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2022 World Cup Group A preview, teams, odds, more: Netherlands, Senegal pack star power in host’s group

Memphis Depay Netherlands World Cup Group A
FILE – Memphis Depay of the Netherlands celebrates scoring his side’s first goal during the World Cup 2022 group G qualifying soccer match between the Netherlands and Montenegro at the Philips stadium in Eindhoven, Netherlands, Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)

2022 World Cup Group A preview

Qatar

Almoez Ali Qatar World Cup
FILE – Qatar’s Almoez Ali is in action during the group A Arab Cup soccer match between Qatar and Bahrain at the Al Bayt stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic, File)
  • FIFA Rank: 50th
  • Qualification: Automatic (host country)
  • Previous World Cup appearances: 0
  • Odds to win group: +1000
  • Odds to make knockout stage: +350
  • Odds to win World Cup: +30000

The defending Asian Cup winners from 2019 are making their first-ever appearance at the World Cup thanks to the controversial scandal that awarded them host duties this year. None of the players on their roster play their domestic-league soccer outside of the country, so they are naturally hefty underdogs against more experienced sides within the group.

X-Factor: Almoez Ali The 26-year-old forward is Qatar’s star up front, recording 41 goals in 84 caps with the national team. He’s played his domestic soccer with Al-Duhail since 2016, but before that, he had the rare distinction of being the first Qatari soccer player to score in a Spanish league when he spent time with Cultural Leonesa in Segunda Division B.

Qatar World Cup Roster

Position Player Club
Goalkeeper Saad Al-Sheeb Al-Sadd 
Goalkeeper Meshaal Barsham Al-Sadd 
Goalkeeper Yousuf Hassan Al-Gharafa 
Defender Pedro Miguel Al-Sadd 
Defender Musaab Khidir Al-Sadd 
Defender Tarek Salman Al-Sadd 
Defender Bassam Al Rawi Al-Duhail 
Defender Boualem Khoukhi Al-Sadd
Defender Abdelkarim Hassan Al-Sadd 
Defender Ismaeel Mohammad Al-Duhail
Defender Homam Ahmed Al Amin Al-Gharafa 
Defender Jassim Jabir Al-Arabi 
Midfielder Ali Asad Al-Sadd 
Midfielder Assim Madibo Al-Duhail 
Midfielder Mohammed Waad Al-Sadd 
Midfielder Salem Al-Hajri Al-Sadd
Midfielder Mustafa Meshaal Tarek Al-Sadd 
Midfielder Karim Boudiaf Al-Duhail 
Midfielder Abdulaziz Hatim Al-Rayyan 
Forward Naif Al-Hadhrami Al-Rayyan 
Forward Ahmed Alaaeldin Al-Gharafa
Forward Hassan Al-Haydos Al-Sadd 
Forward Akram Afif Al-Sadd 
Forward Almoez Ali Al-Duhail
Forward Mohammed Muntari Al-Duhail
Forward Khalid Muneer Al-Wakrah 

 

 

Ecuador

Ecuador World Cup
Ecuador head coach Gustavo Alfaro watches during the first half of an international friendly soccer match against Cape Verde, Saturday, June 11, 2022, in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File)
  • FIFA Rank: 44th
  • Qualification: 4th in COMNEBOL
  • Previous World Cup appearances: 3
  • Best finish: Round of 16 (2006)
  • Odds to win group: +500
  • Odds to make knockout stage: +100
  • Odds to win World Cup: +15000

A younger side is quick on the ball and defensively stout at times, but a lack of legitimate goal-scoring menace could prove problematic for La Tri. Their best chance of success is to live and die by the counter-attack.

X-Factor: Moises Caicedo There is no player more indicative of Ecuador’s style than Caicedo — a 20-year-old midfielder that is plying his trade with Brighton & Hove Albion, who currently sit sixth in the Premier League. He will be the engine that makes Ecuador go.

Ecuador World Cup Roster

Position Player Club
Goalkeeper Hernan Galindez Aucas
Goalkeeper Moises Ramirez Independiente del Valle
Goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez LDU Quito
Defender Piero Hincapie Bayer Leverkusen
Defender Robert Arboleda Sao Paolo
Defender Felix Torres Santos Laguna
Defender William Pacho Antwerp
Defender Pervis Estupinan Brighton
Defender Angelo Preciado Genk
Defender Xavier Arreaga Seattle Sounders
Defender Diego Palacios LAFC
Defender Jackson Porozo Troyes
Midfielder Jose Cifuentes LAFC
Midfielder Carlos Gruezo Augsburg
Midfielder Angel Mena Leon
Midfielder Jeremy Sarmiento Brighton
Midfielder Jhegson Mendez LAFC
Midfielder Gonzalo Plata Real Valladolid
Midfielder Alan Franco Talleres
Midfielder Moises Caicedo Brighton
Midfielder Kevin Rodriguez Imbabura
Forward Djorkaeff Reasco Newell’s Old Boys
Forward Enner Valencia Fenerbahce
Forward Michael Estrada Cruz Azul
Forward Aytron Preciado Santos Laguna
Forward Romario Ibarra Pachuca

 

Netherlands

Netherlands World Cup
Netherlands’ players lie up for the UEFA Nations League soccer match between the Netherlands and Belgium at the Johan Cruyff ArenA in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Sunday, Sept. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong, File)
  • FIFA Rank: 8th
  • Qualification: UEFA Group G winners
  • Previous World Cup appearances: 10
  • Best finish: 2nd place (1974, 1978, 2010)
  • Odds to win group: -280
  • Odds to make knockout stage: -1200
  • Odds to win World Cup: +1200

Three times a bridesmaid, the Netherlands has never tasted ultimate World Cup glory. After losing to Spain in the final in 2010 and finishing third in Brazil four years later, the Oranje shockingly failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup. Back in 2022, they’re the clear-cut favorites to win the group thanks to a resolute defense anchored by Liverpool star Virgil Van Dijk. 

