The FIFA World Cup in Qatar is finally upon us after years of anticipation, and the hosts will take on Ecuador in the opening soccer game of the competition this Sunday.
It's the first time ever that Qatar will take place in soccer's ultimate competition, while Ecuador compete at a World Cup for the fourth time in their history after previous appearances in 2002, 2006, and 2014.
We'll take a look at this historic game between two of the soccer world's minnows and provide you with the best free soccer picks for the clash to see if we can earn you some extra cash for the holiday period.
Let's have a look at the current World Cup odds.
|FIFA World Cup 2022|
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Qatar vs Ecuador information
- Sunday, November 20, 2022
- Al Bayt Stadium, Qatar
- 11:00 ET kick-off
- Qatar FIFA World Cup 2022 Group A
Qatar vs Ecuador odds
- Qatar (+245)
- Ecuador (+144)
- Tie (+216)
Despite the home crowd advantage and the historical story behind this game, Qatar come into this game as underdogs in their first-ever World Cup clash.
Qatar, coached by Felix Sanchez, have had a tough run of fixtures in the build-up to the tournament. They managed a win against Ghana A back in August but since suffered defeats to Croatia Under-23's and Canada while drawing with Jamaica and most recently, Chile.
The dangerous Almoez Ali will be the main man that they rely on for goals in attack. He has managed 42 goals in 85 games for his national team.
Ecuador on the other hand, come into this game as favorites, despite managing just one win in their last five games and scoring only one goal in that time. Defensively they have been impressive though, keeping five consecutive clean sheets.
They managed a 1-0 win against Cape Verde, with four 0-0 draws against Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Japan and Iraq in their last five games showing exactly where their strengths and weaknesses are.
Their star man will no doubt be Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo who has established himself as one of the best box-to-box midfielders in the English Premier League, while striker Enner Valencia has experience at the highest level too.
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Soccer picks: Back the Unders!
This game will no doubt be entertaining because the level of quality on the pitch will be low, but the stakes will be high, and both teams will feel this is their best chance of getting a win in the group stages.
Having been grouped with the Netherlands and Senegal, it will only be more difficult for either team to find success in the other games, and that means they're likely to be more attacking.
But with that said they also will be aware that they must be solid defensively or risk being carved open and losing the game too.
With Ecuador's sensational defensive record of six consecutive clean sheets, they will know that they are more than capable of keeping out a struggling Qatar side. But their lack of goals, with just two in those same six games scored, means Qatar are likely to feel similarly.
Both Qatar and Ecuador like to pack the midfield and tend to rely on some individual brilliance for their goals. Because of that, it's worth backing the Under 2.5 goals mark to be safe, but if you really want to push the boat out go for Under 1.5 goals because there won't be much going on in either penalty area in this game.
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Soccer picks: Ecuador won't lose
The South American side are well versed in defending stringently and against a team that severely lack quality in attack and have never faced competition with the stakes this high that bodes well for them.
Obviously, playing in the opening game against the host nation means they will be under big pressure, with the fans loud and keen to make as much of an impact on the game as possible, but it will be incredibly difficult to do so here.
The conditions won't be a big deal for Ecuador, with them being used to the extreme heat, and they have better individuals on the ball too.
Manager Gustavo Alfaro will look to start fast and strong to silence those fans but will also be sure to be as strong as he can at the back to keep them out of the running.
The likes of Caicedo, Pervis Estupinan, and Michael Estrada have got more than enough quality to be able to make their impact on this game and secure the win.
However, it cannot be ruled out that they struggle against a highly motivated Qatari soccer side and find themselves struggling to open them up and create chances.
Them winning the game is far from a sure thing, but I feel confident enough to say that they won't lose the game and therefore, Ecuador/Draw double chance is arguably the safest bet of the night.
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