Group A: Senegal, the Netherlands and Ecuador on the road to Qatar

2022 World CupFor the first participation in its history, Qatar, the host country, will find on its way the Netherlands, Senegal and Ecuador in Group A of the World Cup which begins on November 20.

The opening match will pit Qatar, 50th in the world rankings, against Ecuador (FIFA 44). The ideal opportunity for these two teams to launch their World Cup and earn points with a view to qualifying for the next round, because it is the Netherlands (FIFA 8) and Senegal (FIFA 18), who face the next day, who leave with the favors of the predictions in this group.

The Dutch rising generation

Dutch and Senegalese can even hope for a good run in this World Cup. The ‘Oranje’, absent in Russia four years ago, have found some juice since the return to the bench of Louis van Gaal, as evidenced by their 16 out of 18 in the Nations League embellished with a demonstration (1-4) at Brussels against the Red Devils. With players like Matthijs De Ligt (Bayern), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Frenkie De Jong or Memphis Depay (FC Barcelona), the Netherlands can rely on an interesting squad.

Senegal and the doubts of Sadio Mané

Crowned African champions last February, the ‘Terranga Lions’ hope to repeat the feat of 2002 when Aliou Cissé, the current coach, and his teammates reached the quarter-finals. A time announced forfeit, superstar Sadio Mané (Bayern Munich), second in the Ballon d’Or, is indeed present in the Senegalese selection, but could miss the first meetings because of a calf injury. Senegal can always count on a goalkeeper, Edouard Mendy, and a defender, Kalidou Koulibaly (both at Chelsea), of world level to shine.


Qatar and its ancient Pandas

Qatar has been coached since 2017 by Spaniard Felix Sanchez Bas. Nicknamed ‘Al-Annabi’ (‘the Bordeaux’), the host team comes to its World Cup with the stripes of Asian champions, conquered in 2019. Its stars Akram Afif (Al-Sadd) and Almoez Ali (Al- Duhail SC) went through Eupen, like several other players in the squad.

Fourth World for Ecuador

Ecuador completes this group. For its fourth participation, ‘la Tri’ is aiming for a second qualification in the round of 16. The selection of Gustavo Alfaro, whose spearhead is the striker Enner Valencia (Fenerbahce), arrives in Qatar while its preparation has been disrupted by the case of Byron Castillo, whose nationality was questioned by Chile and Peru . Ecuador will also have to start the next qualifying round with a three-point penalty.

Byron Castillo almost cost Ecuador its participation in the World Cup, he will not be present in Qatar.
Byron Castillo almost cost Ecuador its participation in the World Cup, he will not be present in Qatar. © AFP

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