After the longest wait in modern World Cup history, the glorious tournament is finally here. As expected, the opening day had plenty of controversy surrounding the action. In what will likely be the case for the rest of the tournament, the soccer took a backseat to the reality of the event. 

Like every four years, the start of the World Cup is a special occasion. The realities of the world can be put aside for a month as everyone enjoys the festivities.

However, this has never truly been the reality of the Cup. Across its history, the tournament has been used as a propaganda tool to wash away atrocities. Despite the sportswashing done by numerous broadcast teams and celebrities, the horrors that brought his tournament won’t go away.

Photo: FIFA

It’s a shame because the opening game was a great one that saw Ecuador dominate. This Ecuadorian side has the potential to do something special for this new generation. While Qatar looks destined to lose every game.

While every World Cup has had its fair share of controversies, this one has just totally different vibes. This may continually overshadow what is so special about the Cup, the onfield magic.

From the moment Qatar won the bid in 2010, it was clear that this wasn’t going to be a “normal” sporting event. The country would be given 12 years to completely build up their soccer infrastructure and culture.

This mad dash to build the grounds and resources to host this event came at the cost of an insurmountable amount of human lives. Slaves were used to build these stadiums that will never be used after this event. Blood was spilled and people were shepherded like property just to host an event that doesn’t truly matter in the grand scheme of things. 

Certain fans will not even be allowed to celebrate their team given the country’s strict morality laws. In what is supposed to be an inclusive event celebrating the world, fans will be denied the right to be themselves.

There are more awful things surrounding this event and it would take way too long to list them all here. What’s been just as infuriating has been the constant sportswashing by those covering it.

Photo: Getty

Watching the Fox Sports broadcast in the US has been an insane experience. There isn’t even an acknowledgement of the issues, as every attempt is made to shield Qatar from any criticism. Fans can’t even get any honest reporting as segments are presented by Qatari government entities.

Soccer icons like David Beckham have been happy to appear in any sort of commercial for this event. It shouldn’t be surprising as the money likely given to these stars must be insane, but it’s still disappointing for fans. 

To be totally fair, almost every sporting event ever held will be propagandized. It’s the nature of these events, but it doesn’t mean it’s right to ignore the atrocities.

The opening game was a pretty fun affair for spectators, especially for fans of Ecuador. It has also set the stage for an early battle for group For the first team in World Cup history, the host nation lost their opener as Ecuador announced themselves globally. 

From the opening whistle Ecuador was dominant, having an early goal called back for a dubious offsides call. Enner Valencia quickly made up for that call and netted a brace. Qatar got a good chance, but Almoez Ali failed to head the ball.

The second half was more domination by Ecuador, as they continued to push Qatar back. Despite a good first half finish, Qatar was unable to get out of their own half. Ecuador would have a few more chances, but the scoreline finished 2-0.

Photo: Getty

Ecuador is the youngest team at the tournament and their inexperience was by fair their biggest concern. However with Valencia leading the line, they have that veteran leadership to get them through tough moments. With Sadio Mané ruled out of the tournament, this young team has the chance to make it out of the group.

Qatar looks like they will finish without a single goal scored this tournament. Over the past few years, Qatar has had some intriguing performances at other international tournaments. However, this performance reeks of a team that is out of their depth.

Second place in this group is pretty open so it’ll be fun to see how that battle shapes out. Qatar will next play Senegal on Friday and Ecuador faces the Netherlands on the same day.

After a four year wait, everyone’s favorite sporting event is back with even more issues. In what is unfortunate, these controversies will likely diminish the magic on the field. As the tournament continues, fans will be gaslit into thinking all is fine and told to just focus on the game.


Feature image: Getty

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