sport news World Cup: The complete group-by-group guide for Qatar 2022 trends now

sport news World Cup: The complete group-by-group guide for Qatar 2022 trends now
sport news World Cup: The complete group-by-group guide for Qatar 2022 trends now

sport news World Cup: The complete group-by-group guide for Qatar 2022 trends now

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is now just weeks away, with the first-ever winter edition of the tournament drawing ever closer. 

Host nation Qatar will get proceedings underway with their November 20 clash against Ecuador, while England will get their campaign going the following day against Iran. 

Meanwhile, holders France are among the favourites once more, alongside Brazil, following their triumph in Russia four years ago. It's exactly 60 years since a nation last won successive World Cups, being Brazil in 1962, however. 

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is now swiftly approaching, getting underway on November 20

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is now swiftly approaching, getting underway on November 20

There will be four matches a day played throughout the group stages, being at 10am, 1pm, 4pm and 7pm UK time, before the knockout stages get underway on December 3. 

The final will be played at the Lusail Stadium on December 18, just a week before Christmas Day, and just eight days before the resumption of the Premier League. 

With the tournament drawing ever closer, Sportsmail previews each group in the competition below.

Group A: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands

Hosts Qatar are joined by Ecuador, Senegal and Netherlands a competitive looking Group A

Hosts Qatar are joined by Ecuador, Senegal and Netherlands a competitive looking Group A

Qatar were customarily placed into Group A for this winter's World Cup having qualified automatically for the tournament as hosts.

They will be guided by manager Felix Sanchez - despite the Spaniard failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, also faring badly at the 2019 Copa America and the 2021 CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Qatar did win the AFC Asian Cup title for the first time in their history in 2019, but in suffering heavy defeats to Portugal, Ireland and Serbia last year, even progression out of the group stages feels unlikely.

Undoubtedly the team to beat in the group are the Netherlands, who are back in the World Cup after failing to qualify for the 2018 tournament in Russia.

They won seven of their 10 qualifying matches and ended up group winners by two points, but it was only after two late goals from Steven Bergwijn and Memphis Depay in their final fixture against Norway that they confirmed a place.

Virgil van Dijk's Netherlands side are the favourites to prevail as the winners of Group A

Virgil van Dijk's Netherlands side are the favourites to prevail as the winners of Group A

It will be Louis van Gaal who takes charge of the Netherlands this summer, having undergone successful treatment for an aggressive form of prostate cancer, after revealing his condition earlier this year. He will be replaced by Ronald Koeman straight after the World Cup, however.

Also in with a chance of claiming top spot are Africa Cup of Nations champion Senegal, managed by Aliou Cisse, who will be relying on star man Sadio Mane once more.

The Bayern Munich forward has been at the forefront of two monumental moments in Senegal's recent history - and both have come at the expense of former club team-mate Mohamed Salah.

He scored the winning penalty to secure an historic Africa Cup of Nations victory for Senegal, before netting another spot-kick to knock Egypt out of World Cup qualifying.

The final Group A outfit are Ecuador, whose place looked in jeopardy after losing their first two qualifying games.

Gustavo Alfaro's side bounced back with wins over Chile and Paraguay, alongside draws with Argentina and Brazil, however, and managed to sneak into fourth place in the South American qualifying process.

Group A fixtures: 

Qatar vs Ecuador - Monday, November 20 at 4pm  Senegal vs Netherlands - Monday, November 21 at 4pm  Qatar vs Senegal - Friday, November 25 at 1pm Netherlands vs Ecuador - Friday, November 25 at 4pm  Netherlands vs Qatar - Tuesday, November 29 at 3pm Ecuador vs Senegal - Tuesday, November 29 at 3pm  Group B: England, Iran, USA, Wales

Group B promises to be one of the more exciting of the eight at this year's 2022 World Cup

Of course, it's England who will be expected to top the group amid lofty expectations to win the tournament, after reaching the semi-final in 2018 and, of course, the final of Euro 2020.

Gareth Southgate's side won eight of 10 qualifiers, sealing a place by smashing San Marino for 10, and they'll get their campaign underway on the second day of the competition against Iran.

There, captain Harry Kane will be looking to make a fast start as he bids for back-to-back World Cup Golden Boots.

England captain Harry Kane will be looking to claim back-to-back World Cup Golden Boots

England captain Harry Kane will be looking to claim back-to-back World Cup Golden Boots

Wales superstar Gareth Bale (left) will be competing in what's likely to be his final World Cup

Wales superstar Gareth Bale (left) will be competing in what's likely to be his final World Cup

Wales, England's biggest rivals in Group B, snuck into the World Cup at the last moment and were the final European team to qualify thanks to a 1-0 play-off win over Ukraine.

The Dragons lost only once during qualifying period, a heavy 3-1 defeat to Belgium and as such had to settle for the play-off route. 

