Last week I shared all the stages of the world cup from start to finish. This week I wanted to focus on the Group Stage (A & B Groups) and share my awesome “Winner’s Bracket” World Cup Poster which you can download for free. I recommend you print it out as a handy reference guide. Mark the winners in the space allocated on the poster to keep track of who goes through and who…just goes.
About World Cup Qualification
Before reading on, it is good to know that the World according to FIFA (the international governing body for football) is divided into six confederations. Each confederation has their own qualifying tournament to decide which teams will advance through to the World Cup. A certain number of slots are reserved for each confederation. It depends on how many participating nations are in each confederation which covers a very large geographical area.
All the Groups Explained
To find out more about how the FIFA World Cup stages are organized, start here.
Group A on the World Cup Poster
Host Nation Qatar to kick-off the World Cup
|Draw Place||Nation||Confederation||FIFA Ranking|
Notes: AFC – Asian Football Federation; CAF – Confederation Africaine de Football, Africa; CONMEBOL – Confederacion Sudamericana de Futbol, South America; UEFA – Union of European Football Associations;
The numbers on the poster reflect the game order (64 games in total) and the date the match will be decided. For Example, In Group A, Game 34 is Ecuador v Senegal, played on 29th November.
World Cup Poster: Group A
Average ranking: 30
Only one game will be played to open the 2022 World Cup on November 20. Host nation, Qatar is appearing in its first ever World Cup. The A1 position is reserved for the host nation which qualifies automatically. With so many fans turning out and the hometown advantage, the question is, will it be enough for the Qatar team to get through the Group Stage?
The first and opening game will be played between Qatar and Ecuador. From a global rankings point of view, they appear to be fairly evenly matched. Ecuador is ranked 44 in the world and Qatar, 50th.
South America (CONMEBOL)
All 10 nations from the CONMEBOL confederation (South America) entered the World Cup qualifiers. Ecuador scored 6 goals against Colombia’s 1 goal in the qualifying round; and then went on to take the 4th and final allocation from CONMEBOL. A 5th spot was potentially available and was decided by an Inter-confederation game between Peru and Australia (in which Australia won for the Asian Federation).
Ecuador had to beat both Chile (29th) and Colombia (17th) to take the World Cup berth. CONMEBOL boasts the #1 team (Brazil) and #3 (Argentina). Both teams are qualified for this world cup along with #14 Uruguay (thanks to Luis Suarez).
Generally, there are 4 guaranteed slots for the AFC, plus the winner of the inter-confederation play-off (AFC v CONMEBOL). This year, the AFC have gained 2 extra slots, with Australia winning the play-off and the hosts automatically qualifying. Qatar, Iran, South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia and Japan make up the 6 slots. Iran is the highest-ranking team on the FIFA world ranking list at #20, followed by Japan (#24).
After the opening, Senegal and the Netherlands meet for the first of their matches on the next day, November 21.
Senegal is ranked 18th in the world and is the highest-ranking team from the CAF in the World Cup. They are joined in this world cup by Morocco (#22), Tunisia (#30), Cameroon (#43) and Ghana (#61) – who topped the qualifying table for the five slots available. You can see these teams on the World Cup Poster to check which Groups they have been drawn in.
Senegal will field 6 Premier League players as well as one from Bayern Munich. They are definitely a team to watch.
A total of 13 slots in the World Cup are available for the UEFA teams. Netherlands (the only representative from UEFA in Group A) is the highest ranked of this group at #8. Netherlands missed qualification for the 2018 World Cup altogether. Despite this, they are undefeated in the UEFA Nations League and a strong chance to get through the Group Stage. All eyes will be on Memphis who plays the regular season with FC Barcelona, and who scored the greatest number of goals equal with prolific goal-scorer Harry Kane from England (12 each), during the UEFA qualifiers.
Group A Wrap Up
The Round Robin games are spaced 3 days apart.
The Group Stage for Group A finishes on 29 November with Games 33 & 34 being played at the same time. This is in the spirit of fairness in the event that the draw needs to be decided on goal differences.
At that time, the top 2 teams will progress to the Knockout stage of the World Cup, and 2 teams will go home. You can use the World Cup Poster to record the winners of Group A.
World Cup Poster: Group B
Average ranking: 15
|Draw Place||Nation||Confederation||FIFA Ranking|
Note: AFC – Asian Football Federation; CAF – Confederation Africaine de Football, Africa; CONCACAF – Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football; UEFA – Union of European Football Associations
Group B Kicks Off on Day 3 of the World Cup
Unlike Group A, Group B has two members (the maximum number in a single Group) from the UEFA confederation with England (#5) and Wales (#19). Iran as mentioned above is the top-ranking member from the AFC (#20) and the United States the 2nd highest ranked member of the CONCACAF (#16).
North America, Central America, Caribbean (CONCACAF)
Also joining the World Cup competition from the CONCACAF is Mexico (#13), Costa Rica (#31) and Canada (#41). All four teams also make up the top four CONCACAF members.
So for this Group, the teams are not widely spread with the exception of England with their super-striker and Captain, Harry Kane.
Fans of the USMT (United States Men’s Team) have soaked up the tickets – they are the second biggest purchaser of tickets behind the Qataris themselves. Which means all games where the USMT make an appearance are going to be backed by a huge number of supporters. All the fans will need to be on their best behavior to appease the hosts.
The Game to Watch (my pick) is Game 20: England V Wales.
Iran’s new (old) Coach
Wales and Iran appear to be tightly matched from the rankings. As mentioned above, Iran is the highest-ranking member of the AFC confederation. Iran appointed former Portuguese coach, Carlos Queiroz in September. As national team coach, Queiroz is highly experienced but has had mixed results. He took Portugal to the World Cup in 2010. Then departed to coach the Columbian national team, followed by the Egyptian team (who failed to qualify under his expertise in 2022). Earlier in his career he coached Real Madrid. And now he is back to lead Iran through the Group Stage for the 3rd time. As coach for Iran for 8 years, including appearances in the 2014 and 2018 World Cups, will Queiroz finally lead this team out of the Group phase on his third attempt?
With England an outlier in this group and clear favorite, Wales, Iran and the United States are in a tight cluster plus or minus. The 2nd position out of Group stage is the one to watch.
The stakes are high
Already we can see so many variables which will contribute to the excitement for fans around the world. High stakes as teams try to put aside geo-political tensions to focus on the game. Teams and coaches and fans enter the competition with expectations and questions that will be answered game by game.
This blog has been all about Group Stages A & B of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. To get the most out of the competition, we recommend you download the completely FREE “Winner’s Bracket” PDF to record events as they happen.
Your FREE World Cup Poster comes in landscape mode (A4 size)
This post has been about your FREE Downloadable 2022 FIFA World Cup Winners Bracket. Focus on Group A and Group B and Supporter’s zone for Group B.
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