The countdown to the World Cup is four days. Who is hot? Who can be a dark horse?

By: jianier Nov. 17,2022

With Ecuador and Mexico announcing their 26-member lists, the 2022 Qatar World Cup 32-team rosters have all been released.

Although Italy, Colombia, Nigeria and other World Cup regulars did not make the cut, Salah, Harland and other top players absent, but the World Cup is still full of attractions, the group of death, "grudge bureau" a lot.

This year's tournament is still dominated by European and American teams, Brazil, Argentina, France is considered the strongest contender for the title, while Denmark, Senegal and other teams are recognized as the most likely to "spoil" the team.

Whether France can break the curse of the defending champions group exit, whether Lionel Messi can dream of winning the last World Cup, how far the hosts Qatar can go, and other questions will be revealed slowly in the next month of global soccer frenzy.

Group situation, there are good and bad

The grouping of this year's World Cup, in addition to England, France, Brazil, Argentina relatively "safe", there are still "group of death", "grudge bureau" and so on points.

The host Qatar team is the first to bear the brunt of the sign is not ideal. group A, in addition to the "uncrowned king" of the Netherlands, in recent years the storm of youth Ecuador, and has a lot of stars such as Mane Senegal are not good. To get out of the group, the hosts have the right time, right place and right people to make it difficult.

When it comes to strong matchups, Group E is the best. Although they are no longer in their heyday, but the strength of Spain and Germany is still not to be underestimated, the thickness of the two sides of the lineup can guarantee an exciting duel. Japan and Costa Rica want to take points in the two European powerhouses is not easy. Although the Japanese team has nearly 20 of the 26 people playing in Europe, but the injury attack on the already stumbling in the World Cup qualifying rounds, they are in crisis, Moriho want to achieve the "top 8 dream", you have to pass the West, Germany.

Another point of interest in this year's World Cup grouping is undoubtedly Group H, which netizens jokingly call "all grudges".

The 2002 World Cup in Korea and Japan, Portugal and South Korea in the same group, the two sides of the game is also the starting point for a series of controversial penalties in favor of the South Korean team in the tournament. Portugal's "golden generation" led by Figo and Rui Costa had two players sent off, and they eventually lost 0-1 to South Korea to miss the knockout round.

In the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Uruguay played a dramatic match against Ghana in the last 8. Suarez blocked a Ghanaian goal with his hand in the last minute of overtime and got a red dot package. However, Ghana's striker Gyan failed to resist the pressure to score the penalty kick and saw off his opponent to advance. During the process of being sent off, Suarez's excited performance is still fresh in the memory of fans.

In addition, the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Portugal and Uruguay met in the round of 16, with the former losing 1-2. Although the players change, but the above "grudge" will undoubtedly become a major point of interest after the start of the World Cup.Apart from Italy, all the strong teams from Europe and the United States advanced to the World Cup. Among them, Brazil, Argentina and France have high support rates in major sports media, and are regarded as the three most promising teams to win the championship. In addition, England, Portugal, Spain, Germany and the returning Netherlands have the opportunity to win the World Cup.

Defending champion France (world ranking 4)
The magic spell of losing the defending champion's group match is just around the corner. Italy in 2010, Spain in 2014, and Germany in 2018 all failed to survive. However, there is no doubt that the French team, which hosts Mbape, Golden Globe winner Benzema and other football stars, is still one of the hottest teams to win the World Cup.
In terms of the lineup, coach Didier Deschamps has rich choices in all positions. All the young and middle-aged players, such as Benzema and Giru, who are "getting older and more evil", or Mbape, Joan Ameni, Camavanga, Saliba and Teo, who are full of vitality, are included in the 26 player list.
However, the French team also has something to worry about. When winning the championship in 2018, the midfield configuration of Kant, Bogba and Mathuidi is crucial. Now, if three people are injured, they can retire. The team's midfield is a reshuffle. Deschamps brought six midfielders to Qatar, with an average age of only 24. Whether they can withstand the test of the big game and connect teams at both ends of the attack and defense needs to be verified.
In addition, the French players who missed the World Cup due to injuries include Milan goalkeeper McNuen, Leipzig striker Nkunku, Paris Saint Germain central defender Kim Pompey and Manchester United central defender Valane.
Defending the World Cup is a very difficult thing in itself. No one has completed this achievement since Brazil in 1962. It is worth looking forward to whether the Gallic rooster can overcome the fate.
Brazil (No. 1 in the world)

