After an opulent show in the desert stadium, the World Cup hosts Qatar lost the opening game 0:2 against Ecuador. Even before the final whistle the spectator stands were empty, and a performance by FIFA President Gianni Infantino also caused irritation. The international press writes about this:
"Marca": "With money they managed to cool down, but not how to play football well. (...) In elite football it's almost impossible without talent. And if there was any doubt about that, then the World Cup needed, the most demanding and spectacular sporting competition in the world, three minutes to recall."
"El País": "The Emir of Qatar opens the tournament and celebrates the "diversity" in a box with hardly any women."
'L'Equipe': "Qatar doesn't really have the level to play a part in their World Cup and a lot of their crowd didn't come back in the second half. A crazy opening."
"Kronen-Zeitung" [on Infantino's statement that he had experienced discrimination because of his red hair]: "A sentence that is a mockery for the persecuted minorities and oppressed women. Inappropriate and self-important. (...) For a number of Qatar critics However, one thing is certain: the low point is already reached before the first game kicks off."
"Daily Mirror": "Enner Valencia shone even brighter than the Opening Ceremony light show as Ecuador beat hosts Qatar in their first game. (...) Qatar need to show something very special in the next two games if they are to win at their home World Cup have any chance of progressing at all."
"Telegraph": "Qatar offers a perfect example of sportswashing in its opening ceremony. (...) Ultimately, this ceremony was a showcase of a unique encounter between a corrupt, money-obsessed organization and a regime with a medieval approach to civil rights and work safety."
"Guardian": "For Qatar, this was a disappointment with 12 years of preparation. The host country has spent this time building the infrastructure for a World Cup shrouded in controversy and filled with a bitter taste of whatever comes next four weeks will probably never be washed away."
"La Repubblica": "When the announcer proudly announces the 67,000 spectators in the stands of the Al-Bait Stadium, many have long since left. Already at half-time. Qatar started very badly as hosts in the World Cup, the first in their history: that never happened, summarized in the face of the Qatar coach, the Spaniard Felix Sanchez Bas, which he covers with his hand after Enner Valencia's second goal."