The World Cup is just seven days away! To prepare for the matches and drama that will play on the world stage, Philly Sports Network is previewing the eight groups and 32 nations competing to be champions of the world! First up is Group A; South American qualifiers, Ecuador, European juggernaut, Netherlands, the host nation and Asian Cup champs, Qatar, and African champions, Senegal.
Group A: Four hungry nations ready to showcase their skill
Group A may be seen as the easiest group at the 2022 men’s World Cup, but that doesn’t mean that the four nations fighting to make it out of the group will be pushovers. Let’s take a look at the four teams of Group A who are looking to make it to the round of 16.
- Ecuador (44th)
- Netherlands (8th)
- Qatar (50)
- Senegal (18)
When looking at these four nations, you could make arguments that each has the potential to get out of the group. The Netherlands and Senegal are the favorites to make the knockout rounds, but Qatar has a home-field advantage, and Ecuador has a wealth of CONMEBOL qualifying games to pull from.
Ecuador just made it into the tournament, can they make a run?
Ecuador made it to the 2022 World Cup by edging out other nations in South America qualifying. They beat out Peru and Colombia to claim the last spot available from the CONMEBOL region. While they are one of the top four teams from South America, they aren’t expected to be as good as Uruguay, Argentina, or Brazil.
In their last 14 matches, Ecuador only has one loss, but they don’t score many goals. Ecuador has scored just two goals in their last five matches and conceded none. They’ll have to worry about stronger nations like Netherlands and Senegal who will be well-organized to break down a good defense.
Can Ecuador’s reliance on defensive shape be enough to see them out of Group A? They take on host Qatar in the first match of the 2022 men’s World Cup!
The Netherlands is back at the World Cup for the first time in eight years.
For the first time since 2014, the Netherlands will be back in the men’s World Cup! The Dutch are seen as the favorites to win group A. They have never failed to make it to a knockout round in the previous 10 men’s World Cups they’ve played in. Can they make it 11 in 2022?
The Netherlands is coming into the men’s World Cup in tremendous form. They are on a 15-match unbeaten streak; on that streak, they have 11 wind and five draws. The last time the Dutch lost was in the postponed Euro 2020 tournament, where they fell in the Round of 16.
The Netherlands will play what many will see as their toughest group-stage match in their opening game. The Dutch’s result against African Champions, Senegal, could determine their place in the group stage.
Qatar wants to show they’re more than just hosts.
The hosts of the 2022 men’s World Cup are also the current Asian Cup champions, Qatar. The small nation has shown over the past few years that they were going to prepare itself and the world for its fast-paced style of play. Their Asian Cup championship was about four years ago, in 2019, but their recent form hasn’t been too bad.
In their last 10 matches, Qatar has lost just once. They’ve scored 10 goals and conceded just six in that stretch. The matches they’ve played in that run have not been against the likes of Netherlands, Senegal, or even Ecuador; this could mean that the hosts won’t have an easy route to the knockout rounds.
Only one host hasn’t made the knockout rounds, South Africa in 2010, Qatar will be fighting in a tough Group A to try to not be the second host to not make it out of the group stage. Their first match is a week from today against Ecuador.
Senegal is the champion of Africa with its sights set on winning the World Cup!
The champions of Africa are one of the strongest African nations at the 2022 men’s World Cup. Senegal made the World Cup after a two-leg playoff against Egypt, which they won after a penalty shootout. They will be hoping that their strong defense and quick striking attack will help them prevail on the world stage.
Senegal allowed only two goals in all of the 2021 African Cup of Nations Tournament. They showed they could also pounce when the games needed winning as they scored 8 goals over three knockout matches. The competition Senegal will face will be more challenging than they’ve faced in the lead-up to the World Cup, but this group is ready to shock the world.
Senegal takes on the Netherlands in a huge Group A match on the second day of the tournament. Can they get points out of that match to ensure they get to the knockout rounds?
Group A Matches
- Qatar vs Ecuador – Sunday, Nov. 20 – 11 am ET
- Senegal vs Netherlands – Monday, Nov. 21 – 11 am ET
- Qatar vs Senegal – Friday, Nov. 25 – 8 am ET
- Netherlands vs Ecuador – Friday, Nov. 25 – 11 am ET
- Netherlands vs Qatar – Tuesday, Nov. 29 – 10 am ET
- Ecuador vs Senegal – Tuesday, Nov. 29 – 10 am ET
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Mandatory Credit: Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire