Every football player when they start playing the game thinks of many things that they want to achieve in their careers.
Perhaps it is about playing for Real Madrid or Barcelona. Maybe it is scoring a 100 goals and winning the prestigious Ballon d’Or.
Or, it could be about playing for their childhood club and lifting the Champions League trophy.
Footballing dreams could be 100 different things, for 100 different players.
It is indeed, a very subjective matter.
But the one ultimate dream that almost every football player shares, is to represent their country at the FIFA World Cup!
(Perhaps even win it!)
That is the one dream every football player has on their mind when growing up.
They can have 10 other footballing dreams but the pinnacle will always be representing the country at the World Cup.
Once every four years is how the World Cup works, so a player gets only have a handful of editions they can eye.
The rarity of chance is what makes it even more special.
With that said…
In a few days’ time, many such players will be playing the most important matches of their lives, because the World Cup in Qatar is about to be kick started!
And the one dream that every footballer dreams about, is about to became reality for the lucky few who got the call up and will represent their country at the grandest stage.
Can’t quite call it a summer carnival, can we? As it is the first time a World Cup will be held in Winter months.
Bang in the middle of domestic seasons, this World Cup has had its fair share of criticism.
But the unusual timing is the least of its problems.
Corruption, death of a million migrant workers, and the tight rules of host city Qatar have been the major talking points in the build up to this World Cup.
Many nations have gone to put articulated statements and have altered their jerseys to protest against the problems of this World Cup.
FIFA on the other hand has plainly told the nations to concentrate on football and leave politics aside.
And of course they received backlash!
So with only a handful days to go, the build up to this World Cup has been rather negative and dull.
But here is hoping that once the ball is kicked and the players take the centre stage, everything else will take the back seat and all would become about the players, the intense matches, and the actual football on the pitch.
Hopeful the atmosphere and feel around this World Cup will get better as the football starts.
And the football starts with hosts Qatar taking on the South American side Ecuador on 20th of November!
Maybe not all star studded, but perhaps the context that it is the opening match of the World Cup, will give this contest many eyes on the television set!
Here is what we think about the opening match up! And some betting odds to go with!
Preview and Betting Odds
The first-ever Middle Eastern World Cup hosts have won five straight matches against teams like Panama and Albania, and they’ll be eager to pick up at least a point here before facing Senegal and the Netherlands, two more difficult opponents.
Qatar will consider Ecuador to be the group’s weakest opponent, but any team that advances from the South American qualifying tournament should really be regarded as a good side.
Since the World Cup qualification, results have not been quite as impressive, but La Tri will be just as confident as the hosts of a strong start.
After dismantling the team when he took over in 2020, head coach Gustavo Alfaro has put his faith in a new generation of Ecuador players and will be in charge of one of the youngest squads at the World Cup.
However, recent games have not seen many goals.
This match could be tight with few chances for goals, especially given that opening games at World Cup are notoriously cagey. If the World Cup begins with a whimper rather than a bang, don’t be shocked!
Let’s have a look at what the Betting Odds say shall we.
Full time result odds (1×2 odds)
The odds that the home side will come away with a victory are 3.54 while those of a win for Ecuador are at 2.55.
The chances that the match will end in a stalemate stand at 3.33.
The odds are really favouring an Ecuador win and that is within reason!
Ecuador is the favourite to win the opening game despite Qatar having the home field advantage.
Given the contradictory actions from both parties, the outcome of this meeting won’t be as straightforward. A string of draws on both sides raises more questions about their skills.
The visitors, who are coming in on a six-match winning streak, have impressed with victories over Nigeria and Cape Verde.
However, they were defeated 4-3 in Doha in their lone matchup with the Maroons. Despite this, the Tricolors possess the personnel and form necessary to defeat the World Cup hosts!
Ecuador is simply the stronger side! (Hence the favourites.)
If we were to consider the line of 2.5, the odds of Over are at 2.75 while those of Under are at 1.57.
So the markets suggests that the match is likely to have over 3 goals or more in this contest.
Will that actually be the case? Will Ecuador really win as it is the favourite? Or will the hosts surprise us all?
Find all the answers on 20th of November when the grandest sporting event of the year kickstarts!
The World Cup is about to begin and we can’t wait!