2022 FIFA World Cup - Group F Preview

While World No. 2 Belgium seems like an obvious favorite, Group F is one of the more difficult groups to predict a winner from.


Let's take a cursory look at a group likely to be dominated by the European super-powers


Belgium

This could be the final opportunity for Belgium's golden generation to win an international trophy. They have flattered to deceive at the highest level despite their immensely talented pool of players. They made it to the semi-finals at the Russia 2018 World Cup and were knocked out of the Euro 2020 from the quarter final stage. Roberto Martinez's side are second as per latest FIFA rankings and will be keen to impress in Qatar.


The Red Devils boast genuine elite-level talents like Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, and Romelu Lukaku, and Coach Martinez has nurtured some key young players into the fold like AC Milan pair Alexis Saelemaekers and Charles De Ketelaere, and Arsenal’s Albert Sambi Lokonga.

The Red Devils do have the players to achieve greatness, but have fallen short one too many times. Overcoming the mental hurdle at the Mundial will be a big test.


Croatia

Like Belgium, Croatia have also emerged as a football superpower in recent years and have produced some world-class footballer, Luka Modric being the cream of the crop. They lost to France in the final of Russia 2018. Croatia have a nice combination of experience and youth and are placed 12th in the latest FIFA rankings.


At 37 years old, Real Madrid’s midfield technician continues to defy age and logic. However, with the bulk of Croatia’s 2018 World Cup squad also in their mid-thirties, it could be a tough ask for them to go deep into this tournament.

Though anew era of younger players beckons for the nation, making the quarter-finals would represent a step forward for Croatia. After their Round of 16 exit at Euro 2020, it would go some way to showing that there would be life beyond Modrić.


Canada

The 2022 World Cup signifies a milestone year for Canadian soccer – after 36 years they return to the top table of international soccer after taking first place in the CONCACAF qualification standings.


Canada actually sealed their place in the tournament without their talisman Alphonso Davies, who was not available as they dispatched Jamaica 4-0 in Toronto. It proved the team have others that can step up when needed – the likes of Lille forward Jonathan David and Club Brugge duo Cyle Larin and Tajon Buchanan could be crucial if Canada are going to make an impact in the group.

While there’s no expectation they will win the group, or even qualify for the knockout rounds, if they beat Morocco and take points from either Belgium or Croatia, they could upset the status quo.


Morocco

Morocco are one of the strongest teams on the African continent - only Senegal (18) are rated higher of the African nations participating in the World Cup.


They do have a couple of players competing at the highest level of club soccer; aside from Paris Saint-Germain’s Achraf Hakimi, there is fellow full-back Noussair Mazraoui, who is at Bayern Munich, plus Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech and Sevilla’s forward Youssef En-Nesyri.

The Atlas Lions appear far from winning the group, but with Canada’s lack of experience at this level and Croatia’s ageing side, Morocco might seize the chance to advance.


Prediction:

So, with Group F containing the losing finalist and the third-placed team in the last World Cup, it's clear that the Europeans will be tough to beat. But with the two other teams having plenty to prove, this Group could yet go down to the final set of fixtures in December.


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