FIFA World Cup 2022 Group A: What to expect with Netherlands and Senegal in pool

The Champion of Africa in 2022, Senegal and European football powerhouse, Netherlands are in FIFA World Cup's Group A, which makes it a great grouping alondside the host Qatar.

Liverpool and Netherlands centreback Virgil Van Dijk will play against his club teammate Sadio Mane, when his country faces Senegal in Group A of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. (File Photo)   -  AP

FIFA World Cup 2022 Group A has shaped up as a tough pool after the draw, with Senegal, the recently crowned champion of Africa and European football powerhouse, Netherlands in the same pool.

Here is a look at the four teams in Group A and how they stack up at this point as they gear up for Qatar 2022.

Qatar

Host and World Cup debutant Qatar will be hoping to not follow in the footsteps of South Africa. South Africa was the only host country in history to not make it past the group stage in 2010.

Felix Sanchez’s team is the defending Asian champion after defeating Japan in AFC Asian Cup final in 2019. It was the first international trophy in the team's history.

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Qatar has not faced any of the teams in its group before.

Its automatic qualification in the tournament makes it difficult to gauge its chances of qualification, but the heavy defeats it faced against teams like Portugal, Ireland and Serbia in friendlies last year raises doubts about its chances to make it past the group stages.

Manager: Felix Sanchez

Qatar's World Cup record: N/A

Qatar beat Japan in the AFC Asian Cup in 2019 and being the host country, has earned automatic qualification in the 2022 FIFA World Cup.   -  GETTY IMAGES

 

Ecuador

This will be Ecuador’s fourth World Cup appearance in its history, with its last appearance coming in 2014. Gustavo Alvaro’s team qualified for the tournament after finishing fourth in the CONMEBOL qualifying tournament.

It is a tricky group for Ecuador because it has not faced any of the teams in its group in its World Cup history. The nation enjoyed its best run in the 2006 edition when it reached the Round of 16 and finished as the runner-up of the group behind Germany.

Ecuador will start its World Cup campaign against an Asian team (Qatar) for the first time after beginning its previous three World Cup with matches against European teams [2002 vs Italy (L 2-0), 2006 vs Poland (W 2-0) and 2014 vs Switzerland (L 2-1)].

Manager: Gustavo Alfaro

Ecuador's World Cup record:

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Senegal

Senegal is one of the favourites to qualify from the group.

Recently crowned champion of Africa, Aliou Cisse’s team will be coming to the World Cup with a boosted morale.

In the 2018 World Cup campaign, Senegal couldn’t make it past the group stage. It enjoyed its best-ever campaign in 2002 when it reached the quarterfinals.

Senegal was crowned the Champion in the African Cup of Nations 2021 and will come to Qatar with boosted morale.   -  GETTY IMAGES

 

Senegal was involved in a tense battle with Egypt where it defeated the latter 3-1 on penalties after the score ended 1-1 on aggregate. Boasting players like Sadio Mane, Idrissa Gana Gueye and Kalidou Koulibaly, it won’t be a surprise if the ‘Lions of Teranga’ top the group.

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Senegal started its last two World Cups with successive wins against France in 2002 and Poland in 2018. It also has the best win percentage of any African nation at the finals having won 38% of its fixtures (P8 W3 D3 L2).

Manager: Aliou Cisse

Senegal's World Cup record —

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Netherlands

The Netherlands, with its rich footballing heritage, reached an absolute low after it failed to make the finals in the 2018 edition of the World Cup.

Memphis Depay is the joint-highest goalscorer in the World Cup Qualifiers in Europe, with 12 goals alongside England's Harry Kane. (File Photo)   -  REUTERS

 

However, with the re-appointment of Louis Van Gaal, who led the team to third place in 2014, the Men in Orange has steadily worked on closing the loopholes.

Topping UEFA Group G in the qualifiers, the three-time World Cup runner-up (1974, 1978, 2010) is expected to be one of the two teams to qualify from Group A, with stars like Virgil Van Dijk, Frankie De Jong and Memphis Depay in its side.

Netherlands holds the European record for the most FIFA World Cup qualifying goals having taken its overall tally to 329 with 33 goals in its campaign for Qatar 2022.

Manager: Louis Van Gaal

Netherland's World Cup record —

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Here's the full list of FIFA World Cup 2022 Group A fixtures and timings (IST)

MatchDateFixturesTimeVenue
1November 21Qatar vs Ecuador3.30 pmAl Bayt Stadium
2November 21Senegal vs Netherlands9:30 pmKhalifa International Stadium
3November 25Qatar vs Senegal6:30 pmAl Thumama Stadium
4November 26Netherlands vs Ecuador00:30 amAl Rayyan Stadium
5November 29Netherlands vs Qatar3.30 pmAl Bayt Stadium
6November 29Ecuador vs Senegal9:30 pmKhalifa International Stadium

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