Qatar manager Sanchez hoping for World Cup 'party'

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Qatar manager Felix Sanchez has urged his players to enjoy the experience of playing the FIFA World Cup opener against Ecuador, describing Sunday's match as "historic".

The fixture, which will raise the curtain on the first World Cup in the Middle East, will be played at the 60,000-seat Al Bayt Stadium, one of the eight venues that have been built or refurbished for the tournament.

"It's a very important day for us. A historic moment, a moment of happiness for us," Sanchez told a news conference here on Saturday.

"It's an extraordinary day like no other. We have made such a huge effort in this country. We are all devoted to this World Cup and have invested so much.

"I hope it's a great party where we can enjoy football and I hope everyone from all countries in the world, together, can enjoy this experience. I'm happy to be the ones kicking off this competition."

Qatari captain Hassan Al-Haydos spoke of the pride and responsibility of leading his team on football's biggest stage as hosts.

"There is no greater honor than to play in the World Cup," the Al Sadd forward said. "It is a huge task, but we are ready.

"It is the edition of the World Cup of all Arabs, we bear the responsibility of all Arabs to play well with our performance and the team spirit.

"Hopefully I and my team will perform up to the expectations and show the results of our hard work."

Qatar, ranked 50th in the world, are playing in their first World Cup while 44th-placed Ecuador are participating in their fourth edition.

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