Fifa World Cup Draw and Predictions.

‘Allez, Allez Here We go Allez, this is the Time of our Lives’. Sing it aloud as the World Cup 2022 is closing on us. You read that right! Football’s biggest and grandest event is here! From Brazilian Yellows to English Whites, From Portuguese Reds to French Blues, every colour is out on the sale. Keep your schedule for the end of the year free, for you can’t afford to miss this World Cup. Why? Isn’t it obvious? This may well be the final dance of two of the greatest players ever to grace this game of football. Well, November is still far away, but April sure has arrived, and it has brought us the draw for the World Cup Group Stage. The first look of the tournament has been estimated and pundits worldwide have their say on what would the contest conclude to be. Let’s have a look at where your favourite team is placed and what might be its chances.

GROUP-A (Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands)

Starting with a very interesting group, huh? Nice job, FIFA. Qatar has broken no sweat to reach the draws, as hosting the cup meant an automatic selection. But the hosts are going into the mega-event under a lot of pressure. The fans won’t excuse a group stage exit. Things might be looking grim for the hosts, but being one of the best teams in Asia, they sure stand a fighting chance. Ecuador on the other hand enters by pushing themselves every single match. The team might be short on star players, but they have got a very good team spirit and complement each other very well. While, they don’t seem to be immediate favourites, who knows when miracles occur?

Senegal enters the World Cup as one of the top teams. Having beaten Egypt twice in a matter of 50 days, both on penalties, they look high on confidence and can provide stiff competition to several top-class teams. With Kalidou Koulibaly and Edouard Mendy looking after the defense, Sadio Mane is free to run for the goals. The last team in the group is the mighty Netherlands. The Dutch look ready to take on the big stage and grab the elusive World Cup trophy. Being denied twice in 2010 and 2014, with one being in the finals, the Oranje failed to appear for the 2018 edition. But now that they are back, WC is sure gonna be interesting. With the likes of Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt in defence, Frenkie de Jong and Gigi Wijnaldum in midfield, and Memphis Depay in attack, they look all geared up to win this event finally.

Prediction: Netherlands and Senegal would qualify from Group-A.

GROUP-B (England, Iran, USA, Wales/ Scotland/ Ukraine)

England will be expected to dominate the proceedings. With a reliable starter and backup for almost every position, Gareth Southgate’s men are ready for the World Cup action. Finishing as semi-finalists in the previous edition, and runner-up in the EURO 2020, Harry Kane and his boys would look to go that final mile to seal the glory. Iran has been one of the better countries in Asian Football. Missing the knock-outs by a single point in 2018, Iran would love to prove their mettle on familiar Qatari grounds. US Football or Soccer, as they say, has developed tremendously in the past decade. There have been several bright young prospects coming up from the States. Christian Pulisic and Serginio Dest would be among the most popular players for USMNT. Not much would is expected from the Yanks, but they are among the most anticipated dark horses for sure. The final spot is a contest between Ukraine and the winner of the Wales-Scotland clash. Scotland would be led by the energetic Andrew Robertson, while Wales would look for the ignited Gareth Bale to rise to the occasion, once again. War-torn Ukraine has public sympathy but does it has what it takes to beat the best, is a question to consider.

Prediction: England and USA to qualify, with Iran as the dark-horse from Group-B.

GROUP-C (Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland)

Led by the mercurial Lionel Messi, Argentina has finally corrected its biggest flaw. They have finally graduated from a one-man squad to a team. Their conquest of Copa America after 28 years proves this fact. Lionel Messi finally has an international trophy in his cabinet, but he won’t mind having another one. For all to say, this might well be Messi and Angel Di Maria’s final venture with the Argentine national team as they turn 35 and 34 respectively before the World Cup. La Albiceleste would love to give a fitting farewell to the golden duo. If only Sergio Aguero could be there. Saudi Arabia will be another team to represent Asia. The Green Falcons will be looking to qualify as they are drafted in a group with similar strengths. Poland would again heavily rely on their sharp-shooter, Robert Lewandowski. Even at 33, Lewandowski appears at the prime of his career and Poland might fancy chances as long as he is on the field. Mexico will be heading into World Cup as the most successful team in CONCACAF. Mexico fell in the Round of 16 in the last tournament and would be itching to get further ahead in the tournament.

Prediction: Argentina and Mexico qualify, but Saudi Arabia and Poland would be in contention too.

GROUP-D (France, Tunisia, Denmark, UAE/ Australia/ Peru)

The defending champions France would head to World Cup after a shameful display in EURO 2020. The Blues would be determined to end the long-going World Cup curse as they are placed in a very comfortable group and would qualify easily unless they mess their chances. Aided by the brilliant Kylian Mbappe, the French team has talent blooming in almost all their positions. Didier Deschamps could well try to go for back-to-back World Cups with a squad available to him. Tunisia would be competing for the World Cup representing Africa. Tunisia qualified for the 2018 edition as well but suffered a disappointing campaign in which they failed to qualify from the Group stage itself. UAE is among the most improved nations in football. Their team has shown a lot of discipline and collective brilliance in the Asian Qualifiers. They are expected to win the Group Stage but that depends on their qualification. Australia is in similar waters as the UAE. Peru being a footballing nation, is also an entertaining competitor but that is if they qualify. Denmark has earned the respect of millions after what transpired in EURO 2020. They would command a lot of support from the fans. In close matches, the cheering of fans often influences the result and Denmark has that box ticked.

