Lionel Messi probably dealing with Robert Lewandowski, Spain undoubtedly taking part in Germany, and Luis Suarez handed a rematch in opposition to previous foe Ghana.
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The draw on Friday for the World Cup group stage arrange some intriguing prospects and can begin on Nov. 21 with host Qatar taking part in Ecuador.
England will play the US, and each should face Iran and doubtlessly Ukraine which resumes within the playoffs in June. Ukraine was unable to subject a group final week throughout the invasion by Russia.
A complete of 37 groups have been concerned on Friday as a result of three entries within the 32-team lineup usually are not but identified. Like Ukraine’s playoff bracket, two intercontinental playoffs delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic end in June.
Kickoff occasions and stadiums for every recreation shall be determined this month. That lets FIFA allocate video games to prime broadcast slots for viewers in a group’s dwelling nation.
The highest two groups within the standings of every group advance to the spherical of 16 knockout stage.
Right here is the place the groups landed for the Nov. 21-Dec. 18 match:
GROUP A — Qatar, Netherlands, Senegal, Ecuador
Host Qatar will make its World Cup debut in opposition to Ecuador on Nov. 21. A recreation between groups at the moment ranked Nos. 51 and 46, respectively, can have far more significance as the primary World Cup finals recreation performed within the Center East.
Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal sees the historic second somewhat in a different way. He mentioned final week it was “ridiculous” that the match was being performed in Qatar and cited FIFA’s curiosity in cash.
Maybe it’s best the Dutch don’t face Qatar till the final Group A video games on Nov. 29. The three-time World Cup runner-up will begin in opposition to Senegal, the brand new African champion.
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GROUP B — England, United States, Iran, Wales or Scotland or Ukraine
A really political group, and much more so if Ukraine completes the lineup.
The U.S. and Iran beforehand met on the 1998 World Cup, the place the Iranians gained 2-1. England will open in opposition to Iran in a first-ever World Cup recreation between them.
England and the U.S. meet of their second recreation. They drew 1-1 within the 2010 group from which each superior.
England’s closing recreation could possibly be a British derby in opposition to both of its neighbours, Wales or Scotland or Ukraine — these three groups are in a playoff bracket in June.
“Ukraine is (a group) everybody’s pulling for in a approach due to all the things they’re going by way of,” U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter mentioned, including “you’d be grateful” if soccer might assist Ukrainians return to regular day by day life.
If Scotland does qualify, it is because of play England on Nov. 29. Would FIFA push again the sport someday? Nov. 30 is the a hundred and fiftieth anniversary of soccer’s first worldwide match, in 1872, between the 2 nations in Glasgow.
Group B groups must also begin play on Nov. 21. That offers these groups fewer days to organize for the World Cup however builds in additional relaxation days in the event that they go deep into the match.
GROUP C — Argentina, Mexico, Poland, Saudi Arabia
Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski — the holders of the Ballon d’Or and FIFA Greatest participant on the earth awards, respectively — are on observe to satisfy when Argentina performs Poland within the final spherical of the group video games.
Argentina lastly gained a Copa América with Messi final 12 months and opens in opposition to Saudi Arabia, which inspired in qualifying below coach Hervé Renard.
Poland begins in opposition to Mexico, which resumes what appears to be a nationwide obsession to get past the spherical of 16.
GROUP D — France, Denmark, Tunisia, Peru or Australia or United Arab Emirates
Defending champions France and Denmark will know one another so properly by November. They have been in the identical group 4 years in the past and can meet twice extra in June and September, in UEFA’s Nations League.
France has the celebrity forwards Kylian Mbappé and Karim Benzema, although Denmark has a way of future with playmaker Christian Eriksen. He returned to the group final week simply 9 months after struggling cardiac arrest on the sphere on the European Championship.
“What a participant. I can say he’s again and possibly he’s even higher,” mentioned coach Kasper Hjulmand, who led his group to the Euro 2020 semifinals
In 2018, in addition they confronted Peru and Australia of their group so a three-team reunion can also be doable relying on the end result of an intercontinental playoff bracket in June.
GROUP E — Spain, Germany, Japan, Costa Rica or New Zealand
The 2010 champions Spain will face 2014 winners Germany in a rematch of the semifinal that the Spanish gained of their title marketing campaign.
“Straightforward group, straightforward group, eh?” Spain coach Luis Enrqiue quipped. “A fantastic group, nice rivals and I feel we have now to attempt to get pleasure from that.”
Costa Rica was a quarterfinalist in 2014, going deeper then than Spain, however should first get previous New Zealand in a playoff in June.
GROUP F — Belgium, Croatia, Morocco, Canada
Belgium was a semifinalist 4 years in the past and Croatia was the overwhelmed finalist. Croatia coach Zlatko Dalić is aware of his group can’t be a shock this time.
“4 years in the past no person believed in us, no person trusted my group,” Dalić mentioned. “Now we deserve respect. We deserve all the things.”
Canada is an intriguing and troublesome possibility among the many lowest-ranked groups after topping its qualifying group forward of Mexico and the U.S.
It has two potential stars in defender Alphonso Davies and attacker Jonathan David, and a history-making coach, John Herdman, who beforehand led Canada’s ladies’s group to a World Cup.
Morocco will get a gaggle with two powerful Europeans in back-to-back tournaments. Final time, it was Spain and Portugal.
Morocco coach Vahid Halilhodžić has made World Cup historical past in main a fourth totally different nation by way of qualifying.
GROUP G — Brazil, Switzerland, Serbia, Cameroon
Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia are rapidly reunited in spite of everything have been in the identical group in 2018. Brazil will open in opposition to Serbia, who they beat 2-0 4 years in the past.
The Switzerland-Serbia recreation was among the many most controversial 4 years in the past. Each Swiss scorers in a 2-1 win, Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri, made provocative double-headed eagle hand gestures to honour their Albanian household roots.
“I don’t care about politics,” Serbia coach Dragan Stojković mentioned after the draw.
Now aged 30, Neymar is ready to steer Brazil’s assault into a 3rd World Cup looking for a title his nation final gained in 2002.
Brazil must be among the many final groups to start out play on Nov. 24 — extra time for the squad to organize however a extra congested 25-day program if they’re to win a document sixth title.
GROUP H — Portugal, Uruguay, South Korea, Ghana
Cristiano Ronaldo is on observe to open his fifth straight World Cup finals at age 37 by dealing with Ghana.
Coach Fernando Santos acknowledged “this shall be a really tiring match,” however most popular a late begin within the congested schedule to assist put together his group.
The group reunites Luis Suarez and Uruguay with Ghana for the primary time since their notorious quarterfinals recreation on the 2010 World Cup. Suarez was despatched off for punching away an nearly sure profitable purpose for Ghana deep in further time. The penalty was missed and Uruguay went on to win the shootout.
Earlier within the 2010 knockout rounds, Suarez scored twice when Uruguay additionally eradicated South Korea 2-1.
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