In less than a week, the 32 best football-playing nations in the world will converge on Qatar to determine which team is the ultimate champion. With teams initially split into eight groups of four for the Group Stage of the tournament, this phase will spark some fascinating games before the business end of the FIFA World Cup later in November and December. We look at three of these games and break down exactly why they are going to be so important.
Qatar vs. Ecuador (Group A, November 20)
The 2022 FIFA World Cup will begin with a bang next Sunday, as host nation Qatar square off against Ecuador in the tournament opener on November 20.
Immediately after the tournament’s beginning festivities, Qatar will take the field and attempt to start off the World Cup with a win. Despite this being the first of 64 games that will unfold in Qatar over the next month, there couldn’t be more riding on this result. Qatar is the only nation to host a World Cup without ever qualifying for previous editions, making this their first World Cup. However, only once has a host nation failed to progress beyond their group, and Qatar will want to avoid being the second.
With two excellent teams in the Netherlands and Senegal making up the remainder of Group A, Qatar will need to win this one if they are to have a chance of progressing. They’ve shown positive signs in the past few years, holding their own against Brazil and climbing their way inside the world’s Top 50. Expect this one to be an enthralling match-up to start the tournament, as Ecuador is expected to be one of the teams that may surprise the football world.
England vs. Wales (Group B, November 29)
Wales are through to their first World Cup since 1958 and will be wanting to make the most of this once in 64 year’s opportunity.
The side face up against big brothers England on November 29 in a Group B match-up and will fancy themselves an upset here. Odds for this match aren’t out yet, but chances at https://betting.com/ are that Wales will be the significant underdog, given England are No.5 in the world, and Wales sits back at No.19. Stay up to date on the latest betting odds by visiting betting sites and figure out the best odds to go with for this specific match.
Group B is also a very competitive pool with world No.16 USA and No.20 Iran all drawn in the group. Should either of these sides manage to score an upset over England in their matches prior to England vs. Wales on November 20, there will be a lot on the line in this clash as England will be desperate to avoid another World Cup humiliation.
Spain vs. Germany (Group E, November 27)
You read that correctly—this is a group match, not a World Cup final.
Both of these sides are genuine contenders for the title this year, with most major bookmakers putting them as fifth and sixth favourites to win the FIFA World Cup 2022. Within the last 12 years, Spain and Germany have claimed the silverware for themselves, with Spain winning in 2010 by defeating Germany in the semifinals, and Germany winning the next edition in 2014 when Spain failed to reach the Round of 16.
However, with Spain ranked No.7 in the world and Germany sitting at No.11, they have both been drawn in Group E. While there’s a strong chance the two sides will each progress to the Round of 16, this will still be a hotly contested match that will set the tone for later knockout matches in the tournament. Spain will be slightly favoured to win, but this should be the match of the group stage in the tournament.
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