A Group-By-Group Breakdown For Qatar 2022
The Qatar World Cup kicks off on the 20th of November. In a year of world cups, this is going to be the biggest of the lot, one watched from every corner of the globe. The football World Cup is also one of the largest wagering markets on the planet, and the number of different markets within the tournament itself really do make something like a bet builder a handy tool. So, whether you are looking at the best betting options, or simply here to enjoy the greatest show on Earth, here is a comprehensive guide to who is likely to prevail from each of the eight groups.
Group A: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, The Netherlands
The top two from each group go through to the knockout stages with, in theory, the winners having an easier round of 16 game as they will be playing the runners-up from another group. Group A looks like a battle for that second spot with The Netherlands heavy favourites to top the group. Louis van Gaal’s team return to world cup action after missing out in Russia, and they go in, in good form.
Qatar will hope home advantage will play its part, but in truth, it will be the game between Ecuador and Senegal that is most likely to determine who joins the men in Orange. Senegal, African Cup of Nations winners, of course will be up against a young Ecuadorian team who impressed in a tough qualifying group.
Group B: England, Iran, USA, Wales
Once again, this looks like it will be three teams fighting for that second-place spot, though England have not managed to carry on their impressive run of form, suffering a string of poor results in the Nations League this year. Wales will be fired up to play England, and they will have Gareth Bale in their side. But the former Tottenham and Real Madrid star, at 33, is just not the player he used to be, and his stint in the MLS is hardly proving to be the best build-up for the tournament which will undoubtedly be his last.
The USA will be fit, but they lack star quality and have their own grudge match with Iran in a repeat of their game in France 1998, in which Iran came out 2-1 winners. On paper, Wales should edge it.
Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland
An intriguing group, and one that features two of the world’s best players bowing out on the global stage. Lionel Messi will be desperate to lift the world cup, something he has never managed. Despite their incredible unbeaten run, Argentina found themselves behind Brazil, France and England in the bookmakers’ odds to go all the way in Qatar. Robert Lewandowski is facing a similar prospect in what will be his final world cup. Poland were prolific in qualifying, largely down to the Bayern Munich star, and will see Mexico as the most realistic opposition for second spot, a side who have made themselves very hard to break down in recent matches, though they do lack the firepower to really hurt teams. Saudi Arabia has the worst losing percentage (69%) of any team at the tournament.
Group D: France, Australia, Denmark, Tunisia
Tournament favourites France will be hoping to buck the trend of defending champions failing to get out of the group stage. That is the fate of four of the last five holders, including France themselves when they finished bottom of their group. Tunisia may not offer too much of a threat, but Denmark are many people’s dark horse for this tournament. Australia will be fit and athletic, and if the heat is an issue, this could be the group where the biggest shock occurs.
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Group E: Spain, Costa Rica, Germany, Japan
The first group to feature two of the footballing heavyweights. Neither Spain nor Germany would have enjoyed seeing the other picked out of the pot, though they are perhaps fortunate that the remaining teams in the group may not be up to causing an upset. Germany’s failure to get out of the group in Russia caused shockwaves through the tournament-savvy nation, something not helped by their knockout in the Euros by England. They are back to playing like the team of old now, and it is hard to back against them in world cup football. Likewise, Luis Enrique has made Spain into the team we all fell in love with almost two decades ago, when they were the best in the world.
Group F: Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Croatia
This is the last chance saloon for Belgium. The nation sat on top of the world rankings for tournament after tournament but never carried that potential through to where it really mattered. Any side that features Kevin De Bruyne has to be respected, but you do have to wonder if all those previous disappointments and the weight of expectation will once again prove too much of a burden. That said, qualification from the group should be a given. Canada and Morocco will be hoping to cause an upset, but Croatia, who some think are capable of repeating their efforts in Russia by reaching the final, are favourites to finish second, if not top of the group.
Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon
The nearest Qatar 2022 has to a group of death, every game in Group G throws up a mouthwatering prospect. Tournament favourites Brazil are on a very good run, and Neymar is just two goals behind legend Pele for international goals for his country. Brazil have struggled in recent tournaments, especially against European opposition, and it is no longer the case where they, and everyone else, expects them to walk through to the final stages. Switzerland will very likely push them all the way and are a team to watch. Serbia have a poor recent history at world cups but are certainly no mugs while the Indomitable Lions will be in their first tournament for eight years and will very likely take points off at least one of the other sides in the group.
Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, South Korea
In a world cup that will be bidding farewell to many great footballers, group H hosts another. Ronaldo, like Messi, has never tasted ultimate victory on the sport’s greatest stage, and he will lead a Portugal team that, on paper at least, should go to the latter stages. That has been the case before, only for disappointment, and in Ghana, Uruguay and Son’s South Korea, there are three sides all capable of occupying the top two spots in the group.
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