World Cup Qatar 2022 Preview: Group A

    CountryFIFA RankOdds to win WC


    South Africa (2010) remain the only host country in the tournament’s history to be eliminated from the group stage, & what a heartbreaker that was. Qatar will look to avoid the same fate, though only Saudi Arabia and Ghana sit below them in the FIFA rankings. Qatar’s willingness to cede possession means their scoring chances will be few & far between & they’ll be relying on the nation’s 3rd all-time leading scorer, Almoez Ali, to capitalize. One of the things I love most about the World Cup is its ability to deliver the unlikeliest of results, especially for host countries, though I wouldn’t put my money in Qatar making it out of a tough Group A.

    Prediction: Eliminated in Group Stage


    Ecuador were surprise qualifiers for the tournament after finishing 4th in CONMEBOL qualifying, ahead of Colombia & Chile who would have been expected to finish above Alfaro’s squad. Led by veteran Enner Valencia & the up-and-coming Moises Caicedo, La Tricolor will be hopeful of their chances to beat out Senegal in a bid to repeat their 2018 success in Russia where they fell to England in the round-of-16. Up against stiff competition in Senegal & the Netherlands I fancy Ecuador to endure a similar fate to that of Qatar and see their way out of the tournament group stage.

    Prediction: Eliminated in Group Stage


    Senegal boast a strong squad with a wealth of experience. They’re not a team that fairweather fans will be familiar with, but despite a last-minute injury to the in-form Mane, Senegal will turn to the likes of Chelsea pair E. Mendy & Koulibaly in the back, Premier League midfield trio Kouyate, I. Gueye, & N. Mendy, & Watford starlet Sarr up-front to lead them through the group stage. With an emphasis on defending & a pragmatic approach, Senegal have both the advantage both tactically & in pure talent against the likes of Ecuador & Qatar & will fancy their chances at making a World Cup run after their recent success as AFCON champions.

    Prediction: 2nd Place in Group A


    After missing out on the 2018 World Cup, the Netherlands will be hungry to reestablish themselves as staples of the tournament. Unbeaten since June of 2021 where they fell to the Czech Republic in EURO 2020, Van Gaal’s side enter the tournament in-form & ready to top their group. Starting strong at the back with recognizable names like Van Dijk, Ake, & Daley Blind, the Netherlands possess a great deal of talent in all areas of the pitch & a deadly combination of experience & exciting young prospects. Dutch powerhouse club Ajax has long been one of the strongest academy’s in the sport & their players are all too often shipped out to major European clubs before making their mark on the international stage. The likes of De Jong, Gakpo, Bergwijn, among others, make up an exciting prospect for the Oranje & they’re certainly got the potential to see their way deep into the tournament.

    Prediction: Winner Group A

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