Ali is Qatar’s joint record goalscorer, equaling the retired Mansour Muftah’s 42 goals, and will be supported by midfielder and captain Hassan Al-Haydos, who will make his 170th international appearance.
There are fitness concerns over striker Ahmed Alaaeldin, who was forced off against Albania last week, but coach Felix Sanchez Bas is likely to choose a defensive line-up for the country’s first World Cup game.
Ecuador are World Cup veterans by comparison as they prepare for their fourth tournament and first since 2014. They will be looking to get out of the group stage for only the second time.
West Ham fans will remember Ennero Valencia. He now captains his country and will lead the line alongside Gonzalo Plata and Romario Ibarra.
There is a question at right-back between Angelo Preciado or Robert Arboleda, with the former tipped to get the nod. Brighton star Moises Caicedo will anchor the midfield, supported by Seagulls team-mate Pervis Estupinan and another Brighton player in Jeremy Sarmiento pushing to start.
Predicted Qatar XI:
Al-Sheeb; Miguel, Al-Wari, Salman, Hassan, Ahmed; Hatem, Boudiaf; Al-Haydos; Ali, Afif
Predicted Ecuador XI:
Dominguez; Preciado, Torres, Hincapie, Estupinan; Gruezo, Caicedo, Cifuentes; Plata, Valencia, Ibarra