X-Factor: Frenkie de Jong The Netherlands’ largest weakness is a midfield that lacks width and some imagination, so it will be up to de Jong — who plays his club soccer with the Spanish giants Barcelona — to inspire the Dutch in Qatar.

Netherlands World Cup Roster

Position Player Club
Goalkeeper Andries Noppert Heerenveen
Goalkeeper Remko Pasveer Ajax
Goalkeeper Justin Bijlow Feyenoord
Defender Virgil van Dijk Liverpool
Defender Nathan Ake Manchester City
Defender Daley Blind Ajax
Defender Stefan de Vrij Inter Milan
Defender Denzel Dumfries Inter Milan
Defender Tyrell Malacia Manchester United
Defender Jurrien Timber Ajax
Defender Jeremie Frimpong Bayer Leverkusen
Defender Matthijs de Ligt Bayern Munich
Midfielder Steven Berghuis Ajax
Midfielder Frenkie de Jong Barcelona
Midfielder Davy Klaassen Ajax
Midfielder Marten de Roon Atalanta
Midfielder Teun Koopmeiners Atalanta
Midfielder Xavi Simons PSV
Midfielder Kenneth Taylor Ajax
Forward Luuk de Jong PSG
Forward Noa Lang Club Brugge
Forward Steven Bergwijn Tottenham
Forward Memphis Depay Barcelona
Forward Wout Weghorst Besiktas
Forward Cody Gakpo PSV
Forward Vincent Janssen Royal Antwerp

 

Senegal

Sadio Mane Senegal World Cup
Senegal’s Sadio Mane tries to shoot during a qualifying soccer match against Egypt, for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 at Cairo International stadium in Cairo, Egypt, Friday, March 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil, File)
  • FIFA Rank: 18th
  • Qualification: Defeated Egypt in 3rd round of CAF qualifiers
  • Previous World Cup appearances: 2
  • Best finish: Quarterfinals (2002)
  • Odds to win group: +450
  • Odds to make knockout stage: -110
  • Odds to win World Cup: +10000

Senegal is a team flush with talent playing in top leagues around the world. Ten players, including Chelsea defender Kalidou Koulibaly, play in England. Another six play in France. They’re another strong defensive team who will rely heavily on one, central x-factor up front.

X-Factor: Ismaila Sarr Despite being included on Senegal’s World Cup roster, it was revealed on Thursday that Bayern Munich star striker Sadio Mane will be unable to compete in the tournament due to an injury he picked up on Nov. 8. It’s a massive blow for Senegal’s attacking hopes and will call for the likes of Watford forward Ismaila Sarr to step up and make a name for himself on the world stage.

Senegal World Cup Roster

Position Player Club
Goalkeeper Edouard Mendy Chelsea
Goalkeeper Alfred Gomis Rennes
Goalkeeper Seny Dieng Queens Park Rangers
Defender Papa Abou Cisse Olympiacos
Defender Kalidou Koulibaly Chelsea
Defender Fode Ballo-Toure AC Milan
Defender Ismail Jakobs Monaco
Defender Formose Mendy Amiens
Defender Abdou Diallo RB Leipzig
Defender Youssouf Sabaly Real Betis
Midfielder Idrissa Gueye Everton
Midfielder Pathe Ciss Rayo Vallecano
Midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate Nottingham Forest
Midfielder Pape Gueye Marseille
Midfielder Krepin Diatta Monaco
Midfielder Nampalys Mendy Leicester City
Midfielder Pape Matar Sarr Tottenham
Midfielder Mamadou Loum Reading
Midfielder Moustapha Name Pafos
Forward Sadio Mane Bayern Munich
Forward Boulaye Dia Salernitana
Forward Bamba Dieng Marseille
Forward Ismaila Sarr Watford
Forward Iliman Ndiaye Sheffield United
Forward Famara Diedhiou Alanyaspor
Forward Nicolas Jackson Villarreal

*Odds courtesy of DraftKings

2022 World Cup Group A schedule

Date Match Time TV
Sunday, Nov. 20 Qatar v. Ecuador 11 AM ET FOX
Monday, Nov. 21 Senegal v. Netherlands 11 AM FOX
Friday, Nov. 25 Qatar v. Senegal 8 AM FS1
Friday, Nov. 25 Netherlands v. Ecuador 11 AM FOX
Tuesday, Nov. 29 Netherlands v. Qatar 10 AM FOX
Tuesday, Nov. 29 Ecuador v. Senegal 10 AM FS1

For more on the 2022 FIFA World Cup, visit AMNY.com

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