'Can't even get a countdown right' – Fans in stitches after farcical start to Qatar vs Ecuador as ref kicks off early | The Sun

FOOTBALL fans mocked the start of the Qatar World Cup after the referee kicked off the game before the end of the stadium countdown.

Hosts Qatar faced off against Ecuador in the first match of the tournament on Sunday evening, shortly after the opening ceremony.

And moments before play got underway, a voice came over the Al Bayt Stadium as fans prepared to count down the beginning of the match from 10 to one.

But when it reached four, the referee decided enough was enough and opted to blow for the game to start.

It made something of a mockery of the planned countdown.

And fans on social media were quick to jump on the bizarre lack of communication between those organising the kick-off and the referee.

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Reacting on Twitter, one person said: "Despite all the build up got to love how the referee kicked off on his terms and not when the stadium announcer got to zero on his countdown 🤣."

Another added: "The countdown not going as planned feels very fitting for this World Cup!"

A third said: "It wasn’t really fair of Ecuador to score anyways – the hosts had yet to finish their countdown to kick-off."

And a fourth replied: "What a great start to the World Cup. The P.A. announcers ridiculous kick off countdown went wrong."

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Just three minutes into the game, Ecuador thought they had taken the lead through Enner Valencia, only for the goal to be ruled out for offside.

But just 13 minutes later the South Americans did go in front as Valencia was brought down by keeper Saad Al Sheeb and the referee pointed to the spot.

Former West Ham man Valencia then rolled home the spot kick to give Ecuador an early advantage.


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