Last Updated on November 29, 2022 1:29 pm by Erwin Noguera
The Qatar 2022 World Cup begins, a tournament that has had a lot of criticism, significant changes, and that is played in an exotic land. However, here we are not for that but to analyze what we will see in Group A.
In this group will be the local Qatar, which will open the World Cup facing Ecuador on November 20. Senegal and the Netherlands complete this group where only the first two will advance.
Qatar surprised every one because of how badly they played. The Asians fell 2-0 with Ecuador and became the first local to lose in the opening game of their World Cup. Much more was expected from the current Asian champions, who had made some good performances in the Copa América and Gold Cup in recent years but were far from that level. They had no real goal chances and dedicated themselves to throwing balls so that their strikers tried to win with speed. If they continue like this, they probably won’t score any points.
Qatar improved its game in the second match against Senegal, but still lost 3-1 and became the first team eliminated from the World Cup. The local team showed that, in addition to being very distant from the football level of the other qualifiers, it also cost them the pressure of playing their first World Cup at home. Mohammed Muntari entered history as the scorer of the first Qatari goal. They will close their participation against the Netherlands, which is not yet classified, so they may say goodbye without adding any points.
Qatar said goodbye to their World Cup without adding any points, only scoring 1 goal and leaving a bad image. The current Asian champion, who had left a good image for the Asian Cup title and in his recent participations in the Copa América and Gold Cup, had a setback and showed that they are far from the level of the teams that participate in a World Cup, but it served as a test to measure themselves and prepare since the qualifiers for the next one will begin very soon. In the last game, they lost 2-0 to the Netherlands.
Very good first game for Ecuador, led by a veteran Enner Valencia, they beat Qatar 2-0. The Fenerbahce striker scored both goals and even had another disallowed for offside, all in the first half, and showed that Gustavo Alfaro’s team has good players willing to fight to advance to the round of 16. Now they will face the main candidate of the group, the Netherlands, and they will seek to get at least a draw that gives them an advantage over Senegal. We have to see how the defense behaves against a rival that demands them since Qatar did not.
Ecuador played a great game and drew 1-1 against the Netherlands, giving a surprise in the group and taking a slight advantage over Senegal in the search to qualify for the round of 16. The South American team even deserved to win and had a disallowed goal that was widely criticized. Enner Valencia scored the goal for the Ecuadorians and with 3 goals he is the top scorer in the World Cup, although he came out with discomfort in his knee and is a doubt for the defining match. With 4 points, the draw against Senegal is worth it to qualify for the next round.
Ecuador could not tie and is eliminated. After a very good game against the Netherlands, where they drew 1-1 and deserved to win, they lost to Senegal 2-1 and said goodbye to Qatar. The South American team, who favored the tie, was not the same as a few days ago and did not show good play. After a boring first half, where a penalty at the end gave the first goal to the Africans, in the second half they came out with more desire than a game in search of an equalizer, and they did it at minute 67 with a goal from Moisés Caicedo, but only 3 minutes later Senegal slipped back into the lead. Gustavo Alfaro’s team could not find a way around it and had no arguments to tie and they said goodbye in the first round.
Despite the absence of Sadio Mané, Senegal showed very good things in attack and put the Netherlands in trouble. Even the Africans had more chances to score but they were not effective, contrary to their rivals, and it is something that they will have to improve. Also, the goals came towards the end, so they must have more concentration. Without a doubt, the Africans are going to beat Qatar and they will define everything in the last match against Ecuador.
Senegal was vastly superior to Qatar, but it took them a little longer than expected to win. Even the locals surprised them by scoring the discount and going 2-1 with just over 10 minutes at stake, but they quickly managed to score the third and put land in the middle. Boulaye Dia, Famara Diédhiou, and Ahmadou Bamba Dieng scored the goals for the Africans who must beat Ecuador if they want to get into the round of 16 of this World Cup.
Senegal returns to the round of 16! After being eliminated in the group stage of Russia 2018, the African team advanced to the next round thanks to their 2-1 victory against Ecuador. Ismaila Sarr (penalty) and Kalidou Koulibaly were the heroes of the day and showed that they are a great team despite not having their star Sadio Mané. Aliou Cissé’s team was organized and knew when to strike the necessary blows to win and qualify for the next phase, where they will face the best of Group B. In 2002 they already reached the quarterfinals, precisely with Cissé playing, and now they want to repeat and improve what they have achieved.
The Netherlands complied with the result but was not at stake. An overwhelming team was expected but was not seen, being very weak in attack. The goals were at 84′ and 90+9′, in the only two shots on target for the European team. Goalkeeper Andries Noppert had a very good performance and was the figure on the field, which shows that they are not very strong in defense and it is something that they have to improve if they aspire to be champions. Steven Berghuis and Steven Bergwijn were not at their best and Van Gaal could replace them.
