2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar
Who are the true favourites, and will they be able to go all the way? The 22nd edition of the event will be an interesting one. The choice of the host country is contentious.
With the 2022 FIFA Football World Cup Qatar upon us, it is time to reflect on the teams participating. Nonetheless, fans world over are still heavily invested in the tournament. Taking place later in the year than usual has made for an interesting scenario. Most leagues now have close to a month’s break. Players currently in form will enter the World Cup with an air of confidence. Hopefully, they can replicate their domestic form on the international stage. The question is who will step up to take the 2022 version by the scruff of its neck? Only the best will rise to the top, and we cannot wait to see it unfold.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar follows the same format as the previous edition held in Russia. The thirty-two competing teams are divided up into eight groups of four. To progress into the round of sixteen, teams need to finish in the top two positions of their respective group. Each game from this point is a knockout match, with no room for error. The round of sixteen begins on Saturday the 3rd of December. The winners of their respective games progress to the quarterfinals. The first of which takes place on Friday the 9th of December.
The semi-finals follow, whereby the competing teams fight for that elusive final spot over 2 days. The 13th and 14th of December are the dates for the two semis. The tournament culminates with the final on Sunday the 18th of December. A month-long tournament is a long time in which to maintain a high level of performance. Nations that are eyeing the ultimate prize in football, will be aware of this. To peak during the knockout phase is the dream- time will tell who can do it.
World Cup Teams/ Groups
As is always the case, the groups vary in terms of competitiveness. While there are clear favourites in this space, it is not uncommon for upsets to happen on the grandest of stages. The toughest looking group of the appears to be Group B, with England, Wales, Iran, and the USA vying for the top spot. This group has the highest average ranking among the eight groups and is loosely considered this tournament’s ‘pool of death’. All situated in the current top 20 FIFA world rankings, the teams of group B will all give themselves a chance at finishing in the top two.
Group E, consisting of Spain, Germany, Japan, and Costa Rica is also one of the tougher groups. While Spain and Germany would be expected to finish top, the 2002 semi-finalists Japan will fancy their chances at an upset or two. The easiest group is arguably Group A. Hosts Qatar find themselves in this group, along with 2010 runners up the Netherlands, 2022 African Cup of Nations champions Senegal, and Ecuador. Both the Netherlands, and Senegal should walk it.
Who is going to win it?
5-time champions Brazil remain favourites to win the 2022 World Cup. The number 1 ranked team in the world may not have tasted success since 2002, however they come into the tournament in great form. Current stars such as Neymar and Jesus dream of emulating Ronaldo’s brilliance in 2002. If they can come close, Brazil will be tough to beat.
So defending champions France come into the tournament without the talismanic Paul Pogba. Karim Benzema, the recently crowned winner of the 2022 Ballon d’Or, is tragically also out injured. Should the French wish to replicate their 2018 victory, all of their players need to perform. None more so than the mercurial Killian Mbappe. If he manages to have a good tournament, French fans could have something to cheers for on the 18th of December.
Furthermore Argentina, currently on a 36-match unbeaten streak, mean business. Their unbeaten run began in 2019, and in this time, they have managed to win the Copa America cup (beating Brazil in the final), and quality for the World Cup that is about to begin. The longest international unbeaten run is thirty-seven matches, and this honour is enjoyed by Italy. Should Argentina win their first match against Saudi Arabia, they could set the new record by beating Mexico in their second game. This will count for nothing if they cannot extend this by a further five games and include a World Cup final win in their tally.
England, Spain, and Germany will also fancy their chances at this year’s showpiece. Their form of late does not suggest that they are serious contenders, however teams have been known to turn it on for big occasions.
Belgium, Portugal, and the Netherlands should all have a strong run. How deep they can go in the tournament remains questionable.
The world’s biggest event
The most popular sport in the world is about to dominate the headlines for the next month. Furthermore the football World Cup is the pinnacle for fans and players alike. A successful tournament has launched many a career to greater heights. It is also the proving ground for big name players world over. Success really cements a player’s place in football history. Who will step up and guide their team to success in 2022? Come the 18th of December, the world of football will know for sure.
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