Ecuador bagged the first goal of the 2022 World Cup, scoring a penalty 16 minutes into the tournament’s opening game against hosts Qatar.
Enner Valencia converted from 12 yards in cucumber-cool fashion, having earlier seen a goal ruled out by VAR (with the help of the new semi-automated offside technology) for a baffling offside decision (opens in new tab).
Valencia – who’s previously played in the Premier League for Everton and West Ham – was brought down by Qatar goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb, leaving referee Daniele Orsato with no choice but to give the foul.
The first goal of the #FIFAWorldCup has come from the penalty spot!#BBCFootball #BBCWorldCup pic.twitter.com/BLnogzARhQNovember 20, 2022
He then doubled his country’s lead with a simply sublime header from Angelo Preciado’s cross just after the half-hour mark.
These were the 33-year-old’s fourth and fifth World Cup goals, following three at the 2014 tournament in Brazil – the previous edition for which Ecuador qualified.
Only one of the past six World Cup curtain-raisers has finished 1-0: Senegal’s shock victory over holders France in 2002.
Enner Valencia at the double!What a header that is! #BBCFootball #BBCWorldCup #FIFAWorldCup pic.twitter.com/K0veh1avAJNovember 20, 2022