Prediction: France and Denmark would be expected to qualify with ease.

GROUP-E (Spain, Germany, Japan, New Zealand/ Costa Rica)

Okay, any draw is incomplete without a cruel group, and Group-E fulfils that criteria in this tournament. This is the ‘Group of Death’ in the World Cup 2022. Spain has never gotten over a certain Andres Iniesta’s late winner in the 2010 WC finals against the Netherlands. Ever since then, their performance in World Cup has been disappointing. This team the team led by Luis Enrique has a fine chance of winning it all. With young stars like Pedri, Gavi, and Ansu Fati in the mix, La Roja also commands the experience of veterans like Sergio Busquets, Koke, and David de Gea. The only doubt for them would be whether to include the services of Sergio Ramos or not. Germany would be heading as one of the most confident sides. A team led by Hansi Flick, Germany would be looking to conquer the world again, after exiting in Group Stage last edition. Since 1998, Japan has qualified for every single World Cup so far. The Samurais have never gone ahead of Round of 16 and with a talented squad this time around, they will be looking to break their rut. New Zealand has a long way to go, but they are on the right path. Qualifying is a battle they would look to conquer first, rather than dreaming for Qatar. Costa Rica also has a lot on its hands at the moment and would love to qualify before they talk about the main event.

Prediction: Spain and Germany to qualify, but Japan has a decent chance as well.

GROUP-F (Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Croatia)

Belgium is in a hurry to win an international trophy. Their golden generation of Kevin de Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku. Etc. is declining gradually. Being the #2 in FIFA World Rankings, Belgium has the capacity to win any tournament they take part in, but for some odd reason, they keep on losing. This World Cup could be the last chance for them to grab a trophy before their golden generation fades away. Canada has qualified for the World Cup for the 2ndtime in their history of football. A lot of credit would go to Cyle Larin and Jonathan David, who have bagged 13 and 9 goals apiece. Alphonso Davies would also be a treat to watch as his speed is a rare sight in today’s world. Morocco has been very decent in its previous matches. A squad made of top-level and reliable players like Achraf Hakimi, Hakim Ziyech, and Yassine Bounou among others, Morocco has great teamwork and is expected to be more than just a handful. Croatia and Luka Modric had a wonderful World Cup campaign in 2018, where they almost won it all but lost a painful final to France. They would definitely look to compete once again but with an ageing Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic, and Ivan Perisic in their ranks, the runner-ups could be in a load of trouble.

Prediction: Belgium to qualify for sure, Morocco, Canada, and Croatia to compete for the remaining position.

GROUP-G (Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon)

The easiest group of them all. Brazil has it much easier than other top-ranked nations. A star-studded nation for a long time, Brazil has produced top-class players like Pele, Garrincha, Roberto Carlos, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, and many others. The five-time World Cup winners would love to go for their sixth World Cup. But that’s easier said than done. With the likes of Neymar, Casemiro, Marcelo, and Dani Alves set to appear in what would be their last World Cup, Brazil would be itching to go for glory while they can. Serbia has a load of talents who have been excellent on the world stage but have failed to come together. Dusan Vlahovic, Dusan Tadic, and Milinkovic-Savic are among the top Serbian players in the top 5 leagues. It remains to be seen if they can stitch together chemistry to prove to be a threat. Switzerland on the other hand has perfect chemistry but they lack the effect of a world-class player. The Swiss would definitely look to Yann Sommer to show his grittiness between the sticks. Cameroon has been a surprise inclusion in the World Cup, but they shouldn’t be underestimated under any circumstances. With a world-class shot-stopper in Andre Onana, they would look to invest more concentration in their attack.

Prediction: Brazil to qualify comfortably, Switzerland most likely to qualify, Serbia could fancy their chances.

GROUP-H (Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, South Korea)

Honestly saying, Portugal has a very good chance of winning their maiden World Cup triumph. With the stable hands of Diogo Costa between the sticks, ‘A Selecao’ has a reliable pair of defenders in Pepe, Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo. etc. Their main attraction would lie in their prized midfield. With a brilliant mix of passion and talent in Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, and Joao Moutinho, Portugal would look to dominate the half-line. To top it, they have a reliable pair of wingers in Otavio and Diogo Jota, and who else to lead the Attacking line other than the one and only, Cristiano Ronaldo. CR7 might be featuring in his last World Cup, and the Selection would be glad to send him off with a World Cup triumph. Uruguay would also feature some last-timers in Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani. While their squad hasn’t changed much, their quality of attack has surely dropped. Both Suarez and Cavani have dropped significantly due to ageing. South Korea will be looking to repeat their 2002 World Cup antics and go even further this time. Son Heung-min has been in wonderful form this season, and South Korea would be banking on him to gain an edge in the WC Group stage. Ghana still has ways to go before they stand a decent chance at the World Cup.

Prediction: Portugal and Uruguay could comfortably qualify from the group stage. South Korea could provide an upset.

The World Cup is definitely a mega-event in football. There have been countless moments of glory, along with times of despairs. Much has transpired since the last World Cup and all the qualified teams have shown their mettle to get where they are. While it is safe to say these predictions are probable, they are by no means accurate. Just the way, Italy was eliminated by North Macedonia, upsets are natural in any game and one could expect them the most when they are unexpected.

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