In one more sign of the lunacy of the corruption-tainted pick of Qatar to host the World Cup, the nation’s team was trounced 0-2 in an embarrassing face-off against Ecuador on Sunday before more than 67,000 soccer fans.
It was the first time in the 92 years of the World Cup’s existence that the host nation’s team failed to win its opening game.
The Washington Post called the soccer match a “manhandling” by Ecuador.
“The Ecuadoran goalkeeper seemed so untroubled that someone should have gotten him a chair, a little cafe table and a nonalcoholic beer,” the Post quipped. (All alcohol was banned in the stadiums at the last minute in the Muslim nation, except for the wealthy, who can guzzle whatever they want in their luxury stadium suites.)
And in yet another kick, while Qatar money “bought the World Cup,” it couldn’t buy the loyalty of Qatari fans who left the stadium in droves when their team began to lose, noted ESPN.
Countries chosen to be World Cup hosts typically have an impressive history of soccer. But Qatar was picked in 2010 after a massive bribe scandal involving officials of the world soccer governing body FIFA. Not only did it not have a soccer legacy, Qatar had no international-level stadiums. It was also notorious for egregious human rights violations, including exploiting migrant labor, and harshly restricting the rights of women and the LGBTQ community in the nation, where homosexuality is illegal.
Qatar built the stadiums it needed, and thousands of migrants died in the nation’s extreme heat and construction accidents building them.
The Times of London has called Qatar’s World Cup grab the “biggest sportswashing coup” in history, referring to nations that host sporting events to distract from their human rights records.
In a bizarre speech Saturday, FIFA head Gianni Infantino defended Qatar’s human rights record, and called Europeans hypocrites for complaining about it. He indicated he knew just how the oppressed in Qatar felt because he had been bullied as a boy — in Switzerland — for having red hair and freckles.