Already on Sunday in Qatar starts the 22nd World Cup. For the first time, one of the most prestigious sports tournaments will be held in the Middle East. Moreover, the World Cup has never been held in winter. Sports tells about all the participants of the tournament – let's start with group A.
Last Worlds participation: debutant.
Qatar is ranked 51st in the FIFA rankings. The team, led by Felix Sanchez Bas, has players from the local national league. The Catalan specialist has led the national team since 2017, under his leadership the national team achieved a historic first victory in the Asian Cup. In the 2019 tournament, the Qataris were really good (only one missed goal for the entire forum, and that one was in the final from the Japanese). Maloez Ali and Saad al-Sheeb were the best players then: the first became the top scorer with nine goals in the asset, and the second became the best goalkeeper. Bass is counting on this duet at the upcoming World Cup. a significant victory, many years of experience as a coach in the national team and native walls make the Qatar national team unpredictable. The hosts of the World Cup are capable of creating a fairy tale, as South Korea and Russia did in 2002 and 2018, respectively.
Last Worlds participation: 2014;
World Cup best result: 1/8 finals (2006).
The team of Gustavo Alfaro took advantage of Chile's misfire in the South American qualification and sensationally took a direct ticket to the World Cup. The key matches in the group stage were the matches with Paraguay, Peru and Colombia: victories over direct competitors helped “La Tri” to avoid joints.The South Americans had the honor of opening the World Cup together with the hosts of the tournament – Qatar. The results of the World Cup draw caused a calm reaction in Ecuador. Fans of the national team and the public note the balance of young and experienced players in the Alfaro team. A number of experts also pin their hopes on young talent Moises Caicedo. The midfielder, at the age of nineteen, signed a contract with the English “Brighton” and is gradually getting used to the English Premier League (EPL).
Ecuador considers the team’s entry to the 2022 World Cup a resounding success and a real feat. “La Tri” themselves are restrained in their forecasts… They intend to prove themselves worthy on the football fields of Qatar, the nearest goal is to reach the playoffs.
Last Worlds participation: 2018;
World Cup best result: 1/4 finals (2002).
“Lions from Terangi” received a coveted ticket to Qatar after the victorious “junctions” with Egypt in March 2022. In a two-legged confrontation between Sadio Mane and Mohammed Salah, everything was decided in the post-match penalty shootout. The Senegalese were more accurate. Interestingly, a year earlier, the teams met in the final of the African Cup of Nations. The scenario remained the same: Senegal defeated the opponent in a penalty shoot-out. Mane's winning shot confirmed the title of “lions” the best team in Africa.Well-known players are regularly called up to the team: Idrissa Gouille from Everton, Edouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly from Chelsea, Golovin's ex-teammate at Monaco Foday Ballo-Ture, Bouna Sarr with the already mentioned Mane from Bayern. All of them play under the direction of Aliou Cisse. The ex-footballer played at the triumphant World Cup in 2002: in Japan and South Korea, the Senegalese defeated the reigning champions of the French and dropped out of the tournament only in the quarterfinals. . “Lions” performed well in the quartet with Japan, Poland and Colombia, showing fast athletic football. But Senegal conceded to Japan a ticket to the playoffs due to the applied fair play indicator. Now the “Lions from Terangi” are going to their third World Cup with the firm goal of passing the group stage and trying to repeat the triumph of 20 years ago.
Last Worlds participation: 2014;
Best World Cup result: Tournament finalist (1974, 1978, 2010).
Skipping the World Cup in Russia marked a new era for the Dutch national team. For a four-year cycle “Oranje” built a new team. Ronald Koeman, Frank de Boer and Louis van Gaal balanced the roster between seasoned fighters Daley Blind, Memphis Depay and young talents Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong, Tyrell Malasia and Cody Gakpo.
The generational change plan is going well, but the results in the Netherlands so far leave much to be desired. Louis van Gaal took over the team after an early exit from UEFA EURO 2020. The legendary specialist returned to work after a two-year pause and helped his native team to pass the qualifying stage without any problems. The Netherlands suffered one loss, conceded one goal in all their home games and ended the cycle with an impressive +25 goal difference.
Orange have finished in the top three in their last two World Championship appearances. After missing the tournament in Russia, the national team returns to the World Cup with a new generation of players and branded fast combining football. And the Netherlands has every chance to loudly declare itself and correct for the unfortunate fiasco at the European Championships. The team also intends to remove the curse of the “final”: in its history, the Netherlands lost the main match of the World Cup three times.