On December 18, 2022, the 32 participating teams in the 2022 World Cup will begin their quest to become champions. When the tournament finally begins, we’ll give you a preview of each of the eight groups, including which teams we think will make a deep run and who could be eliminated in the first round.
Group A is where we start our previews since it seems to contain two teams with a legitimate shot at winning the group. However, it also has hosts Qatar, waiting for this opportunity on the largest soccer platform in the world for 12 years.
Group Stage: Group A Complete Match Schedule
There is a lot of expectation for Qatar to do well since just one other host has ever been eliminated before the quarterfinals (South Africa in 2010). However, this is a tough group with potential upsets from Ecuador, Senegal, and the Netherlands.
|Sun, November 20||Qatar vs Ecuador||11:00 A.M.||Al Bayt Stadium|
|Mon, November 21||Senegal vs Netherlands||11:00 A.M.||Al Thumama Stadium|
|Fri, November 25||Qatar vs Senegal||08:00 A.M.||Al Thumama Stadium|
|Fri, November 25||Netherlands vs Ecuador||11:00 A.M.||Khalifa Int’l Stadium|
|Tues, November 29||Netherlands vs Qatar||10:00 A.M.||Al Bayt Stadium|
|Tues, November 29||Ecuador vs Senegal||10:00 A.M.||Khalifa Int’l Stadium|
Qatar Team Brief Overview
The burden is on Qatar as the hosts of the 2022 World Cup since they are the only team in Group A that hopes to follow in their predecessors’ footsteps and go to the postseason. As they construct a group that won the Asian Cup as recently as 2019, they have been preparing by playing a range of excellent teams from around the globe.
The Maroons, captained by captain Hassan Al-Haydos and head coach Felix Sanchez, will compete in their first World Cup and hope to get out of their group stage with the support of their home supporters.
- FIFA World Ranking: 50
- Odds of Winning Group: Dark Horse
- One Player to Watch: With 42 goals in 85 games, Almoez Ali is tied for the record. He hopes to invigorate the Qatari offence and score some goals for his team.
Ecuador Team Brief Overview
Despite qualifying as CONMEBOL’s fourth-best team, Ecuador has been dogged by controversy on their way to the World Cup. Chile has repeatedly challenged Ecuador’s qualification, claiming that they utilized an ineligible player.
Since they’ve put 2014’s disappointing World Cup qualifying run behind them, Ecuador can focus on winning in Russia. They will, however, drop three spots in the 2026 tournament’s qualification standings.
Despite a decline as the team’s “golden generation” retires, coach Gustavo Alfaro has brought in a new crop of young players to keep the team competitive.
- FIFA Ranking: 44
- Odds of Winning: Dark Horse
- One Player to Watch: Goals will be expected to come from La Tricolor’s captain and most seasoned player, Enner Valencia.
Senegal Team Brief Overview
Powered by one of their all-time greats, Senegal is a dangerous squad that can go as far as they go. That star, Said Mané, was injured earlier in the week and is questionable for the season opener.
There is no team the Lions of Teranga can’t defeat, and they have a legitimate shot at taking first place in Group A. Despite being knocked out of the 2018 World Cup in the group stage, they finished 2nd in the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. Keeping that performance on track, they became first in 2021. As a result, they are seen as a side capable of making a severe impact on the competition.
- FIFA Ranking: 18
- Odds of Winning: In The Running
- One Player to Watch: Senegal’s sky is the limit if their star goalkeeper, Édouard Mendy, is on fire.
Netherlands Team Brief Overview
The Oranje, the second-to-none favourites in Group A, complete the quartet. They have an effective combination of seasoned veterans and up-and-coming young players. The Dutch have emerged as title contenders thanks to head coach Louis van Gaal’s insistence on pressing the issue and keeping his opponents on the back foot while still preserving possession.
- FIFA Ranking: 8
- Odds of Winning: Favorite
- One to Watch: Denzel Dumfries’ defensive play may shine in the tournament, and he’ll also be a key on the offence.