5 posters of the first round not (especially) to miss

A few enticing matches, including a Spain-Germany, will animate the group stage of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

No, we will not have to wait for the round of 16 to see heavy against heavy on paper. In Qatar, where the World Cup starts this Sunday, November 20, shocks are expected from the group stage. Here are 5 appointments that should not be missed, including one that concerns the France team.

France-Denmark, November 26, 5 p.m.

The defending champion against a Euro 2020 semi-finalist. France certainly avoided Germany and the Netherlands in the draw, but Denmark, 10th nation in the FIFA rankings, remains a big fish. As proof, Christian Eriksen’s teammates beat the Blues twice in the League of Nations, on June 3 at the Stade de France (1-2) then September 25 in Copenhagen (2-0). Didier Deschamps has been warned: Denmark is an authentic outsider in this World Cup.

This will be the Blues’ second game in Qatar. Different scenarios are possible: either France will have failed against Australia and will therefore already have their backs against the wall, or they will be able to ensure their qualification for the round of 16, and thus offer themselves a match with relative stakes against the Tunisia.

Denmark had beaten France in Copenhagen, in the League of Nations, on September 25 (2-0) AI/Reuters/Panoramic

Spain-Germany, November 27, 8 p.m.

This is THE shock of this group stage, between two title contenders. Spain, eliminated by Italy in the semi-finals of the last Euro (1-1, 2-4 on penalties), will face Germany, the ogre of hat 2, world champion 2014 and eliminated from the pools in 2018. The Mannschaft comes out of a sad Euro, beaten in the round of 16 by England (2-0). She replaced her eternal coach, Joachim Löw, with former Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick.

Again, this will be the second match of a group completed by Costa Rica and Japan. Above all, it will be an opportunity for revenge for Germany, humiliated in November 2020 in Seville (6-0). It was the heaviest defeat in its history since… 1931.

SEE ALSO – All Spain-Germany goals in November 2020 (6-0)

Brazil-Switzerland, November 28, 5 p.m.

Like four years ago, Brazil will face Switzerland in the group stage. In Russia, the Brazilians had been hooked by the Nati (1-1). Since then, the latter has surprised by eliminating France at the Euro (3-3, 4-5 on penalties) before losing in the quarter-finals against Spain (1-1, 1-3 on penalties). 15th nation in the Fifa rankings, it has everything of the trap match for Brazil, the first nation in the world and, of course, a contender for the title.

Once again, this will be the second day of the group stage. If missteps against Serbia at the start, Neymar’s Brazil will be under pressure against a Switzerland whose structure has not changed since the Euro.

Portugal-Uruguay, November 28, 8 p.m.

Here is a remake of the round of 16 in 2018, won by Uruguay (2-1). Since then, Portugal, 9th nation in the world and also beaten in the eighth of the Euro by Belgium (1-0), has not made much progress. No more than Celeste, 14th in the FIFA rankings. But the two selections remain big outsiders. On the one hand, the new golden generation of the Seleção, guided by a Cristiano Ronaldo in questionable form and who will play his 5th World Cup. On the other, veterans (Godin, Suarez, Cavani) and freshness (Bentancur, Valverde, Nuñez…).

You guessed it, it’s a poster for Day 2 of the group stage again. By then, Portugal will have already faced Ghana and Uruguay will have tested against South Korea. The stake would prove to be crucial in the event of a hitch in the first match.

Croatia-Belgium, December 1, 4 p.m.

Belgium, 2nd nation in the FIFA rankings, will it finally realize its potential? She failed in the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup, Euro 2016 and Euro 2020, and saw France shatter her dream in the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup (1-0). Its workforce remains one of the richest in the tournament. But nothing says that it will be enough against Croatia, vice-world champion in title. Only 6 of the 26 players summoned by Zlatko Dalic were there in Russia, including the captains Luka Modric, Marcelo Brozovic, Dejan Lovren or Ivan Perisic.

Once is not custom, this match will close the group stage of the two selections. The other two adversaries, Morocco and Canada, have everything in the trap. It cannot be excluded that Belgium and/or Croatia play their qualification on this meeting. Nor that they already have 6 points each and that they are only playing for first place in group F.

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