And then there were 31.
Day 6 of the 2022 FIFA World Cup saw the first team eliminated from knockout-round qualification. And it was the hosts that had their World Cup title dreams dashed.
At 0-2-0 following a 3-1 loss to Senegal, Qatar is unable to secure a top-two spot in Group A. Qatar, which is making its World Cup debut, joins South Africa as the only host nations that have failed to make it beyond the group stage.
Elsewhere on Friday, Iran stunned Wales with two stoppage-time goals for a 2-0 win, the Netherlands and Ecuador tied 1-1, and the U.S. men’s national team and England played to a mostly uneventful scoreless draw.
Here were the top three moments from Day 6:
Netherlands’ Cody Gakpo strikes early vs. Ecuador
Two games, two go-ahead goals for Cody Gakpo.
After scoring an 84th-minute go-ahead goal against Senegal, Gakpo got on the score sheet much earlier versus Ecuador.
The 23-year-old PSV forward fired the Dutch into the lead with a left-footed strike from the edge of the box in the sixth minute.
Enner Valencia equalizes for Ecuador
Gakpo’s goal wouldn’t stand as a decisive one, though.
In the 49th minute, Enner Valencia equalized for Ecuador by knocking in a rebound right on the doorstep.
After scoring both of Ecuador’s goals in a win over Qatar, Valencia now has a tournament-high three goals.
Iran scores twice in stoppage time vs. Wales
Iran and Wales played 85 minutes of scoreless soccer — and then chaos ensued.
In the 86th minute, Wales goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey was given a red card after coming out of his box and colliding with Mehdi Taremi on a reckless challenge for the ball.
With nine minutes of stoppage time added, a 10-man Wales side fell just short of preserving the point. Rouzbeh Cheshmi delivered the breakthrough score for Iran in the 98th minute by depositing a poor clearance into the back of the net.
Ramin Rezaeian then provided the exclamation point for Iran with a goal in the 101st minute.