It is no surprise that the world's No. 1 Brazilian team is full of stars, and the nine strikers in the big list are even more frightening. The tactical idea of coach Tit is very clear: attack, attack, or attack.
Neymar, Richardson, Gersus, Veneseus and other top strikers in Europe were all selected, which even made Fermino, who is in excellent condition at Liverpool this season, lose his position.

Of course, throughout the World Cup qualifiers, the Brazilian team is not "top heavy". Their back line has only lost 5 goals in the last 15 games. In terms of goalkeeper position, the team has two reliable candidates, Alison and Edson, who play in the Premier League. In the selection of central defenders, Marchionios, who has both speed and strength, and Tiago Silva, who has rich experience, are firmly in the main positions. There are also Militant of Real Madrid and Bremer of Juventus as substitutes for central defenders.

In addition, the midfield of the Brazil team is also full of talents, with Casemiro, Fabinho, Guimarance and Paquita playing in the top back of the Premier League, and they have a full sense of security. The only "weak" position may be the full back position. The entry of 39 year old Alves is enough to prove that the choice of Brazil team in this position is limited.
ESPN, a well-known sports website, pointed out that under the premise of solid defense, the new generation of attacking talents of Brazil Team have already established their feet, giving the coach more offensive options.
Up to now, most of the championship prediction data, questionnaires and other contents of the major platforms are Brazil Team. What remains to be observed is how the Brazil team will cope with the difficult situation in the face of the cruel knockout match of the World Cup. After all, they have not fought against the strong enemies in Europe for some time. After winning the World Cup in 2002, Brazil was defeated after meeting European opponents in the knockout stage.
Before that, the first thing that Teeter needs to solve is the sweet trouble in the forward selection.
Argentina (3rd in the world)

With the glory of America Cup and Euro America Cup champions, the Argentina team led by Messi will once again attack the ultimate goal of the World Cup.
Messi's personal charm in today's football world is incomparable. Because he has confirmed that it is the last time to participate in the game before the game, fans around the world are expecting the Argentines to achieve the most satisfactory results.

The biggest advantage of the Pampas Eagle lies in that the team is a team around Messi, but it is blossoming and extremely united. This is also thanks to Coach Carlo Scaroni, who has not been expected to do so. Up to now, the Argentinean team has achieved 35 unbeaten victories in various competitions, and the transformation from gorgeous to pragmatic has been an unprecedented success.

From the list of 26 people, the team is relatively strong in attack and weak in defense. Attack has never been a problem for the Argentina team. Although Messi lost some speed due to his age, he has always been in the 10th position of the Argentina team like a fish in water. De Paulo's protection also allows him to connect the team with confidence and complete the final attack.

In addition, Lautaro, Di Maria, Di Bala, Alvarez and Correa are all forward players with excellent ability to take the ball and run, which can create a lot of space and relieve the pressure of the captain on the offensive side. Only the injury of Villarreal midfielder Losselso will bring some hidden dangers to the operation of the team's midfield.
In terms of personal ability, Romero, Lisandro Martinez and veteran Otamendi are all excellent in the defence. But in terms of height, Otamendi and Martinez have obvious weaknesses, so we need to pay attention to the defense of high altitude ball.

The weakest link of the team is similar to that of Brazil, and there are not many full backs. Fortunately, at the end of the team's defense line, Emiliano Martinez, who made a key penalty save in the last Copa America, and the 30-year-old Villa goalkeeper has always maintained a stable state in the Premier League this season. The play of the defensive line will largely determine how far the team can go.
Today's Argentina is no longer the team "looking for Messi with plans and no plans". The compact and solid formation allows them to safely control the situation. And most importantly, they have Messi.
England (ranked 5 in the world)

England, which failed to let football go home in the European Cup last year, is still a hot spot in Group B of the World Cup. The World Cup qualifiers remained unbeaten, with 39 goals ranking first in Europe.
They have energetic attack lines, such as Kane, Fodon, Rushford, Saka, Sterling, Wilson and Gralish, which also led to Tony, a Brentford striker who has been in a hot state recently, to regret losing the election.

