Qatar will kick-off the 2022 World Cup against Group A rivals Ecuador on Sunday.
Both sides are up against it in a difficult-looking group containing Netherlands and Senegal, and getting off to a good start will be imperative.
The build-up to the tournament has been dominated by Qatar’s abuse of the migrant workers who built the stadiums and infrastructure over the past decade so that the World Cup could go ahead, on top of concerns around the safety of LGBTQ+ football fans in a conservative Islamic nation where male homosexuality is still illegal.
Both Fifa and Qatari organizers will be hoping the football can now fill the spotlight, but there is unlikely to be any let up from global scrutiny.
Here is everything you need to know as the World Cup gets under way.
What time is Qatar vs Ecuador?
The World Cup’s opening match kicks off at 4pm GMT (7pm local time) on Sunday at Al Bayt Stadium, immediately following the opening ceremony.
How to watch
The match will be broadcast live in the UK on TV channel BBC One. License-fee payers can stream the game online via the BBC iPlayer app and website.
Qatar’s Ahmed Alaaeldin was a doubt this week after coming off injured against Albania last week, while Ecuador’s Jeremy Sarmiento will be checked following a minor muscle problem.
Qatar: Al-Sheeb, Miguel, Al-Wari, Salman, Hassan, Ahmed, Hatem, Boudiaf, Ali, Al-Haydos, Afif.
Ecuador: Dominguez, Preciado, Torres, Hincapie, Estupinan; Gruezo, Caicedo, Cifuentes, Valencia, Plata, Ibarra.
World Cup openers have a habit of throwing up a surprise, and although Ecuador would typically be expected to beat Qatar, this is no ordinary game. The home fans can carry their team to an early victory. Qatar 1-0 Ecuador.