Qatar 2022 Opener Will Be Like A Cup Final For Ecuador: Alfa...| MENAFN.COM

Wednesday, 28 September 2022 08:04 GMT

Qatar 2022 Opener Will Be Like A Cup Final For Ecuador: Alfaro


(MENAFN- The Peninsula) The Peninsula

DOHA: Ecuador coach Gustavo Alfaro has said the opening match of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 against the home side will be of high importance terming it like a Cup final for his side. 

In an interview with FIFA+, the former Argentine footballer said 'it's a massive privilege' for his side to play the opening match of the FIFA World Cup against Qatar on November 20 at the Al Bayt Stadium.

“It'll be like a Cup final for us because it'll have a big bearing, both for ourselves and Qatar, on how the group pans out. We've got to take that level of enjoyment into the game, but also approach it with a sense of responsibility,” said the Ecuador coach. 

Alfaro said he hasn't watched much of Qatar's footage yet to prepare for the opening match.

“There's a time for everything. The Qatar side we come up against won't be the same as the one I watched at the AFC Asian Cup, just like we won't see the same Ecuador team as the one that faced Argentina and Brazil. There'll be changes,” he said. 

“Although the foundations will be the same, it's only now that we'll start to see the sort of side we really are. At this stage, we have to focus more on the things we need to change, improve and what we're looking to do to ensure we head into the game in the best possible shape because how we use the time ahead of us will ultimately determine how we perform against them,” the 59-year-old said before adding the team currently needs to focus on itself.

“At the moment, we still need to be focusing more on ourselves than the opposition because a lot depends on what we do. All of our opponents will present us with stern tests. We face the Asian champions, the CAF Africa Cup of Nations winners and the Netherlands, who in [Louis] van Gaal have a coach who has come in with ambitions of winning the World Cup,” the coach said.“No matter how much we know about Qatar, Senegal and the Netherlands, if we're not at the races in our games, that information will be of no use to anyone. If we're to make the most of that information, we have to make sure we improve as a team.”

Alfaro sees similarities with Group A opponents Senegal and Qatar.

“There are similarities between three of us. Qatar have some young players, but they're not used to performing on the world stage and don't have the experience of competing at this level, and the same can be said of both Ecuador and Senegal.”

“Senegal are a very powerful and tough side, they're the reigning African champions, but they don't have a strong World Cup pedigree either. As for the Netherlands, they've got a very young squad with a lot of quality, but they're a very young side. They've contested World Cup finals in the past, but have always fallen at the final hurdle and this new generation is aiming to put that right,” he added.

Alfaro said hosts Qatar will be best prepared from Group A for the tournament from Group A.

“Of the four teams, Qatar will head into the tournament in the best shape because they'll have had more time to work together. They're currently training together and playing friendlies. I certainly don't expect to see a lack of chemistry from Qatar and they've got an advantage in that regard.”

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