There are many choices in the front court of the England team, such as Bellingham, Gallagher, Mount, Rice, etc. However, compared with the luxury of the middle and front court, the team's rear defense line is slightly weak, and the choice of the central defender is stretched to the limit. The characteristics of more than one side defender attacking strong and defending weak also make the team's side defense less secure to a certain extent. In addition, coach Southgate has been criticized for being relatively conservative in terms of employment.

In fact, when facing difficult opponents, the England team did not have the dazzling dominance on paper, including the two draws against Poland and Hungary in the world preliminary, and 24 of their 39 goals were scored when facing weak teams San Marino and Andorra.
However, after the baptism of last year's European Cup, many young players in the team have become more mature, and they should play more steadily in the World Cup.

Netherlands (8th in the world):

After winning the second place and third place of the World Cup in 10 and 14 years, the "tulip" Netherlands failed in 2018 and failed to qualify for the Russian World Cup. In 21 years, 70 year old coach Van Gaal was appointed to lead the team back to the World Cup finals.
Van Gaal, who "entered the palace three times", upgraded the 3-4-3 system of the Netherlands team and built a wall with Van Dyke as the defensive core. In the previous series of events, the first impression of the Netherlands team was that it had a solid defense. In the last 15 games, it was 11 wins and 4 draws and remained unbeaten.
In this World Cup, Van Gaal's defensive candidates are still luxurious. In addition to Van Dyke, Aker of Manchester City, Thimble of Ajax, Dericht of Bayern and Dumfries of Inter Milan are all the best central defenders in the European League.
In terms of midfield, Frankie Derong, who is currently playing in Barcelona, is obviously the most important "engine" of the team. His tandem influence on the team's attack rhythm, feeding artillery shells and pulling the gap for Depe, Belwin and other front-line players. However, he has not had a good time in Barcelona recently. Due to the salary problem, the two sides have been in a stalemate, and the specific status remains to be observed.
Many media commented that, as a wily coach, Van Gaal is very good at mobilizing and uniting the whole team in such large-scale events as the World Cup. As a popular team in Group A, the Netherlands will compete in the World Cup with an unusual feature of "stronger defense than attack".

Who is the big dark horse that refuses to be a runner?

Each team has its own characteristics to be able to break out from the major divisions, and they certainly don't want to be just a runner for the strongest teams. Soccer is round, once the strongest team is out of play or their tactics are restrained, many teams have the ability to create problems for them.

Europe: Denmark (World No. 10)

In Europe, perhaps the most underrated team in terms of strength is Denmark, which has never been compared with the strongest teams in Europe and America. But the low-profile team has already shown their strength in the last Euros, causing trouble to several strong teams.

Unity, diligence and professionalism are the keys to their success. With the return of Eriksen, this united team will undoubtedly become one of the toughest teams.

In the qualifying rounds, Denmark won 9, lost 1 and conceded only 3 goals, taking a strong World Cup berth. The team is able to force the opponent to make mistakes with constant pressure, and also to control the situation by changing into a compact formation. More importantly, they have proven their ability to match France on several occasions, including two draws in the Europa League group stage and a 2-0 win in the UEFA Nations League in September.

There are no superstars in manager Jurman's roster, but most of the players are solid players who can have a place in Europe's top leagues. In addition to Eriksen, who proved himself again in the EPL, Milan veteran Kjaer is the pinnacle of the team's back line, and he will most likely partner Barcelona's Christensen of La Liga and Asim Andersson of Crystal Palace of EPL to form a trio of center backs.

Given the fairly balanced nature of the team in all aspects, it should not be a surprise to see them reach the knockout stage or even go farther. In addition to Denmark, European teams such as Croatia, Serbia and Switzerland also have some strength.

Africa: Senegal (World No. 18)

Senegal also made their World Cup debut in 2002 and stunned the crowd by reaching the last eight in one go. Now in their third appearance, they have a new title: Africa Cup of Nations champions.

