World Cup data dive: Valencia makes Ecuador history in nightmare start for hosts

Getty Images

After all the build-up, the World Cup is finally here, and with the opening game of the tournament came a severe reality check for the hosts.

A crowd of over 67,000 descended upon the Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday, the majority hoping to see Qatar build a platform for a successful campaign on home soil, yet they left disappointed.

Qatar were distinctly second-best throughout as Enner Valencia's double guided Ecuador to what could prove to be a crucial victory.

With games against Senegal and the Netherlands to come in Group A, Felix Sanchez's men now look hard pushed to reach the last 16. For Ecuador, meanwhile, things are already looking up.

On a day of firsts in Qatar, Stats Perform is here to delve into the Opta data, highlighting the key facts to emerge from the World Cup's curtain-raiser.

Qatar 0-2 Ecuador: Hosts end 92-year streak as Valencia stars

Qatar began Sunday's game looking to become the first Asian side to win their first ever World Cup match, with 10 of the continent's 11 previous participants having succumbed to debut defeats.

They received a harsh lesson in the realities of elite tournament football as Ecuador dominated from the off, Valencia having a close-range header disallowed for offside before he calmly converted a 16th-minute penalty to open the scoring.

Valencia's effort marked the first time the opening goal at a World Cup has come from the spot, and also represented the first penalty awarded to Ecuador in their 11 World Cup matches.

It also allowed the Fenerbahce forward to make history, becoming his country's top World Cup goalscorer outright, inching him ahead of Agustin Delgado's tally of three goals at the tournament.

Ecuador needed just 15 minutes to double their lead as Valencia nodded home, ensuring his place as the scorer of each of his country's last five World Cup goals.

The former West Ham and Everton forward could now equal the all-time record at the competition, jointly held by Eusebio (Portugal), Paolo Rossi (Italy) and Oleg Salenko (Russia), each of whom were responsible for six consecutive goals scored by their nation at World Cups.

Ecuador then played out an underwhelming second half in comfortable fashion, with a total of just 11 shots being recorded throughout the game – no other World Cup contest since 1966, when such records began, has featured fewer attempts.

The result meant Qatar became the first team in World Cup history to lose their first game on home soil, with 16 of the previous 22 hosts having started with a win (D6).