Should they progress to the knockouts in Qatar, you can bet Gareth Bale will have been heavily involved. The 33-year-old scored twice in their 2-1 World Cup qualifying semi-final win over Austria and provided the all-important assist against Ukraine which booked their place in the tournament.

Meanwhile, Iran will look to make an impression after qualifying for a sixth World Cup. It was Dragan Skovi who guided them through two qualification rounds, but he was sacked in July, with Carlos Queiroz the manager for the World Cup.

USA also have a number of players who will look to make an impression at this winter's tournament, including Weston McKennie, Ricardo Pepi, Sergino Dest and Tyler Adams.

But when it comes to their star man, there's only one name: Christian Pulisic.

Group B fixtures:

England vs Iran - Monday, November 21 at 1pm USA vs Wales - Monday, November 21 at 7pm Wales vs Iran - Friday, November 25 at 10am England vs USA - Friday, November 25 at 7pm   Iran vs USA - Tuesday, November 29 at 7pm   Wales vs England - Tuesday, November 29 at 7pm  Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland

Argentina are expected to come out on top in an otherwise largely competitive Group C

Argentina are expected to come out on top in an otherwise largely competitive Group C

All eyes will be on Lionel Messi and Argentina, with Lionel Scaloni's side the overwhelming favourites to progress to the knockouts as Group C winners.

Winning Copa America last year has certainly eased the pressure for Argentina, who hadn't won a trophy in 28 years, while Messi's international trophy case is no longer despairingly empty.

For his legacy, a World Cup win would be huge, however. And though they perhaps don't have as many star names as they once had, their team certainly looks more balanced now, with the likes of Cristian Romero, Lautaro Martínez and Rodrigo De Pau all set to play pivotal roles.

They finished second in their South American qualifying group, behind Brazil, racking up 45 points from 17 matches. 

Their 18th game - against Argentina - was suspended back in September when health officials ran onto the pitch to stop Argentina's England-based players from playing, saying they had breached the country's COVID-19 quarantine rules. The fixture had initially been rescheduled for later in the month, but those plans were scrapped, with both sides safely through already.

Lionel Messi won his first international trophy as Argentina won the Copa America last year

Lionel Messi won his first international trophy as Argentina won the Copa America last year

Though Argentina are favourites, there is plenty of competition in Group C, with Mexico - guided by Gerardo Martino - certainly no pushovers.

Three automatic qualification places were up for grabs in the CONCACAF confederation, with Mexico finishing second, behind Canada in first and ahead of USA in third.

With a certain Robert Lewandowski in the team, Poland are also always in with a chance; the prolific forward scored in their 2-0 win over Sweden to knock Zlatan Ibrahimovic's side out during the European play-offs.

Poland entered the play-offs after finishing second in their qualifying group, behind only England, but with Russia kicked out they were handed a bye to the final.

Saudi Arabia will come in as the group underdogs, but they enjoyed a stellar qualification process, conceding just a single goal in 10 games during the third phase of Asian qualifying.

They topped a group which also included Japan, Australia, Oman, China and Vietnam to qualify for back-to-back World Cups.

Group C fixtures:

Argentina vs Saudi Arabia - Tuesday, November 22 at 10am Mexico vs Poland - Tuesday, November 22 at 4pm  Poland vs Saudi Arabia - Saturday, November 26 at 1pm   Argentina vs Mexico - Saturday, November 26 at 7pm   Poland vs Argentina - Wednesday, November 30 at 7pm   Saudi Arabia vs Mexico - Wednesday, November 30 at 7pm  Group D:  France, Australia, Denmark, Tunisia

France are one of the favourites to win the World Cup again, despite their current problems

France are one of the favourites to win the World Cup again, despite their current problems 

In Group D, holders France will have to cope without midfielder Paul Pogba, who has been officially ruled out of the tournament due to injury. 

Les Bleus are looking to become just the third team in history, after Italy and Brazil, to win back-to-back World Cups, after they claimed an historic victory in Russia four years ago.

With Karim Benzema in the form of his life, and with Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann also included in a star-studded attack, they certainly have a good shot of doing so, regardless of Pogba's absence.

Karim Benzema (L) and Kylian Mbappe (R) could soon be team-mates for club and country

Karim Benzema (L) and Kylian Mbappe (R) could soon be team-mates for club and country

Joining them in Group D are Denmark, who were one of the best sides throughout qualifying, winning nine of 10 games, scoring 30 goals and conceding just three.

They will have the significant boost of having Christian Eriksen back in the team, with the midfielder once again flourishing in the Premier League upon his return to football, after suffering a cardiac arrest at Euro 2020.

Also competing for a place in the knockouts are Australia, managed by Graham Arnold. Having finished third in their third-round qualifying group, behind Saudi Arabia and Japan, the Socceroos had to come through the nerve-shredding inter-confederation play-offs.

They were tied against the United Arab Emirates, and a 2-1 win took them to within 90 minutes of a World Cup spot. All they had to do

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