The Netherlands lowered its performance and Ecuador made them look bad. The South American team was superior and deserved the victory, but in the end, it was a 1-1 draw thanks to a goal by Cody Gakpo after 6 minutes. As candidate, did not show itself as such and has not yet managed to secure its classification. They have to at least get a draw with Qatar, which is not difficult, but they have to improve their image to be able to intimidate their opponents in the next rounds.
As expected, the Netherlands complied and finished first in their group after beating Qatar 2-0 in the last game, however, the level of the team was not as expected and they know they have to improve a lot for the round of 16, where they will not have a second opportunity. The great moment of Cody Gakpo stands out. The 23-year-old scored a goal in each of the three group-stage matches (over 50% of the team’s goals) and is one of the tournament’s top scorers.
As expected, the Netherlands advanced first in the group, while the disappointment was Qatar, which was thought to be able to do more. Senegal, without Sadio Mané, managed to win the confrontation against Ecuador and took second place.
World Cup Group A: Qatar
The local team makes its debut in the World Cup thanks to being the hosts of the tournament and they want to show that despite not being a well-known team, they are going to fight and dream of advancing to the round of 16.
The coach is the Spanish Félix Sánchez Bas who since 2006 went to Qatar to work at the Aspire Academy in Doha, and since 2013 has been linked to the football federation of that country when he was appointed manager of the U-19 National Team. Since then he has been climbing until he replaced Jorge Fossati in 2017.
Among their most important achievements is having been champion of the 2019 Asian Cup where he won the final against Japan 3-1 and won the first title of the country in this competition. In addition, the Qataris achieved a perfect tournament, winning all 7 games they played, scoring 19 goals, and only conceding 1, the one in the final. Almoez Ali, with 9 goals, was the tournament’s top scorer and, with 34 goals, he is the all-time top scorer for his National Team.
The ‘Brown’, as they are called, has a squad that plays entirely in the local league, although they have already caused a surprise in the 2019 Copa América where they were invited and achieved a 2-2 draw with Paraguay. Also in the Gold Cup 2021, where they were third after losing in the semifinal against the United States, and where Ali himself was the tournament’s top scorer (5).
Be careful with the locals that in its favor has a squad that knows each other a lot, that has been training together for many years, and that can fight for second place in the group.
Goalkeepers: Saad Al-Sheeb, Meshaal Barsham, Yousef Hassan
Defenders: Pedro Miguel, Musaab Khidir, Tarek Salman, Bassam Al-Rawi, Boualem Khoukhi, Abdelkarim Hassan, Homam Ahmed, Jassem Gaber
Midfielders: Ali Asad, Assim Madabo, Mohammed Waad, Salem Al-Hajri, Moustafa Tarek, Karim Boudiaf, Abdelaziz Hatim, Ismail Mohamad
Forwards: Naif Al-Hadhrami, Ahmed Alaaeldin, Hassan Al-Haydos, Khalid Muneer, Akram Afif, Almoez Ali, Mohamed Muntari
World Cup Group A: Ecuador
After much nervousness, controversy, and fantasy stories, Ecuador goes to the World Cup. Chile and Peru tried until the last moment, but the Byron Castillo case was settled and both the player and the Federation were fined, but the National Team will be in Qatar and will open the tournament.
The team led by the Argentine Gustavo Alfaro had good moments and others not so many. It was a relatively young team but it has great players who have stood out throughout the world, such as the veteran striker Enner Valencia (Fenerbahce), or the youngsters Piero Hincapié (Bayer Leverkusen) and Moisés Caicedo (Brighton).
The numbers in 2022 are not very good for the ‘Tri’. In their last 4 qualifying matches they managed 3 draws against Brazil, Peru, and Argentina, all by 1-1, and fell to Paraguay 3-1. And now in preparation, they had 5 friendlies where they drew goalless with Mexico, Saudi Arabia, and Japan, and won 1-0 against Nigeria and Cape Verde. Undoubtedly, these are results that the Ecuadorian people do not like, but they know that the World Cup is at a different price, and Alfaro hopes that the inexperience of the majority of players in these events will not weigh them down when it comes to playing.
After failing to qualify for Russia 2018, Ecuador returns to overcome its achievements in Germany in 2006, getting to the round of 16.
Squad announcement date: Nov. 14
World Cup Group A: Senegal
Senegal is at the limit. Although it is one of the strongest African teams in recent years, it is suffering because of its great figure, Sadio Mané. The Bayern München striker got an injury last week at his club and although he is on the list, is hard to know if he will be 100%. The same federation has already confirmed that they will resort to witchcraft, very traditional in Africa so that the player recovers and is in charge of ‘The Lions’. “We are going to use witch doctors. I don’t know if they are effective, but we are going to use them anyway. Let’s hope there are miracles. Sadio Mané has to be at the World Cup,” said Fatma Samoura, FIFA Secretary General.
