World Cup schedule, groups and brackets

Each point represents a game

Each point represents a game

Each point represents a game

Each point represents a game

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The 2022 World Cup kicks off in Qatar this November and has been moved from its usual spot on the sporting calendar to avoid the summer heat.

The U.S. men’s soccer team, led by coach Greg Berhalter and forward Christian Pulisic, qualified for the 2022 World Cup, an improvement over a disastrous and unsuccessful 2018 campaign.

USA was drawn in Group B along with England, Wales and Iran. England and USA meet in a high-profile clash in Qatar on November 25, the day after Thanksgiving. The Americans open their World Cup campaign against Wales on November 21.

The presence of hosts Qatar, who have never qualified for the World Cup, as the seeded team threatened to create a convincing Group A. However, the draw still managed to beat the dark horse candidates: the Netherlands and Senegal. .

The Dutch, three-time World Cup runners-up, have re-emerged as a force in UEFA thanks to world-class talent such as Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk and Barcelona’s Frankie de Jong. Meanwhile, Senegal won the Africa Cup of Nations earlier this year and boast a forward line spearheaded by Bayern Munich star Sadio Mane. While any nation that makes it through South American qualification shouldn’t be underestimated, Ecuador look like the group’s long shot.

Group A analysis

Recent UEFA Nations League relegation aside, England have every chance of becoming World Cup contenders, having finished third in Russia four years ago and reached the Euro 2020 finals. Tottenham forward Harry Kane sets the tone, Chelsea winger Raheem Sterling keeps opponents off balance and rising stars like Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden and Mason Mount are poised for global success.

On paper, the United States should be the slight favorites to join England to advance: The Americans won both the Concacaf Nations League and the Gold Cup and boast an unprecedented number of young stars testing themselves in Europe’s top leagues, including Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic and Juventus’ Weston. McKennie and AC Milan Sergiño Dest. But a rocky qualifying run and underwhelming September friendlies could open the door for veteran-heavy Wales, making their first World Cup appearance since 1958, and Iran, who dominated the Asian qualifying campaign.

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Group B analysis

After Lionel Messi finally led Argentina to an international title last summer as the Albiceleste defeated rivals Brazil for the Copa America crown, can the 35-year-old football icon surpass his legacy with an elusive World Cup title? There are few, if any, compelling narratives in Qatar.

The heavy-hitting Argentinians are joined in the group by a struggling Mexico side – they haven’t won the Concacaf Nations League or Gold Cup or finished top of the region in World Cup qualifying but are still looking to win their first knockout round. since 1986. Poland, led by Barcelona forward Robert Lewandowski, who has won the previous two FIFA Men’s Player of the Year awards, will also battle for a place in the knockout stages alongside bottom seed Saudi Arabia.

Group C analysis

After crashing out in the second round of last year’s European Championship, France will be looking to get back on track and become the first country to repeat as World Cup champions since Pele and Brazil in 1962. The French have the talent to overcome it. : Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe, a teenage prodigy four years ago, has become a superstar, while prolific Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has returned from a five-year international exile.

However, the sentimental favorite of the group is Manchester United’s Christian Eriksen-led Denmark side, who have returned to action and thrived following a traumatic cardiac arrest in Denmark’s Euro 2020 opener. Rounding out the group are Tunisia and Australia, two teams that have made it past the group stage just once together and have never won a knockout round.

Group D analysis

Only one group in Qatar has featured multiple former World Cup winners, and that is Group E. It just so happens that the two previous winners are not that far removed from their most recent victories either: Spain were champions of South Africa in 2010, while Germany won the crown in Brazil in 2014. Both teams have changed since those World Cup campaigns, but these two European rivals will certainly challenge for top spot in the group.

The other two teams here have experience playing spoiler against perennial contenders on the biggest stage. Costa Rica, who had a memorable quarter-final run in 2014, were the last of the 32 teams to qualify for this year’s tournament, cementing their place after finishing fourth in Concacaf qualifying and winning the play-offs. Japan achieved a knockout in 2018 and surprised with a shutout against the USA last month.

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Group E analysis

Belgium has topped the FIFA rankings for most of the past four years. The Red Devils regularly feature some of the world’s best players, from star midfielders Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) and Eden Hazard (Real Madrid) to Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku, who tied for second top scorer at the 2018 World Cup. Despite all this talent, the Belgians have eluded a major trophy. In what may be the last ride of their ‘Golden Generation’, they will look to change that in Qatar.

After finishing atop the Concacaf qualifying table, Canada is in its first World Cup in more than 30 years, led by a talented group of young players. There has been some uproar in Morocco following their exit in the AFCON quarter-finals, but Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech has returned from a break with the national team. Then there’s Croatia: just four years on from their trip to the World Cup finals in Russia, this could also be the last major tournament for their ‘Golden Generation’.

Group F analysis

Brazil aren’t just favorites to win Group G. It’s a popular pick to win the entire tournament — and for good reason. The top-ranked Brazilians will fight for their country’s sixth World Cup (and first since 2002) against one of the strongest teams in Qatar. With stars such as Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar and Real Madrid’s Vinícius Júnior, A Seleção Enters the World Cup with only one loss – to rivals Argentina in July 2021 – in the last 29 matches.

It will be difficult to stop a team as talented as Brazil from taking first place here, with the other three nations fighting for second place in the group in the knockout stage. Serbia are good candidates to challenge for this spot, arriving in Qatar in impressive form behind strikers Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham) and Dusan Vlahovic (Juventus). Switzerland reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 in the summer of 2021, knocking out defending world champions France along the way, while Cameroon will attempt to get past the group stage for the first time since 1990.

Group G analysis

This group in Qatar is one of the most difficult to predict in the eight. Here, favorites Portugal needed two playoff wins to even secure a spot in the World Cup. This could be the final major international tournament for Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo, the 37-year-old Manchester United star, and all will be watching to see if he and Argentina’s Lionel Messi can reignite their rivalry one last time somewhere in the knockout stages. .

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Uruguay have a talented line-up led by the entertaining but controversial striker Luis Suarez, but it remains to be seen whether they can put all the elements together to make a solid run through the group stages. South Korea will ride with the power of Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min, one of the world’s top scorers and biggest stars. After a rocky exit from the AFCON earlier this year, Ghana will be hoping to turn the corner to a stronger performance in Qatar.

Group H analysis

The group stage will conclude on December 2, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the playoffs, which begin the following day. The round of 16 will combine the teams that finished first in their group with the teams that finished second in their respective group, so teams from Group A will meet teams from Group B, C will meet D and so on. Once those games are confirmed and the brackets are set, each team’s potential path to the finals becomes clearer. From now on, matches cannot end in a draw, so FIFA’s overtime and shootout rules will apply. To avoid too many replays, teams from the same groups will be placed in opposite brackets, so they will not be able to meet until the final or the third-place game if they lose in the semi-finals.

The US men’s national team will play in the most balanced group in the World Cup, Group B. According to the FIFA rankings, there are only 15 positions between the top team in the group, England, who are in fifth, and bottom-ranked Iran. , which is 20. Conversely, there are 52 positions between the two extremes in Group H, which includes ninth-placed Portugal and tournament-low 61st Ghana.

Eight groups of four teams will be drawn from six FIFA confederations.

North America, Central America and the Caribbean

Eight groups of four teams will be drawn from six FIFA confederations.

And Costa Rica (31) or New Zealand (101)

North America, Central America and the Caribbean

Eight groups of four teams will be drawn from six FIFA confederations.

North America, Central America and the Caribbean

Eight groups of four teams will be drawn from six FIFA confederations.

North America, Central America and the Caribbean


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