Qatar 2022 Group A Teams And Profiles
1. The Netherlands (Group A)
- Coach: Louis Van Gaal
- Captain: Virgil Van Dijk
- Most Capped Player: Wesley Sneijder\
- Top Scorer: Robin Van Persie (50)
- World Cup Appearances: 11 (first in 1934)
- FIFA Ranking: 8th
- Best run: Runners-up in 1974, 1978 and 2010
- Group A rivals: Qatar, Ecuador, and Senegal
Key Players: Virgil Van Dijk, Denzel Dumfries, Frankie De Jong, Cody Gakpo, Memphis Depay and Matthias De Ligt
Status: Having missed consecutive championships in 2016 and 2018, the orange boys exited the 2020 championship in a disappointing manner despite winning all 3 of their group games.
They are however still undefeated since that defeat to the Czech Republic in July 2021 topping their World Cup qualifying and Nations league groups
Personal Verdict: Van Dijk, Frankie De Jong, Depay, Gakpo, Depay, and a host of all other top-quality players are in this Dutch squad. Therefore, a go for the trophy isn’t beyond their reach, but a semi-finals berth should be their target.
- Coach: Aliou Cisse
- Captain: Kalidou Koulibaly
- Most Capped Player: Henri Camara (99)
- Top Scorer: Sadio Mané (34)
- World Cup Appearances: 3 (first in 2002)
- FIFA Ranking: 18th
- Best run: Quarter Finals (2002)
- Group A rivals: Qatar, Ecuador, and The Netherlands
Key Players: Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly, Idrissa Gana Gueye, Sadio Mané and Ismaila Sarr
Status: Top dogs in Africa, The Terranga lions have kept growing each passing day under Coach Aliou Cisse. Demonstrated by their AFCON success in February
Personal Verdict: I didn’t fancy Senegal to win the AFCON in February even though they later won it and I’m not backing them either now.
However, if we are to back any African nation to go far in this tournament, then it will definitely be the Terranga Lions. Getting a Top 2 spot should be a realistic target in the meantime.
- Coach: Gustavo Alfaro
- Captain: Enner Valencia
- Most Capped Player: Ivan Hurtado (168)
- Top Scorer: Enner Valencia (35)
- World Cup Appearances: 4 (first in 2002)
- FIFA Ranking: 44th
- Best run: Round of 16 (2006)
- Group A rivals: Qatar, Senegal, and The Netherlands
Key Players: Piero Hincapie, Pervis Estupiñán, Moises Caicedo and Enner Valencia
Status: Ecuador returned to the big stage having missed the 2018 edition, having won the legal battle with Peru and Chile to be disqualified from this month’s showpiece, they will want to replicate the form that took them to the round of 16 in 2006.
Personal Verdict: With some key players in their rank, Ecuador should be able to push for a top 2 finish, which might be unlikely given the quality Senegal and The Netherlands possess
- Coach: Felix Sanchez
- Captain: Hassan Al-Haydos
- Most Capped Player: Hassan Al-Haydos (169)
- Top Scorer: Mansoor Muftah (42)
- World Cup Appearances: 1 (first in 2022)
- FIFA Ranking: 50th
- Best run: First Tournament
- Group A rivals: Ecuador, Senegal, and the Netherlands
Key Players: Hassan Al-Haydos, Akram Afif, and Almoez Ali
Status: Champions of Asia in 2019, Qatar enters their first ever World Cup in good form and would be hoping to channel the same energy they used to win the Asian Cup.
Personal Verdict: If we are being realistic, Qatar’s target should be to make the round of 16, anything aside should be a welcome bonus. But from a group that contains Senegal and The Netherlands, I don’t fancy them achieving that.