Argentine football team players attend a training camp in Abu Dhabi ahead of the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup, at the Nahyan Stadium, on November 14, 2022. LEHTIKUVA / AFP


The World Cup begins this week, and it is one like no other, taking place in the late stages in November and ending in December, the winter World Cup will be a spectacle to behold. One of the most difficult competitions to predict, the groups and predictions for each respective group are as follows:


Qatar: The host country, playing under a climate they are very much used to might come to their benefit. Even with that, it is difficult to see them coming anywhere near the top two in a challenging group with in-form Netherlands, and a Mane-less Senegal, who are still a strong team without their talisman.
Group Prediction: 4th
Player to watch: Almoez Ali

Ecuador: This country can prove to be tricky opposition, collecting a draw against Argentina and Brazil respectively in the last year, and are currently holding onto a 7-match unbeaten streak prior to stepping on the world stage. Even with this, they have looked unconvincing on the attacking side, collecting four goalless affairs in their last five outings.
Group Prediction: 3rd
Player to watch: Moisés Caicedo

Senegal: With Sadio Mane’s World Cup hopes being in doubt over the last few weeks, Senegal had their dark horse hopes tied to a flimsy string. With Mane confirmed to be out of the competition entirely after completing surgery, it is difficult to see them seriously giving the Netherlands a run for their money without their main man in attack.
Group Prediction: 2nd
Player to watch: Ismaila Sarr

Netherlands: An outside bet for this competition, having missed out on the previous edition in 2018, the Netherlands are back in 2022 with large expectations from their optimistic fans. They finished as the runners-up in 2010 while finishing third in the 2014 edition. Netherlands finished top of their qualifying group, while scoring goals in prolific fashion. They are definitely one to watch this year and may cause some upsets to behold.
Group Prediction: 1st
Player to watch: Cody Gakpo


Iran: While the Asian country have not made it out of the group stage in the last five competitions on the world stage, this might be their best chance. While they may be considered the team with the worst odds in the group, players like Mehdi Taremi may prove to be useful against the high-line of Wales.
Group Prediction: 4th
Player to watch: Mehdi Taremi

USA: One of the favorites when it comes to the betting odds, but most definitely not one of the favorites when it comes to performances on the pitch. The United States may have potential in future competitions, with the likes of Brenden Aaronson and Christian Pulisic yet to hit their prime. However, factors such as underwhelming performances against El Salvador, Japan, and Saudi Arabia in the build-up to this tournament, as well as Christian Pulisic struggling to find form in Chelsea colors, may create a barrier between the USA and making the knockout stages this year.
Group Prediction: 3rd
Player to watch: Brenden Aaronson

Wales: Still holding onto their fairy-tale run in the 2016 Euros, this Welsh team is relying on a Gareth Bale that is far from what he was 6 years ago. Previously having the goalscoring threat of Aaron Ramsey in behind, the group-winner here is relatively clear, while there could very well be a scrap and mix-up for the second-place team.
Group Prediction: 2nd
Player to watch: Brennan Johnson

England: The easiest pick out of the bunch here, while the other three teams may scrap for the remaining knockout spot, this should be relatively straightforward for England. With the most valuable team in the competition, it would prove to be a massive upset if they were to come anywhere other than top of this group.
Group Prediction: 1st
Player to watch: Phil Foden


Saudi Arabia: While the World Cup is regarded as the most unpredictable competition on the planet, it would be an understatement to consider Saudi Arabia as challengers for this group due to a lack of talismanic threat.
Group Prediction: 4th
Player to watch: Salem Al-Dawsari

Mexico: Calling between Mexico and Poland is difficult, and despite Mexico having success in progressing to the round of 16 in the past few competitions, this may be the end of the line in this edition. With Raúl Jimenez struggling to rediscover form after recovering from his long-term injury, they will very much be relying on sensation Hirving “Chucky” Lozano this year in the edition.
Group Prediction: 3rd
Player to watch: Guillermo Ochoa