In February, Bundesliga Bayern star Sadio Mane led his team to their first-ever Africa Cup of Nations title, beating an Egyptian team led by former teammate Salah.

The team has emerged as a strong force in African football in recent years, and has produced a horse of excellent players who can hold down a starting position in European leagues. In addition to Ma, who has won the African Footballer of the Year and won the Champions League and Premier League with Liverpool, there are goalkeeper Mendy (Chelsea), center backs Koulibaly (Chelsea) and Balo Toure (AC Milan), midfielders Kouyate (Nottingham Forest) and Papou Sarr (Tottenham Hotspur).

This team has decisive players in both offense and defense, the only thing to worry about is Mane's injury. Mane was treated for a knee injury a week ago, but he still made head coach Aliou Cisse's 26-man roster, and the latest news is that he will miss the first group game against the Netherlands.

America: Ecuador (World No. 44)

Ecuador made their first World Cup appearance in 2002 and subsequently missed only the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Since the arrival of Argentine coach Gustavo Alfaro, Ecuador has quickly emerged from the gloom and taken the team by youthful storm.

In 2019, Ecuador won the Under-20 South American Championship and took third place in the Under-20 World Cup in the same year with notable potential. The team is characterized by speed and strength, especially in counter-attacks, and can often beat the enemy with speed.

The core of the roster is the 21-year-old Moises Caicedo, who plays for Brighton in the English Premier League. The "B2B" midfielder, who has already proven himself in Europe, will link up the team in the World Cup.

In addition, Kessedo's club teammates Estupinan (left back), Leverkusen's Incapier (left back) and Fenerbahce's Enner Valencia (striker) are all players in Ecuador's squad whose strength should not be underestimated.

Brazil manager Tite has said that Ecuador could be a surprising team in this year's Cup. "They are very difficult opponents, with power, speed, a clear concept of the game and a good group of youngsters."

Another South American powerhouse that has to be mentioned is Uruguay. They have both Valverde, Bentancur, Pelisteri, Nunez and other stalwarts, but also Godin, Suarez, Cavani and other "veterans", but also will be a "stirring" ability of the team.

Asia: Iran (World No. 20)

Iran is still dominating the Asian qualifiers for the World Cup, with 14 wins, 1 draw and 3 losses to lock up a spot in the final round.

Under the tutelage of Portuguese head coach Carlos Queiroz, the team has been quite solid on the defensive end, with 10 shutouts in their last 16 games. Russia World Cup, they actually only conceded 2 goals in the group stage, but can not help the same group is the two strongest European Spain, Portugal, out of the real pity.

Iran's offensive end has three outstanding players, Azmoun, Jahanbakhsh and Taremi are not bad. Especially Taremi, who is currently playing for Porto in the Portuguese Super League, has scored more than 20 goals for the club in the past three seasons. In 16 games this season, Taremi has scored 8 goals.

Since 1978, Iran has reached the World Cup final round six times, and failed to qualify in the group five times before. This year's tournament will be Iran's third consecutive World Cup, with the United States, England and Wales in the same group, they will do their best to break the curse.

East Asia's two strongest Japan, South Korea's draw is slightly embarrassing, especially the Japanese team with about 20 European players, encountered Germany, Spain, the two strongest, the advancement situation is not optimistic. As for the South Korean team, the number one player, Sun has put on a mask due to a head injury, and they also have Portugal and Uruguay in their group.

Hosts Qatar (World No. 50).

As the host of this year's tournament, Qatar occupies the right time, right place and right people, which is the biggest motivation for them to hit the knockout stage.

On the roster, all 26 Qatari players are from the domestic league, including the captain, 11 of them are members of the defending league champion Al-Sad team, almost no need to bond with each other.

In addition, team manager Alexis Sanchez has been coaching at home in Qatar since 2006 and officially took charge of the national team in 2017. The above factors make Qatar an unprecedentedly united and taciturn team, and are their strengths.

However, the reality of players being removed from high-level international leagues may also make it difficult for the Qatar team to adapt to the high-intensity impact, as previous invitations to the Copa America and the North and Central American and Caribbean Gold Cup have exposed the weaknesses of the defense.
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