Ecuador will be in the spotlight from the start of this year’s FIFA World Cup, as they face host nation Qatar in the opening match at Al Bayt Stadium on 20 November.
La Tricolor fans are sure to travel in numbers for the occasion – and they will be joined by Doha-based Ecuadorian, Maria Fernanda Iglesias. The 36-year-old has lived in Qatar since 2016 and works in public relations for Qatar Tourism.
Originally from Quito, Maria, who lives at The Pearl with her husband Alvaro and children Agustin and Samuel, expects Ecuador fans to be noisy and passionate during international football’s showpiece event.

What can fans expect when they arrive in Qatar for the tournament?
First of all, Qatar is very compact, so you will have the chance to visit all eight World Cup stadiums. The new Doha Metro will make it easy to get around. Visitors will also learn that Qatari people are very friendly and open-minded. The World Cup is an opportunity to engage with people from everywhere.

What are the best places to visit in Qatar?
The first place to start is Souq Waqif. I’ve been to similar markets around the world – but this place has something for everyone. I would also recommend Msheireb. The museums are also great and showcase the rich aspects of Qatari culture. The Pearl and Lusail are very modern. I would also recommend Katara Cultural Village.

What advice would you give to Ecuador fans who will visit Qatar for the World Cup?
The best advice I can offer is to have fun and enjoy the experience. This is going to be a big party for everyone who attends. Fans back home have asked me many questions – mainly about dress codes and how to get around. Many are asking about the opening day, as they arrive on 20 November and want to get straight to Al Bayt Stadium for the match. I have been informed there will be a special line of entry for Ecuador fans who arrive on the opening day, so they can make it to the stadium on time.

What can we expect from Ecuador fans in Qatar?
We love to show our colours and passion for football. We are all very proud of our team. You will see us at the stadiums and also at the many entertainment sites around the country. I’m expecting around 5,000 Ecuador fans to travel to Qatar for the tournament.

The eyes of the world will be on Al Bayt Stadium for the opening match between Qatar and Ecuador. How proud will you feel when that match kicks off?
As someone living here in Qatar with my family, and seeing my national team playing Qatar in that opening match, it will be a moment of unity. I get emotional just thinking about what that night at Al Bayt Stadium will be like. For all Ecuadorians, that day will be the best party we could have. We’re going to have fun.

Ecuador will play their next two group matches at Khalifa International Stadium. How much are you looking forward to sampling the atmosphere against the Netherlands and Senegal?
Ecuador fans will do everything to support our team in those games. I cannot imagine how powerful fans can be for a national team, so that is why we want to deliver these emotions. As we play in yellow, we will be very bright and visible in the stadium. I also know that our friends in the local Latin American community will cheer for Ecuador in these games – and we are delighted to have their support.

This will be Ecuador’s fourth appearance at a FIFA World Cup™. How do you think La Tricolor will fare at Qatar 2022?
This is going to be the first World Cup with this young national team, and we have been waiting for the past eight years to see our team return to this big competition. I was in Germany in September to see Ecuador play a tough Japan team and I was excited. I saw an Ecuadorian team that will need to be organised here in Qatar, but I think we can make history on the opening day and in this World Cup.
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