Poland: Will this finally be a memorable World Cup for Robert Lewandowski? While the European country struggled against Belgium in the Nations League, a win against Sweden in the World Cup qualifiers final as well as a 1-0 victory against Chile in a pre-competition friendly would prove to be encouraging for Lewandowski and company.
Group Prediction: 2nd
Player to watch: Piotr Zielinski

Argentina: One of the favorites this year. Making the final in 2014 in a historic run, and winning the 2021 Copa America, this could definitely be a year to remember and cherish for La Albiceleste. With Lionel Messi rediscovering otherworldly form prior to the tournament, and the side being two games away from Italy’s unbeaten record, it is, quite frankly, written in the stars for them to go all the way.
Group Prediction: 1st
Player to watch: Lisandro Martinez


Australia: The side that many fans would have not seen to even make it here in the first place back in the qualifiers. The Australia team is not overflowing with individual talent, thus forcing the coach to implement a style that is primarily aggressive without the need for individual ability or technicians.
Group Prediction: 4th
Player to watch: Garang Kuol

Tunisia: This team is completely different to the outfit they took to Russia 2018, looking like an entirely new side, expectations are high for this new-look side with a string of recent performances in friendlies against challenging opposition.
Group Prediction: 3rd
Player to watch: Ellyes Skhiri

France: Now, while this France side still boasts incredible attacking talent in the form of generational talent Kylian Mbappé and Ballon d'Or winner Karim Benzema, the side is still acclimatizing to the monumental loss of their midfield duo in the shape of Paul Pogba and roadrunner N’golo Kanté. With Eduardo Camavinga and Aurélien Tchouaméni set to start, the midfield depth is looking lacklustre for the 2018 champions. And after a poor showing in the Nations League tournament, along with many injuries, this France side may have to solely rely on individual brilliance in Qatar 2022 rather than squad cohesion.
Group Prediction: 2nd
Player to watch: Ousmane Dembélé

Denmark: The Euro 2021 semi-finalists look hungry to progress to the latter stages of yet another major national tournament. Seemingly dark horses of another competition, the Danish side looked impressive in World Cup qualifying, reaching confirmation status after a few games to spare. They are backed to create another upset, this time on the world stage, trumping 2018 champions to the top spot.
Group Prediction: 1st
Player to watch: Mikkel Damsgaard


Japan: The side that has established themselves as one of the powerhouses in Asia. Japan will be looking to cause an upset against former winners Spain and Germany, along with 2014 underdogs Costa Rica. While most of their side is competing in the European top five leagues and starting games, their setup still leaves to room to lack ideas in attack, occasionally leaving them to rely on individual quality rather than effective buildup.
Group Prediction: 4th
Player to watch: Kaoru Mitoma

Costa Rica: Many would be asking themselves how Costa Rica have even managed to qualify for this competition in the first place. Seemingly looking down and out in the CONCACAF qualifying initially. However, they clawed back with 6 wins in their last 7 games, and this is a mentality which could ask some questions of the two favorites in the group.
Group Prediction: 3rd
Player to watch: Joel Campbell

Germany: After their upset group stage knockout in 2018, Hansi Flick will be keen to establish his tactical balance and structure to this Germany side. While the side made it through the qualifying stages without any major worries, as well as the Nations League, the continuous issue that is struggles with finishing has been prevalent over the last four years. With an exciting new generation arriving on the scene, it will be intriguing to see if they can step up to the plate.
Group Prediction: 2nd
Player to watch: Jamal Musiala

Spain: Speaking of exciting new generation, it does not get better than Spain, having an impressive Euro 2021 campaign under Luis Enrique, they have rediscovered aspects which led to them being crowned champions in the 2010 edition.
Group Prediction: 1st
Player to watch: Gavi


