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Enner Valencia leads the World Cup scoring race and has a chance to win the Golden Boot against Qatar.

by Symon Sawe 7 days ago in world cup
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During the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Group A match between Qatar and Ecuador at Al Bayt Stadium on November 20, 2022, Qatar, Enner Valencia of Ecuador and Karim Boudiaf of Qatar compete for possession.

Enner Valencia leads the World Cup scoring race and has a chance to win the Golden Boot against Qatar.
Photo by Peter Glaser on Unsplash

After two goals in the first half against the hosts, Enner Valencia's stunning start to Qatar 2022 has caused his odds to drop to 25/1 to be the top scorer at the World Cup.

Three goals were scored by the former West Ham striker in the first 30 minutes, with the first one being disallowed for unclear offside before being cleared up. Shortly after, the Fenerbache attacker opened the game with a penalty.

However, his spectacular header midway through the first half finished off an excellent 45 minutes for Ecuador, as he has now scored five goals in just four World Cup games.

Although he wasn't initially considered one of the favorites to win the tournament, bookmakers have decreased his odds. Just 30 minutes into the game, his price dropped to 25/1 from 200/1 before the game. Attacker Memphis Depay of the Netherlands, who was placed in the same group as Qatar, is also available for this price.

With six goals in Russia 2018, Harry Kane won the golden boot. The Tottenham forward is still the favorite at 7/1, but Neymar, Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, and Cristiano Ronaldo were also in the running before their first game.

When Ecuador was denied an early goal against Qatar in the World Cup opener, they were disappointed.

• Valencia made a goal-scoring header.

• Ecuador profited from a goalkeeper error.

• In the lead-up to the goal, VAR judged offside

WHAT Happend? Goalkeeper Saad Al Sheeb of Qatar made a critical error as he attempted to punch the ball clear but failed, giving Ecuador a wonderful opportunity that finished with Enner Valencia heading the ball into the open goal from close range. But Ecuador's joy was short-lived since VAR interfered, leading to the goal being declared invalid.

HOW COME IT WASN'T GIVEN? Before Felix Torres gave Valencia the assist, the goal was disallowed due to an offside. When the ball was lofted into the penalty area at first, replays appeared to suggest that Ecuador's Michael Estrada was just offside, with his foot visible just beyond the last man.

Head coach Felix Sanchez has been able to undertake in-depth training camps, with the most recent taking place in Marbella, while the hosts' local league has been suspended since mid-September.

While there, Qatar has gone on an unexpected winning streak, defeating successive exhibition matches against Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, and Albania.

In recent months, friendlies against Canada, Chile, and Jamaica have been included in the busy Qatari schedule. Although they lost 2-0 to fellow finalists Canada in October, they rallied to lead heading into the final 15 minutes of a 2-2 draw with Chile; only Arturo Vidal's equalizer prevented them from earning a victory that would have boosted their spirits.

In addition to participating in a number of exhibition matches throughout the world, Qatar begins its campaign having advanced to the semifinals of the 2021 Gold Cup, competed in the European World Cup qualifying tournament, and reached the final four of the Arab Cup at this time last year.

As a result, they won't be lacking in competitive experience when they appear on the biggest stage of them all.

Past Saturday's 0-0 tie between Ecuador and Iraq was their most recent encounter, and they have now drawn each of their last three games overall. In the latter weeks of September, they also drew 0-0 with Saudi Arabia and Japan.

While Ecuador hasn't lost a game since being defeated 3-1 by Paraguay in March, its most recent success came in a friendly game against Cape Verde in the middle of June.

The team's most recent competitive game was a March 1-1 tie with Argentina; their previous six games, including a 1-0 win over Nigeria, were all friendlies.

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About the author

Symon Sawe

I write about mental health, wellness stories, experiences, and health advice.

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