But Mané is not the only star of this team, since they have Édouard Mendy (Chelsea), Kalidou Koulibaly (Chelsea), Fodé Ballo-Touré (Milan), Idrissa Gueye (Everton) and Pape Matar Sarr (Tottenham), among others. They are a great team that was champion of the African Cup of Nations in 2021 and runners-up in 2019.
Aliou Cissé has been the coach since 2015 and was part of the team that qualified for the 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan, the first for this country. In addition, he was in charge of taking Senegal to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. In other words, this will be the third World Cup for ‘The Lions’, and Cissé was in all of them, one as a player and two as a coach.
This year they played 2 qualifying matches for the African Cup of Nations and beat Benin 3-1 and Rwanda 0-1. All the goals were by Mané and 3 were from penalties. They then played 2 friendlies against Bolivia and Iran. It was 2-0 against the South Americans and Sadio scored 1 goal, from a penalty, while the other was from Boulaye Dia; and 1-1 with the Asians thanks to an own goal. So we can already see the importance of the Bayern player and the need for him to be at Qatar 2022.
Without a doubt, Senegal without Mané is another. With him on the field and in optimal conditions, it is a team that can fight to get to the round of 16. Without him, they have to rely on the good defense they have.
Goalkeepers: Edouard Mendy, Alfred Gomis, Seny Dieng.
Defenders: Kalidou Koulibaly, Abdou Diallo, Youssouf Sabaly, Fode Ballo-Toure, Pape Abdou Cisse, Ismail Jakobs, Formose Mendy.
Midfielders: Idrissa Gueye, Cheikhou Kouyate, Nampalys Mendy, Krepin Diatta, Pape Gueye, Pape Matar Sarr, Pathe Ciss, Moustapha Name, Loum Ndiaye.
Forwards: Sadio Mane, Ismaila Sarr, Boulaye Dia, Bamba Dieng, Famara Diedhiou, Nicolas Jackson, Iliman Ndiaye.
World Cup Group A: Netherlands
The favorites to win the group and to advance quite a bit in this World Cup are the Netherlands. They have a great squad, although without some superlative figures, and they will seek to achieve what they have never achieved: the title.
3 times they have been runners-up and in another 2 they fell in the semifinals, hard blows for the ‘Clockwork Orange’ that has been preparing in recent years to reach the final again and has been recharged after staying out of Russia 2018.
One of the main doubts of Louis Van Gaal is that of Memphis Depay. The Barcelona striker came out with a knock in the last matches for the UEFA Nations League and has been absent from his club since then, but in part, it has been so that he can recover in the best way and be ready for the World Cup.
Among the figures in this team, we have Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool), Stefan de Vrij (Inter Milan), Denzel Dumfries (Inter Milan), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), and Ryan Gravenberch (Bayern München). In addition, in local football, several players have stood out such as Cody Gakpo (PSV), Steven Berghuis, and Steven Bergwijn (Ajax), who show a mix of youth and veteran.
Who will be greatly needed is Georgino Wijnaldum? The Roma player has had a tibia injury since the end of August and will not be able to be in the World Cup. Without a doubt, he is a fundamental loss to the team since, in addition to being the captain, he was one of the veterans and one with the most experience.
A candidate, we do not know if to the title, but to reach a definitive instance. They should be the first in the group and that at the second match will secure its pass.
Goalkeepers: Justin Bijlow, Andries Noppert, Remko Pasveer
Defenders: Virgil van Dijk, Nathan Ake, Daley Blind, Jurrien Timber, Denzel Dumfries, Stefan de Vrij, Matthijs de Ligt, Tyrell Malacia, Jeremie Frimpong.
Midfielders: Frenkie de Jong, Steven Berghuis, Davy Klaassen, Teun Koopmeiners, Marten de Roon, Cody Gakpo, Kenneth Taylor, Xavi Simons.
Forwards: Memphis Depay, Steven Bergwijn, Vincent Janssen, Luuk de Jong, Noa Lang, Wout Weghorst.
We believe that the Netherlands will go through first in the group and, if Sadio Mané is OK, Senegal would be second. Otherwise, Qatar could cause an upset if they at least draw Ecuador in the first match.
Sun, Nov. 20 Qatar vs. Ecuador 11:00 AM ET
Mon, Nov. 21 Senegal vs. Netherlands 11:00 AM ET
Fri, Nov. 25 Qatar vs. Senegal 8:00 AM ET
Fri, Nov. 25 Netherlands vs. Ecuador 11:00 AM ET
Tues, Nov. 29 Netherlands vs. Qatar 10:00 AM ET
Tues, Nov. 29 Ecuador vs. Senegal 10:00 AM ET