It says rather a lot that it was not immediately clear whether the BBC were airing a World Cup opener or a Panorama special edition.

Where there would traditionally be colour, fanfare and celebration, there was a thoroughly sombre atmosphere as worldwide coverage of this most controversial of competitions finally began to roll.

But that's Qatar 2022 - the tournament that never should have been but one we're ultimately all being forced to reckon with.

Plenty, understandably, have switched off altogether, unable to reconcile a love of the game with the myriad moral issues surrounding the first-ever winter World Cup.

It's hard to even recall the moment Sepp Blatter pulled Qatar from the envelope but 12 years, endless corruption allegations, horrifying numbers of migrant worker deaths, an official ambassador branding homosexuality a 'damage in the mind', a mammoth carbon footprint and one disastrous Gianni Infantino speech later, it's finally here.

The Herald: A giant World Cup trophy at the Qatar 2022 opening ceremonyA giant World Cup trophy at the Qatar 2022 opening ceremony (Image: PA)

For an organisation that claims to put fans at the heart of everything it does (stop laughing at the back), FIFA really have placed them in a truly rotten position with this World Cup.

Ask anyone to recount their earliest football memories and there's a fair chance this tournament will feature in there somewhere.

Whether it's certain iconic players, matches or single moments, supporters of all club allegiances are in some way bound by the magic of this competition.

It's just one reason why foisting it upon them has been wholly unfair.

Fans should not be forced to sit and ponder whether engaging with a World Cup is to give tacit approval to a litany of ills for which they bear no responsibility.

But that's exactly the dilemma many will have wrestled with as Qatar vs Ecuador landed on TV screens across the globe on Sunday.

BBC coverage swayed delicately between highlighting those ills and acknowledging that there's still a football tournament to be played here.

That they have to do so at all is a damning indictment of how elite football has been led so far down the path of greed that pre-match build-up at Qatar 2022 has the unenviable task of weaving tactical insight with scrutiny of human rights abuses.

For all this tournament is an outlier, there was at least some welcome familiarity in the indecipherability of the opening ceremony, which was narrated by Morgan Freeman, of all people.

The Herald:

It felt like confirmation that no matter where you take this competition, this bit always ends up looking and feeling like a tribute to Eurovision.

Another, mercifully brief, address from FIFA president Infantino that absolutely no one asked for followed before finally, the 'can we not just focus on the football?' crowd got what they have so desperately craved - kick-off.

The notion that the commencement of the actual game might bring some joy to follow the utterly joyless build-up to this was dealt an early blow when VAR reminded everyone that it too had travelled to Qatar and was in no mood to let others hog the headlines.

Ecuador's Enner Valencia thought he'd notched the opening goal of the finals after just three minutes, only for the video referee to intervene with a reprieve for the host nation.

The only problem, and one we've become acquainted with in Scotland of late, was no one was quite sure why.

Additional angles later cleared up that someone's knee had erred into offside territory, but there was nothing to clarify it in the moment and on we went, Twitter immediately lighting up with variations on the same joke about brown envelopes.

This moment of controversy distracted, albeit briefly, from what was quickly becoming obvious - Qatar are not very good.

It just goes to show that no matter how many hundreds of billions you spend - legitimately or otherwise - the beauty of international football is there is very little you can do if your keeper is a loose cannon.

Step forward, Saad al Sheeb.

The Qatar number one, quite literally, went flying headlong into this fixture and it was he who was spared by VAR after making an absolute mess of coming for the Ecuador free-kick that ended with Valencia nodding home to no avail.

The Herald: Enner Valencia scores for EcuadorEnner Valencia scores for Ecuador (Image: PA)

The former West Ham United forward wasn't to be denied, however, and he was ably assisted by Al Sheeb storming out to bring him down for a penalty following some slick Ecuadorian interplay.

Valencia made no mistake from the spot and, at the second attempt, Qatar 2022 had its first goal.

When this fixture was brought forward 24 hours to ensure it stood alone away from Monday's other games, there was more than a hint that the decision was taken with a view to giving Qatar their big moment without any other matches to distract from it.

There has been a strong South American flavour when it comes to predictions for this tournament but few have tipped Ecuador to seriously trouble the favourites.

They do have a reputation for being defensive solid, having now not conceded in their last seven matches, but Qatar contrived to make them look a sizzling attacking force in the first-half.

Valencia made it two before long, impressively powering a header beyond Al Sheeb from a looping cross to well and truly spoil the hosts' opening party.

Qatar, led by Spanish coach Felix Sanchez, look alarmingly out of their depth even before coming up against the Netherlands and African champions Senegal.

Ecuador, for their part, appear an efficient yet unspectacular outfit, epitomised by how they managed the game to an unspectacular conclusion after notching that decisive second goal.

There will be bigger games and bigger names to come, of course, but from a purely footballing perspective this was about as flat as it gets for a World Cup opener.

Even those in the stands seemed to agree, streaming out in considerable numbers long before the final whistle.

Perhaps it's appropriate that Qatar's big moment in the spotlight was not allowed to overshadow how we got here.

But for the fans, who have been discarded and disrespected at every turn on the long, murky road to this tournament, this was just another disappointment.