for us. A historic moment, a moment of happiness for us. It's an extraordinary day like no other. We have made such a huge effort in this country. We are all devoted for this World Cup and have invested so much. I'm happy to be the ones kicking off this competition.

"We are very motivated to take part. We have been waiting so long for this moment to arrive. We are very much aware of who we are, where we are coming from and who we are facing. We know it will be a great challenge but in many ways we are eager to play and are very happy to be here."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: The Qatari national team has undergone an outstanding transformation since they were awarded the World Cup. The team placed 113th in the world in 2010, but enter the tournament inside the top 50 as they are ranked 50th in the FIFA world rankings. As well as Ecuador they will face the Netherlands and Senegal in Group A.


Felix Sanchez QatarGettyFIFA World CupGetty

DID YOU KNOW? Qatar took part in the 2019 Copa America and the 2021 CONCAF Gold Cup.

WHAT NEXT FOR QATAR? The hosts kick off the tournament on Sunday against Ecuador at the Al Bayt Stadium.