Preview of what Group A brings
Group A of the World Cup features Qatar, Ecuador Senegal, Netherlands. This may not be the most difficult group but it is for sure not going to be a walk in the park. Every single team in this group has a point to prove. Netherlands missed out on the 2018 World Cup and will be hoping to be back with a bang by topping the group. When one compares these teams to all the other World Cup teams this is a group full of underdogs. These are the kind of teams that really are capable of causing an upset. The opening match in the World Cup will be Qatar vs Ecuador.
Holland form going into Qatar
Netherlands is without a doubt the strongest team in the group. The Dutch is 11th in FIFA Ranking and will be hoping to going far in the World Cup. They made it to the Nations League Semis by beating Belgium who is 3rd in FIFA Rankings. They have stayed unbeaten all year in 8 games winning 6 and drawing 2. Netherlands is definitely fired up for this World Cup and is looking to bounce back after missing the 2018 World Cup. This Dutch team may not have the likes of Van Persie, Kuyt or Robben but they certainly do have some serious talent. Netherlands boast the likes of De Jong, Berghuis, Depay and many others all hoping to make a name for themselves this winter. The only big name missing this winter will be Wijnaldum who will be missing his second World Cup.
What the host nation looks like going into the WC
Qatar are 50th in the FIFA Rankings and are hosting the World Cup. This will also be Qatar’s first ever World Cup. Qatar hosting the World Cup and even though they know they may not go out of it they will be hoping to at least bow out in a non embarrassing fashion. The Arab side have won 8 out of 19 games beating African giants Ghana and holding Chile to a 2-2 draw. Qatar also won their last three games against Nicaragua, Guatemala and Honduras. They have two more before the World Cup which could either serve them well or cause a burnout. Some could view it as good preparation for the World Cup. It could also tire them as they have two games in three days eleven days before they take on Ecuador to kickoff the tournament.
One of the World Cup dark horses
Senegal got the better of Egypt on penalties as they won the AFCON which Mane played a key role in. They also beat Egypt 3-1 on penalties to go through to the World Cup with Mane scoring the winning penalty. To add to everything he achieved he also helped Liverpool win the FA Cup and came 2nd in the Premier League. It has been an incredible year for Sadio Mane and he will be looking to add to it this World Cup. Senegal is undoubtedly the dark horse of this World Cup and is tipped by many to shock the big nations. They will be hoping they can roll back the years to 2002 World Cup and make the quarter finals and even go further. They will also be hoping to be the first ever African team to reach the Semis of the World Cup.
How South American minnows go into Qatar
Ecuador is 44th in the FIFA Ranking and will be facing Qatar in the World Cup opener. The South American minnows will really be battling it out with Senegal to see who will earn a 2nd place position. Ecuador barely made it through the CONMEBOL qualifying round as they were three points ahead of Colombia. In fact one of their players Byron Castillo admitted he was born in Colombia which really could have affected Ecuador’s place in Qatar. Out of the nine games Ecuador has played this year they have only won two. They do not come into the World Cup in the best fashion. The South American minnows will have a lot to do if they are to progress far in the World Cup.