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World Cup Draw

(Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

2022 World Cup Draw gives us some great matchups

World Cup Draw
(Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

2022 World Cup Draw gives us some great matchups

With the completion of the World Cup Draw, we are one step closer to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Three qualification spots are still up for grabs, but 29 other nations have qualified and were put into their groups for the group stage of the 2022 World Cup. The final three teams will be decided in June. The Inter-Confederation Playoffs will put either New Zealand or Costa Rica through along with one of Australia, UAE, and Peru. The third spot will be fought for between Scotland, Ukraine, and Wales. At the World Cup Draw eight legends were brought out to help with the reveal of each team. The 32 teams were broken up into four pots based on their FIFA ranking. Pot 1 had the hosts and the other top 7 countries.

When it kicks off this will be the first time Qatar or any Middle Eastern country will be hosting a World Cup. The tournament will be held in eight stadiums across Qatar. It will begin on November 21 with the final taking place on December 18.

Group A

A1 Qatar (FIFA Ranking #51)
A2 Ecuador (#46)
A3 Senegal (#20)
A4 Netherlands (#10)

The host country of Qatar is by far the weakest of the Pot 1 teams, and after the World Cup Draw, they look likely to struggle to progress from this group. The strength of this group lies in the Netherlands and Senegal. Qatar may try and play spoiler, but I can see Ecuador doing more of that. Getting a matchup of Senegal’s attack and the Netherlands’ defense is very enticing. Sadio Mane and Senegal are probably the most dangerous team from Pot 3 so that is a tough draw for the hosts. Typically the host country ends with an easier group, but that is far from the case for Qatar. Qatar has been getting better and played in the 2019 Copa America and the 2021 Gold Cup. I see the Netherlands and Senegal getting out of this group.

Group B

B1 England (#5)
B2 Iran (#21)
B3 USA (#15)
B4 Scotland/Ukraine vs Wales

England and the U.S. in one group is not nerve-wracking at all. The U.S. has always seemed to be a difficult team for England to beat at the World Cup having drawn 1-1 at the 2010 World Cup and losing 1-0 in the 1950 World Cup in one of the biggest upsets in history. The U.S. team will be reliant on its youth in the World Cup as for most players this will be their first World Cup. England, U.S, and Iran will have to wait until June to see who the fourth team in their group will be. Of the three teams still fighting to qualify Wales would make this group the most interesting with Gareth Bale leading the way. As long as Ukraine does not qualify then there will be a British rivalry match between England and Wales or Scotland. Ukraine would be tough for anyone to play as they will rightfully have many fans backing them after what has been happening to the country recently. Iran adds an interesting element to the group as they dominated their group in qualifying ahead of the World Cup Draw. England is one of the favorites to win the 2022 World Cup and lift the World Cup Trophy. Four years ago the Three Lions lost in the semifinal to Croatia in extra time. Then last summer they lost in the 2020 Euros Final on penalties to Italy. This is yet another chance for England to lift a major trophy for the first time since 1966. From this group I have England and if they qualify Wales moving on to the knockout stage. If either Scotland or Ukraine goes through the U.S. will be moving on with England.

Group C

C1 Argentina (#4)
C2 Saudi Arabia (#49)
C3 Mexico (#9)
C4 Poland (#26)

Lionel Messi vs Robert Lewandowski! A Latin powerhouse matchup! This group is very entertaining and could be considered the Group of Death. Poland may have been a Pot 3 team but they are one of the more experienced teams and are more than capable of beating both Argentina and Mexico. Saudi Arabia is the worst team in the group but that does not mean they cannot play spoiler as they topped their qualifying group above Australia and Japan. Argentina and Mexico will be looking to advance to the knockout stage and go further than the Round of 16 which they both lost in at the 2018 World Cup. Poland will get through pushing Mexico out.

Group D

D1 France (#3)
D2 UAE/Australia vs Peru playoff winner
D3 Denmark (#11)
D4 Tunisia (#35)

France and Denmark look to be clear favorites to advance. France is the defending World Cup champions from 2018 and with much of the same team could very well win it again. After his medical issue at the 2020 European Championships, Christen Erikson is going to be back on the world stage with Denmark. When he is playing, that team can beat nearly anybody. The playoff matchup between Peru and the winner of Australia and the UAE is much more interesting if the Socceroos win as Peru looks to be too strong for the UAE. Either way, I see Peru becoming the fourth team in Group D and putting some pressure on Denmark for that second spot. Tunisia is in their second straight World Cup and looks to do better than the group stage. 

Group E

E1 Spain (#7)
E2 Costa Rica vs New Zealand playoff winner
E3 Germany (#12)
E4 Japan (#23)

The headline of this group is Germany vs Spain. Two European powerhouses look to bounce back after a disappointing 2018 World Cup where Germany went out in the Group Stage and Spain was eliminated in the Round of 16 on penalties. This is Japan’s seventh consecutive World Cup appearance and they have alternated going out in the Round of 16 and the Group Stage and if the pattern was to continue they would not get out of Group E. New Zealand would be the lowest-ranked team in the 2022 World Cup with a ranking of 101. Chris Wood and company could beat Costa Rica, but it is more likely the North American team will be heading to Qatar. Costa Rica proved that they are not worried about any big teams in their group in the 2014 World Cup when they came top in a group with England, Italy, and Uruguay. I do however have Spain and Germany moving on.

Group F

F1 Belgium (#2)
F2 Canada (#38)
F3 Morocco (#24)
F4 Croatia (#16)

Oh, Canada. This is the group that they wanted before the World Cup Draw of their first World Cup since 1986. Both Belgium and Croatia were in the semifinal in 2018 with Belgium losing to France and Croatia beating England before losing to France in the World Cup Final. All four teams have a realistic chance to advance to the Round of 16. For Morocco, getting out of the group would be the first time since 1986. Belgium is the favorite to run away with the group but the battle between the other three teams is one to watch. It is also one that I think Canada manages to win especially if Alphonso Davies is healthy.

Group G

G1 Brazil (#1)
G2 Serbia (#25)
G3 Switzerland (#14)
G4 Cameroon (#37)

This is probably the weakest group of the eight. Brazil should walk through this group while mayhem unravels below them. Switzerland is the best team but Cameroon is the one that I think could stir up the pot. Cameroon qualified miraculously by scoring a goal in the 120’+4 minute to beat Algeria on aggregate. They return to the World Cup after a year off and look to get their first World Cup win since 2002. Serbia does not do much to have me believe that they can beat out Switzerland or Cameroon.

Group H

H1 Portugal (#8)
H2 Ghana (#60)
H3 Uruguay (#13)
H4 South Korea (#29)

Cristiano Ronaldo, Son Heung-min, Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani, Jordan Ayew, and Bruno Fernandes all in one group. Sign me up. Group H does not have a clear winner as Portugal looked less than impressive during their qualifying campaign and were fortunate in their playoff semifinal against Turkey with Turkey missing a penalty to tie the match. Ghana always seems to do well in the World Cup and was knocked out of the 2010 World Cup in the Quarterfinal by Uruguay on penalties after Suarez was sent off for saving a ball with his hands. Ghana launched the ball over the goal on the penalty to end extra time. South Korea was praised for knocking out Germany in the group stage of the 2018 World Cup and with Son playing anything like he has for Tottenham they could advance. I like any of these teams to get out of the group, but I have Portugal and Ghana going through.

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