World Cup – Qatar 2022: The 8 matches that will mark the group stage

Senegal – Netherlands

Group A
21 November

This will ultimately be the opening match. This poster replaced Qatar – Ecuador following the change of program made after the draw by FIFA, which relegated this meeting of the host country to the evening. This enticing meeting will ideally launch the World Cup by featuring the reigning African champion as the finalist of the 2010 World Cup. At the Al Thumana Stadium in Doha, the troop led by Sadio Mané, who will challenge his teammate Virgil van Dijk, will have a hard time facing an Oranje selection in full revival. In a very affordable Group A for both nations, a good start could already open the doors to the round of 16.

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Change of program: Senegal – Netherlands opening match, Qatar-Ecuador placed in the evening


Qatar – Ecuador

Group A
21 November

On paper, this match opposes the 51st and the 46th nations in the FIFA rankings, but it means much more than that since it marks the entry into the running of Qatar. The host country has often performed well in front of its public – apart from South Africa in 2010, it has been systematically present in the quarter-finals since 1998 – and Qatar has been able to put together a team capable of surprising in recent years.

Ephemeral containers, tent or diamond: overview of the 8 stadiums where the 2022 World Cup will be played

France – Denmark

Group D
November 26

In a group of four, the second game is always the pivotal moment. Four days after coming into play against an opponent who remains to be defined (Peru, United Arab Emirates or Australia), France will find an old acquaintance, namely Denmark. A confrontation that promises a lot, against a semi-finalist selection of the last Euro and which will have serious advantages to assert. Above all, if this turn is well negotiated and the Blues have two successes in as many days, they will be very well on their way to qualifying and can consider turning against Tunisia. In an ideal world…

Spain – Germany

Group E
November 27

The 2010 world champion against his successor in 2014. If you were looking for THE shock of this group stage, here it is. Between Spain and Germany, it is probably the place of leader of the group E which will be played during this match five stars (literally). For the Mannschaft, it will be a question of erasing the memory of 2018 with this elimination in the first round. But also take revenge for a painful League of Nations match in November 2020, completed by a Spanish demonstration (6-0). “We have negative memories, but an accident like this is not going to happen to us twice“, has already warned Manuel Neuer. Can’t wait for November 27!

Iran – United States

Group B
November 29

As in 1998, Iran will meet the United States in the group stage of a World Cup. And as in 1998, this meeting will have a strong symbolic stake. The two countries have maintained particularly complicated diplomatic relations for a very long time, and it is not the negotiations relating to the Iranian nuclear program that are likely to ease tensions. There will probably also be a sporting challenge, because the partners of Sardar Azmoun and those of Christian Pulisic will perhaps play their qualification on this final group match. It remains to be seen whether, as in 1998, the Persians will win in the end (2-1).

United States / Iran, in Gerland in 1998.

Credit: Panoramic

Poland – Argentina

Group C
November 30, 2022

A duel that will smell of sulfur… and gold. On paper, it’s hard not to sum up this Poland – Argentina to a fight between Robert Lewandowski and Lionel Messi. The Pole, despite an XXL season, was deprived of the Ballon d’Or 2021 by the Argentine Pulga. But this shock could go beyond individual considerations since it will be the third match for the two nations and could therefore prove decisive for qualification in the 8th. Knowing that Pool C is also made up of Mexico and Saudi Arabia… It smells like chaos in the air.

Lionel Messi with the 2021 Ballon d’Or trophy.

Credit: Getty Images

Croatia – Belgium

Group F
1st December

The 2018 finalist against one of the favorites for the world title: yes, this Croatia-Belgium at the end of group F will look like the icing on the cake of this group stage. Between the band of Luka Modric and that of Kevin de Bruyne, it will undoubtedly be a question of validating the first place of the group… unless Morocco and Canada play the spoilsports upstream. Knowing that this group will cross with that of Spain and Germany, this duel will almost look like an already decisive round of 16.

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Group H
December 2

This scene is, without question, one of the most significant in the history of the World Cup. In 2010, Ghana and Uruguay met in the quarter-finals of the South African edition of the World Cup. A few seconds before the end of extra time, Luis Suarez pushed the ball away from his hand on his line to avoid defeat for his team. The “Pistolero” was sent off, Asamoah Gyan missed his penalty and, in the process, Celeste snatched his ticket on penalties (1-1, 4-2 TAB). Twelve years later, the Uruguayan striker will probably still be there. It’s a safe bet that among the Black Stars, no one has forgotten it.

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