Ecuador’s national football team scored the first two goals of the Qatar 2022 World Cup against the host and celebrated by kneeling down, looking up to the sky and offering them to God in the Muslim-majority country.

The World Cup championship kicked off on Sunday in the Muslim-majority country with Ecuador’s match against Qatar at the Al Bayt stadium, which ended in a 2-0 win for the visiting team.

In the 15th minute of the first half, Ecuador striker Enner Valencia scored a penalty and together with his teammates formed a circle, knelt down and pointed to the sky with their hands to glorify God.

Left-back Pervis Estupiñán said in a recent interview that “with Ecuador we pray together before and after games”.

Before the start of the match, Ecuadorian midfielder Carlos Gruezo shared on his Instagram a video showing several members of the national team praying in one of the rooms of the Hyatt Regency Oryx hotel, where they are staying.


A post shared by Carlos Gruezo (@carlosgruezo11)

We are all very believers. As well as working and fighting to do the best we can, we know that someone brought us here and it’s our way of thanking him and asking him to help us”, Estupiñán said. 

“Today begins a new story and who guides our steps is God, without you nothing we can do, we give you all the glory and honour”, Gruezo wrote in the Instagram post liked by over 36,000 social media users.

Qatar is majority Sunni Muslim, but its inhabitants include members of many religious minorities, Christianity being the most important of them.

According to the Aid to the Church in Need (ACN) report Religious Freedom in the World, Christians living in Qatar make up 13.1% of the Qatari population. Most of them are migrant workers from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh or the Philippines.


This story originally appeared at Evangelical Focus and is republished here with permission.