We still have a little longer to wait than usual for the 2022 World Cup. The summer is usually when the world’s attention focuses on the tournament every four years. But due to the heat and conditions in Qatar, it has been moved to the end of the year instead.
The Minnows of World Cup 2022
The likes of France, Brazil and England will be most people’s picks to lift the famous trophy in December – and online sites such as BetOnline have also installed those three as the favorites. But what about some of the less well known teams taking part? Could there be an upset in Qatar? Read on to find out about this year’s World Cup minnows.
Expectations will be high in the host country, even though there was no real soccer culture in Qatar until fairly recently. It was a shock when FIFA awarded the 2022 World Cup to this Gulf state – and it would be an even bigger upset if it were able to go further than the group stage. But hosts have overachieved before.
Since the announcement about this tournament, Qatar has been invited to play in the CONCACAF Gold Cup and other prestigious friendlies to boost the team’s chances. There was an Asian Cup triumph in 2019 but there seems to be little chance of Qatar making an impression on this World Cup.
This will actually be the sixth World Cup finals that Saudi Arabia has competed in. It has only progressed further than the group stage on one occasion – getting to the round of 16 in 1994 – and start off this one against the might of Argentina. All the squad plays in Saudi Arabia and it will be one of the biggest underdogs in Qatar.
Although qualifying for the World Cup has become something of a tradition, Saudi Arabia’s form has dipped in recent years. A former regional powerhouse, it last won the Asian Cup in 1996 and the Arabian Gulf Cup in 2004. Two recent defeats to Colombia and Venezuela also don’t bode well.
This is one of the minnows that may actually have a chance of causing an upset in Qatar. Canada may not have qualified for a World Cup since 1986, but this is a young group of players performing in some of the best leagues in the world who have now come together at exactly the right time.
The star turn is Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies, but Cyle Larin and Jonathan David will also cause opponents difficulty at the end of the year. Financial disputes will worry the fans as they get ready for only their second-ever World Cup, but a relatively favorable group draw could benefit Canada.
Ghana may be considered one of the traditional powerhouses of African soccer but it is the lowest ranked nation competing at this year’s World Cup and comes into the competition in poor form. There has been just one win in the calendar year and a 4-1 defeat at the hands of Japan shows how far behind the Black Stars might be.
Grouped with Portugal, South Korea and Uruguay, there will not be many neutrals confident of Ghana going through. But the chance to gain some revenge for the controversial departure from the 2010 World Cup at the literal hand of Uruguay might inspire the players to greater heights.
Considered one of the success stories of South American soccer, there was a possibility that Ecuador would exit the 2022 World Cup without a ball being kicked. A player eligibility issue in qualification almost meant that La Tri would miss out on playing on the big stage at all.
That all seems to have been cleared up now and Ecuador can concentrate on facing the host on the very first day of the competition – and possibly setting up an exciting race for the top two places in Group A. There is also Senegal and the Netherlands standing in its way though. So it might not be a long World Cup adventure for Ecuador.