What thrill is hidden in the opening match of the World Cup?
Not many football fans are looking forward to watching the Qatar-Ecuador match if not the opening match of the World Cup. If Qatar had not been the host country, FIFA would have struggled to sell tickets for this match. Asian Cup champions Qatar has never played in a World Cup before, while Ecuador has never been a very attractive World Cup team.
But the whole world will be watching this match.
The opening match of the World Cup has a different kind of magic.
Football lovers are waiting to see if that magic will be found in the Qatar-Ecuador match today. In the Russia-Saudi Arabia match in the 2018 World Cup, the hosts overwhelmed Saudi Arabia. Even though the match was one-sided with a 5-0 victory, Russia was able to make the general audience happy. Five goals in one match are not seen very often in the World Cup.
If you buy tickets and go to the stadium or sit in front of the television and see five goals, then what’s wrong? The audience wants to see something like that in the Qatar-Ecuador match today. However, if both teams can turn the match into a goal-fest instead of being one-sided, then gold will be awarded.
No one should forget that match between Germany and Costa Rica in the opening match of the in Germany in 2006. Although Germany won 4-2, the six-goal match thrilled football fans.
When it comes to thrills, the thrills of the opening match of the 1990 Italy have not come much in the history of the World Cup. Argentina, who won 1986 under the spell of Diego Maradona, played Cameroon in the opening match of 1990 at Milan’s San Siro stadium. Everyone was counting how many goals Maradona, Buruchaga, and Caniziad’s Argentina would score against the African country.
But the scenario is completely different from the start of the match. The indomitable lions of Africa, who caught Argentina with a death bite, left the field with a victory at the end of that day. Cameroon beat Maradona’s Argentina 1-0 with Guam Beik’s goal despite being reduced to 9 men after two red cards.
Whether or not the ’90 World Cup produced the most thrilling opening match in history is debatable. However, the opening match of the joint arrangement between Japan and South Korea in 2002 will compete with the opening match of Milan. Zinedine Zidane’s France was beaten 1-0 by another African team, Senegal, in Seoul that day. Papa Bouba Diop was the hero of that adventure.
These two matches will undoubtedly occupy separate places in the history of World Cup opening matches. A world champion’s loss against a so-called weak, newbie team, even in the opening match, has not been such a dramatic start to a World Cup. In 1982 as well, Argentina, who won the 78, lost on an opening day. Losing 1-0 against Belgium was also a thrilling match for the audience.
It has long been a tradition for the champion team to play the opening match. From 1974 to 2002, the champions played in the opening match of the World Cup. After 2006 that custom was changed.
Before 1974, however, there was no restriction on the opening match of the World Cup. The host team took place in the opening match instead of the champion team. In 2006, Germany gave a great match against Costa Rica as hosts, as already mentioned. However, in 2014, the host Brazil could have been a victim of the incident.
Despite falling behind to Marcelo’s own goal against Croatia, Brazil eventually won 3-1 thanks to Neymar’s brace. However, four years ago (2010) the South Africa-Mexico match did not offer anything special other than the interest of the opening match.
Argentina lost twice as champions in the opening match. Brazil drew goalless with Yugoslavia in 1974. However, in 1998, playing as the 1994 winner, Brazil beat Scotland 2-1.
West Germany in 1978 and Italy in 1986 are among the teams that did not win the next World Cup as champions. 1990 winners Germany beat Bolivia 1-0 in the opening match of the 1994 World Cup. From the 1966 World Cup to 1978, every opening match was a draw.
If Argentina-Belgium in 1982, the Argentina-Cameroon match in 1990, France-Senegal match in 2002 are the opening matches of the three best thrills in World Cup history, then the Germany-Costa Rica match in 2006 is one of the matches with the most goals in the opening day of the World Cup.
Earlier, Germany beat Belgium 5-2 in the ‘only’ match on the opening day of the 1934 World Cup. But till now the match with the most goals on the opening day of the World Cup was also in 1934. Italy beat the United States 7-1.
From 1930 to 1970, except in 1938, multiple matches were held on the opening day of the World Cup every time. Four years ago (2018), Russia defeated Saudi Arabia 5-0 in one of the ‘one-piece’ opening matches in history.
The Qatar-Ecuador match will go down in history tonight. Let it create a history of drama and excitement, this is what football fans want. Witnessing thrilling history is also something special.