FIFA World Cup 2022 promises to be one of the most spectacular editions, with exciting matches right from the group stage. There will be real fights from the first week, starting with Senegal – Netherlands and Brazil – Serbia. In this presentation, we have selected some matches, real “final”, which should not be missed in the group stage.
Senegal – Netherlands
The Netherlands missed out on the 2018 FIFA World Cup but are returning to Qatar with the desire to go as far as possible, even win the world title, as Louis van Gaal has said. In the history of the competition, the Oranje team played in the final three times but never won the trophy. The last final was lost in 2010, against Spain.
The team is built around Virgil van Dijk, one of the best defenders in the world. The Liverpool star is also the Netherlands’ big plus after he missed the 2020 European Championship due to injury. He will make a strong centre-back pairing with Matthijs de Ligt. And their main challenge in Group A will be to stop Senegal. The Netherlands are favorites in a group with Senegal, Ecuador and the host country, but the match with the African representative is announced as one of the strongest in the first phase of the groups. The Lions of Teranga are aiming to become the first African team to progress beyond the quarter-final stages at a World Cup. Coach Aliou Cisse has a star-studded squad at his disposal, having won the Africa Cup of Nations at the start of the year.
The game at the FIFA World Cup 2022 will be the first between the two representatives, and from this point of view, things will be even more interesting.
The match will take place on November 21.
Brazil – Serbia
The two national teams meet in the very first stage in Group G. Brazil enters the competition from the position of world No. 1 in the FIFA ranking and with a star-studded list that should bring the sixth world title in history. In World Cup qualifying, the Selecao finished unbeaten and averaged 2.35 goals per game.
However, Serbia is ready to make life miserable for Brazil and increase their chances of reaching the last 16 for the first time since 1998 right after this match. Piksi Stojkovic’s side has two of the most in-form strikers in Europe: Fulham’s Aleksander Mitrovic and Juventus’ Dusan Vlahovic.
Being the first match of the 2022 World Cup for both teams, nerves and adrenaline will be high. Brazil and Serbia were also opponents at the FIFA World Cup 2018. The Selecao won 2-0, with goals scored by Paulinho and Thiago Silva.
The match will take place on November 24.
France – Denmark
A great rivalry has recently developed between the two representative teams. This year, the two teams met in 2022 in two other games in the UEFA Nations League. Denmark won both games, 2-1 in Paris and 2-0 in Copenhagen, results that make this match even more attractive.
France will have arguably the best forward pairing in the world in Karim Benzema – Kylian Mbappe and will be aiming to retain the world crown they won in 2018. Les Blues will also be looking to become the first team to retain the title after Brazil in 1962.
In the last year and a half, Denmark has been one of the hottest teams in Europe, managing to qualify even in the semi-finals of the last European Championship. The results brought her into the Top 10 in the FIFA rankings.
A very interesting detail, France has two world titles in their records, in 1998 and 2018, and on each of them, they met Denmark on the way to the trophy. He won the first game 2-1, and the second ended in a draw, 0-0.
The match will take place on November 26.
Spain – Germany
The two national teams have won two of the last three editions of the FIFA World Cup, in 2010 and 2014 respectively. Both nations won the trophy outside of Europe and each after extra time, with 1-0.
Spain and Germany should qualify together from a group with Japan and Costa Rica, but 1st place is also important. According to the paper’s calculations, the winner of Group E would avoid Belgium in the round of 16, but would have Brazil ahead, in a possible quarter-final.
This match will mean additional motivation for Hansi Flick, the coach of Germany. He was on the bench as Joachim Low’s second coach in the back-to-back defeats to Spain at the 2008 European Championship and the 2010 FIFA World Cup. The last head-to-head, without Flick on the bench this time, was in 2020 in the UEFA Nations League and ended with one of the biggest defeats in the history of Germany, scoring 0-6!
The match will take place on November 27.
Portugal – Uruguay
The FIFA World Cup will be the fifth edition in which Cristiano Ronaldo will play and probably will be the last. Ronaldo is looking to become the first player to score in five different World Cups.
Portugal had to go through a play-off to qualify for Qatar, but they have one of the strongest squads at their disposal, with many players playing their trade at Europe’s top clubs.
The first step towards a major performance for coach Fernando Santos will be to take the team to first place in Group H and then avoid Brazil in a possible round of 16 games. But the 1st place will not be easy to access because it will play in a difficult group, in which Uruguay will be the main rival.
La Celeste has some players in great form, led by Fede Valverde, Real Madrid’s players, that was in strong shape. With Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani, and Darwin Nunez in attack, Uruguay is ready to cause problems not only for Portugal, but for any future opponents they may face.
Portugal and Uruguay were also opponents at the FIFA World Cup 2018, in the round of 16. The South American team won 2-1 and qualified. Edinson Cavani scored two goals.
The match will take place on November 28.
Belgium – Croatia
Both national teams reached in the final weekend of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. Croatia lost the final to France 4-2, while Belgium finished 3rd after also being beaten by Les Blues in the semi-finals.
The 2022 competition could be the last chance for the Golden Generation of Belgian football to achieve a major result. The Diable Rouge will have one of the most experienced teams at its disposal. No fewer than six players already have more than 100 caps. Croatia is a team capable of overturning many predictions. Zlatko Dalic’s side arrives at the FIFA World Cup in great form after winning their UEFA Nations League group with France and Denmark this autumn.
The match between Belgium and Croatia, which will theoretically determine the winner of Group F, will also be interesting to watch through the lens of midfielders Kevin De Bruyne and Luka Modric, players who have made their mark at the highest level in recent years.
Belgium and Croatia last met in a friendly in the summer of 2021. The Diable Rouge won 1-0 with a goal from Romelu Lukaku.
The match will take place on December 1.