FIFA World Cup 2022: Group Stage Matches To Watch Out For - Eastern Mirror
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FIFA World Cup 2022: Group stage matches to watch out for

By Inakavi Kasho Updated: Nov 08, 2022 3:51 pm
Screenshot 2022 11 08 154134

The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, arguably the biggest sporting event on the planet, is scheduled to kick off on November 20 at 9:30 pm (Indian Standard Time), the first match between hosts Qatar and Ecuador.

The tournament will be played at 8 venues in 5 cities across Qatar.

The group stage matches will end with Serbia and Switzerland playing the last match on December 3 at 12:30 am. The Round of 16 matches will be played from December 3 onwards till December 7, while the quarter-final matches will be played from December 9 to the 11th.

The semi finals will be played on December 14 and 15, while the third place winner will be decided on December 17, culminating with the final on December 18.

Here are some group matches to watch out for,

1. Argentina vs Saudi Arabia (Nov. 22, 3:30 pm)

One of the biggest names to have graced football, Lionel Messi is set to play another and likely his last World Cup with Argentina. Considered one of the greatest of all time (GOAT), a World Cup to his name would easily cement Messi as ‘The GOAT’. Argentina plays their first match of the tournament against Saudi Arabia.

Lionel Messi Argentina
Lionel Messi

2. Germany vs Japan (Nov. 23, 6:30 pm)

As of Nov. 8, Germany are ranked 11th in the FIFA team ranking, while Japan is the second top Asian team ranked 24th after Iran. Germany is also the joint second alongside Italy in most World Cup trophies won. They remain a powerhouse in football and a favourite to win the trophy this year.

Japan, the Asian powerhouse in football, carries the weight of the expectations of the Asian continent alongside South Korea and Iran in the World Cup.

During the World Cup in 2018, Japan became the first Asian nation to defeat a team from South America after they won 2–1 against Colombia in the group stage. The team made it to the Round of 16 but lost to Belgium and exited out of the tournament.

3. Portugal vs Ghana (Nov. 24, 9:30 pm)

Portugal struggled during the qualifiers and almost didn’t make it to the World Cup. But now that they have made it, they open their campaign against Ghana. Cristiano Ronaldo, another GOAT alongside Messi, and also likely playing his last World Cup will look to make an impact and possibly win his and Portugal’s first ever World Cup.

The team faces an uphill battle though with Uruguay, South Korea and Ghana in the group.

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo

4. Uruguay vs South Korea (Nov. 24, 6:30 pm)

Uruguay vs South Korea will see the talismanic Luis Suarez pitted against another talismanic striker, Son Heung-min of South Korea. Though Suarez is at the twilight of his career having played for some of the biggest clubs such as Liverpool, FC Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, he can still do and provide a lot for his team.

Meanwhile, Son Heung-min was recently injured during a club match but his coach at Tottenham, Antonio Conte expressed confidence that the South Korean forward will be fit in time for the World Cup. The forward is a prolific goal scorer having won the Premier League Golden Boot 2022 alongside Mohamed Salah as the top scorers of the season.

Son Heung-min

5. France vs Denmark (Nov. 26, 9:30 pm)

France, the current world champion, will take on Denmark in their second match. During the 2018 World Cup, the two teams met in a group match, which ended in a draw. France finished top of the group while Denmark placed second.

This World Cup will see them pitted against each other once again. France remains a favourite to retain the World Cup with the talent available at their disposal, that is, if Denmark does not cause an upset.

6. Spain vs Germany (Nov. 28, 6:30 pm)

Spain and Germany, both in Group E, will take on each other on Nov. 26. Both are, arguably, another favourites at this year’s world cup and only time will tell which of the two will come out victorious against each other.

7. Poland vs Argentina (Dec. 1, 12:30 am)

Poland vs Argentina will see Robert Lewandowski take on Lionel Messi, the current striker of FC Barcelona vs the former. Both are lethal in front of the goal and have scored record breaking goals for their respective clubs. But Lewandowski is yet to score at a World Cup and this tournament; he might score his first, given his current form, and many more causing a major upset for the Messi-led Argentina team.

Robert Lewandowski

8. Croatia vs Belgium (Dec. 1, 8:30 pm)

Against all odds, Croatia reached the final of the 2018 World Cup losing to France. Though it failed to keep up the momentum at the Euro 2020, it is still a robust team able to kill giants. Their match against Belgium will have many hooked as Belgium is one of the top ranked FIFA team and a favourite to even win the trophy.

By Inakavi Kasho Updated: Nov 08, 2022 3:51:53 pm
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