World Cup Predictions 2022: 'Group of Death' and Squads That Will Make Deep RunsApril 1, 2022
The final step before this year's FIFA World Cup is complete, as the draw was settled on Friday.
Below, we'll take a look at the groups, the proverbial Group of Death (spoiler alert: It's too close to call), a few sleepers worth monitoring and the favorites to make a deep run.
Group A: Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands
Group B: England, Iran, United States, Wales/Scotland/Ukraine
Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland
Group D: France, Australia/United Arab Emirates/Peru, Denmark, Tunisia
Group E: Spain, Costa Rica/New Zealand, Germany, Japan
Group F: Belgium, Canada, Morocco, Croatia
Group G: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon
Group H: Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay, South Korea
The Group of Death
This is a tough one. There are a number of solid groups, for sure, but this is a fairly balanced draw.
Group E was the early favorite to earn the Group of Death distinction after Spain and Germany were drawn together. But while Costa Rica—who likely will beat New Zealand in the playoff to reach Qatar—and Japan are solid teams, they will be definitive underdogs against the top two teams in this group.
Group H probably comes the closest to being the Group of Death. There will be no easy games for Portugal, with Uruguay, Ghana and South Korea all tough matchups. Still, Portugal and Uruguay should advance.
Both the United States and Canada will be fairly pleased with their respective draws. The United States will be underdogs against England, favorites against Iran and have the talent to beat either Wales, Scotland or Ukraine, depending on which team advances.
This is a group the United States should escape, and with a fairly weak Group A awaiting them in the Round of 16—the Netherlands will be heavily favored to win that group, a tough matchup certainly but a winnable one—the Americans have a path to the quarterfinals.
Sam Borden @SamBorden
Short version: A very good draw for the <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/USMNT?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#USMNT</a>, in my opinion. To be honest, one of the best draws for a big tournament I've seen. Feels like no one group is too terribly imbalanced. Hopefully that translates to some great drama!
Canada, meanwhile, have a real chance to escape Group F. Belgium will be the prohibitive favorites, and while Croatia were the 2018 World Cup runners-up, they haven't been in that type of form since, with a disappointing showing at the 2020 Euros.
Canada's run likely would end there—assuming Belgium win the group, Canada would likely be looking at either Spain or Germany in the Round of 16—but don't sleep on these Canadians. Finishing ahead of Mexico and the United States on the CONCACAF table was no small achievement, and this is a team with a lot of young, dangerous attacking talent.
France will be pretty happy with its draw. The French will be heavy favorites to win Group D, and assuming Argentina win Group C, France's first knockout phase game will be against either Mexico or Poland, a winnable matchup.
The road would get tougher from there, with a potential matchup against England in the quarterfinals. But the defending champions are set up yet again for a deep run in this tournament.
Brazil doesn't have any easy games in its group, but there isn't an elite squad in that mix, either. Assuming the Brazilians win that group, they'd face the runner-up from Group H, which at the moment we'll project to be Uruguay, a team they last lost to in 2001, with nine wins and three draws since that defeat.
From there, a potential matchup with either Spain or Germany in the quarterfinals seems likely, so the path to the final would get tougher. But the Brazilians are a real threat to win this tournament.
Belgium's golden generation is primed for its own deep run, with a group it should win. But facing the runners-up from Group E—again, expected to be either Spain or Germany—would immediately test Kevin De Bruyne and the Belgians. Escape that game, however, and the quarterfinals matchup, at least on paper, seems likely to be Portugal, a tough game, no doubt, but an easier one than Spain or Germany.
Finally, Argentina have a pretty clear path to the quarters, with an extremely winnable group and a likely Round of 16 matchup against either Peru or Denmark. From there, the expectation will be that the Netherlands or perhaps the United States awaits.
It's pretty easy to see a path into the semifinals for Lionel Messi's bunch. In what will likely be his final World Cup, expect Messi to be in serious contention to finally claim the elusive title.