April 1st, 2022 marked the date for the 2022 World Cup draw, and featured 30 teams from all around the world which have been fighting for a place in the tournament. I will be going over every single one of the groups, and the countries which will be taking part. There are a total of eight different groups (A-H), each with 4 teams, which tend to be divided by the levels shown by the sides during the WC Qualifiers. Without further ado, let's get right into the list.
Group A - Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands
Group A, which features the host nation, Qatar, is a group that I personally believe will be overlooked. The likes of Qatar, Ecuador and Senegal would typically result in spectators ignoring this group, although it should be everything but that. Qatar and Senegal (which I personally believe is the dark horse of the competition), are two teams that topped their qualifier groups, and although Ecuador has not been a strong side over the past few years, this year they comfortably qualified for the tournament and should also be kept an eye on. Netherlands is considered the favourite for this group, since they also got first place in their qualifying group. Although this might make it seem like they have an easy pass to the knock-out rounds, they will most likely struggle to beat some teams in this group. Their team is also not in a great phase, coming from a disappointing defeat in only the round of 16 of the 2020 EURO, where they lost to Czech Republic, so that could potentially lead to even more problems for the Dutch team. Despite all of this, Netherlands still come in strong, and in my opinion have a good shot at making it far in the tournament.
1st: Senegal - 7 points
2nd: Netherlands - 5 points
3rd: Ecuador - 4 points
4th: Qatar - 0 points
Group B - England, Iran, USA, Wales or Ukraine/Scotland
Group B is definitely one of the weaker groups in the competition, with the only real powerhouse being England. At the moment, there are only three teams which have been decided for this group. Given the circumstances that are being faced in Ukraine, the semi-final between Ukraine and Scotland was postponed for an indefinite amount of time, so whoever will go on to win that match will face Wales in the final of the UEFA playoff. For this situation, I believe that Ukraine is the favourite, and should breeze past both Scotland and Wales. Once the 4th team is decided, I think that it is very clear how the fixtures in this group will play out. England will probably win all their games, while the other three countries will have a somewhat balanced fight against each other in order to put their hands on the precious second place spot of the group.
1st: England - 9 points
2nd: USA - 6 points
3rd: UEFA playoff winner - 3 points
4th: Iran - 0 points
Group C - Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland
Group C presents a very interesting array of teams, from very different places, which means different competition around them. Although I do not believe that this group is the so-called “death group”, I certainly think that it will be a fun and compelling group to watch. Argentina came back strongly from a Copa America Win against Brazil, and counted with star Lionel Messi to take them to a win in his last World Cup. Mexico and SaudiArabia adequately passed the qualifiers, while Poland barely made it after beating Sweden in another final of the UEFA playoff tournament. I strongly believe that Argentina have what it takes to win it all this year, although they will most certainly have to face tough opponents like Brazil at some point in the tournament if they plan on making into the final.
1st: Argentina - 9 points
2nd: Mexico - 4 points (through on goal difference)
3rd: Poland - 4 points
4th: S.Arabia - 0 points
Group D - France, Denmark, Tunisia, and Peru or Australia/UAE
This group is another interesting group, with the previous winner France in the group, as well as Denmark, who went on a magical run to the semi-finals of last year's EURO. The other two members of group D are Tunisia, which I don't think will be able to do much against those two powerhouses. The final member will be decided on the 13th of June, a match between Peru (who I believe will win the playoff) and Australia/UAE, where I believe Australia will breeze past. In the actual group, I think it is clear that France will pass, although there is a theory. The “winner's curse”, where whoever wins the previous world cup, will not go through the group stages in the next one. Despite this so-called “curse”, in my opinion France will rampage through the group, with Denmark as the runner up.
1st: France - 9 points
2nd: Denmark - 6 points
3rd: Peru or Australia/UAE- 3 points
4th: Tunisia - 0 points
Group E - Spain, Germany, Japan, and Costa Rica or New Zealand
Here it is, the death group. This is the group that you will not want to be missing a single game. Both 2010 and 2014 winners are in this group, these squads being Spain and Germany respectively. Japan promises to be a tough opponent for sure but the remaining playoff game winner will also not be easy to beat, independent of the result. However, I think that Germany’s strong team and Spain's young but skillful squad will prevail in order to secure the slot into the round of 16. I still wouldn't count Japan out though.
1st: Spain - 7 points
2nd: Germany - 5 points
3rd: Japan - 4 points
4th: Costa Rica/New Zealand - 0 points
Group F - Belgium, Croatia, Morocco, Canada
Group F is the type of group that you would typically just bat an eye at, but this is one of the groups with the most emotion in it. Croatia came back as the previous dark horse of the 2018 WC, where they got to the final although - lost to France. Belgium’s “golden era” with players like De Bruyne, Lukaku, and Courtois is coming to an end, with most of Belgium's brilliant players arriving at an old age where they are most likely to retire in a couple of years. This is most likely the last good chance of having to take it all home for many years to come. Canada has qualified for the first time in 36 years. 1986, their first and only appearance, was a terrible campaign. Canadians lost all their matches and didn't qualify for knockout rounds. From that point on, they were constantly in USA’s and Mexico’s shadow although this year might be their year, with a young roster that promises to grab some eyes. Morocco who only made it once in five attempts to the knockout rounds, will be without what I think is their best player (for now), Hakim Ziyech, and although they have a nice squad, might not do much.
1st: Belgium - 9 points
2nd: Canada - 4 points (through on goal difference)
3rd: Croatia - 4 points
4th: Morocco - 0 points
Group G - Brazil, Switzerland, Serbia, Cameroon
Brazil is the obvious star of the group, and on the contrary of what many thought, this is actually not an easy group to beat and one of the most annoying ones. Skills aside, the group is practically identical to the 2018 edition, where Brazil, Switzerland, and Serbia were also drawn together. The only difference this time is Cameroon, which is “replacing” Costa Rica. It will be interesting to see how the other squads fare against the number 1 ranked in the world “Seleção”. The group is sure to have some surprises here and there, so this is another one that you should definitely keep an eye on. Cameroon and Switzerland easily qualified for the World Cup, but Serbia on the other hand, got their ticket from a controversial goal which was disallowed against Portugal, scored by none other than Cristiano Ronaldo.
1st: Brazil - 7 points
2nd: Switzerland - 5 points
3rd: Serbia - 4 points
4th: Cameroon - 0 points
Group H - Portugal, Uruguay, Ghana, South Korea
We have finally arrived at our last group, Group H. This one features dangerous teams like Uruguay and Portugal as well as underdogs South Korea and Ghana. Many of these teams have world-class stars, which could be playing their last world cup in Qatar. Portugal will seek revenge from Uruguay, after the elimination at the round of 16 last edition. South Korea will be coming back from glory after beating Germany last WC, in a magic game where Germany's fate was decided. Ghana shows some potential, but I don't think that they will cause problems for Uruguay and Portugal, which are the two teams set to qualify for the knockouts.
1st: Portugal - 7 points
2nd: Uruguay - 7 points
3rd: South Korea - 3 points
4th: Ghana - 0 points
This edition of the World Cup is one in which I wouldn't want to miss a single game for anything in the world. Apart from the fact that the competition is none other than the World Cup, we will witness the last participation of GOATS like Ronaldo and Messi, as well as many generational talents like Suarez, Ramos, and De Bruyne play their last games in the top flight of international football. Every fan of football knows that this will be an edition to remember. So, enjoy the scenes while they last.