Canada: While Canada impressed in the qualifying stages, it is hard to see them giving Belgium and 2018 finalists Croatia a run for their money. Very much reliant on two holding midfielders along with Alphonso Davies in a free roam role, it is easy to see them being caught out on the counter in this 2022 competition.
Group Prediction: 4th
Player to watch: Jonathan David

Morocco: Reaching Qatar with the best qualifying record of any African side, they had a perfect record during the second stages of qualifying. While this is the case, there is a strong sense of excitement around the new coach, and with marquee players such as Hakim Ziyech and Achraf Hakimi rediscovering form for the Atlas Lions, they could challenge for second place in this intriguing group.
Group Prediction: 3rd
Player to watch: Sofiane Boufal

Croatia: The surprise runners-up in 2018, despite this tournament being four years later, the core of the team remains very much the same. With timeless Luka Modrić leading the side once again. This year, Croatia are relying on their ever-present golden generation, of experience and poise to lead them far once again.
Group Prediction: 2nd
Player to watch: Joško Gvardiol

Belgium: One of the under-the-radar favorites for this year, while Belgium may be past their golden generation, their experience at the back and Kevin De Bruyne finding form before this competition will prove to be key in their goal to finally lift the trophy.
Group Prediction: 1st
Player to watch: Leandro Trossard


Cameroon: Another country that did not make it to the 2018 World Cup, Cameroon will be hungry for a form of redemption, but they did not exactly get the most fortunate pick when it comes to their group. Making it to the promised land by the skin of their teeth over Algeria, the successful African country will be embarking on a new era in their long history.
Group Prediction: 4th
Player to watch: André-Frank Zambo Anguissa

Switzerland: There is a sense of familiarity with this venture into Qatar for Switzerland, back in the 2018 edition, the side were placed with Brazil and Serbia, and pipped over Serbia only to lose to Sweden in the round of 16. Switzerland have always been a respected side in international tournaments but have struggled to make rifts, with Granit Xhaka and Manuel Akanji finding top form before the tournament, it would be no surprise if they progressed once again.
Group Prediction: 3rd
Player to watch: Noah Okafor

Serbia: The side that has finally found clinicality. In their long history, Serbia have never been better placed to finish to reach the round of 16 in any World Cup edition in the past. With Aleksander Mitrovic finding form for Fulham, the two up top could be a force to be reckoned with, with a Serbia side desperate to prove its quality along with star-studded talent out wide and in defence. They topped their qualifying group and are on a five-match unbeaten run as things stand.
Group Prediction: 2nd
Player to watch: Sergej Milinković-Savić

Brazil: The favorites alongside Argentina, despite falling to Copa America defeat against their South American counterparts, Brazil look poised to make it all the way. Boasting top talent in every area of the pitch, with their talisman and star Neymar looking better than ever.
Group Prediction: 1st
Player to watch: Lucas Paquetá


Korea Republic: The side that made it to the round of 16 in 2010, while knocking out Germany in the 2018 edition, South Korea are heading to their 10th consecutive World Cup. While they have the magic of Son Heung-min, he has dropped off in form this season for Tottenham in both domestic and competitions. With a challenging group, they will find it difficult to challenge Ghana to a higher spot.
Group Prediction: 4th
Player to watch: Kim Min-jae

Ghana: The Black Stars will be wanting to make World Cup history once again, after being historically denied of a semi final spot in 2010 due to some volleyball by Luis Suárez. With many players pledging allegiance to the African country, their squad has received a boost, which may help them push for a knockout place in this year.
Group Prediction: 3rd
Player to watch: Mohammed Kudus

Uruguay: The South American outfit was given a big boost from the availability of strong defensive unit Ronald Araújo in the squad. With Suarez progressing in age, Uruguay will be relying on Darwin Núñez for goals.
Group Prediction: 2nd
Player to watch: Federico Valverde

Portugal: Many have Portugal Argentina as a final lined up in their minds, however, Portugal may find it more difficult than expected to top this group. While having an elite squad on paper and as a whole, they have found it difficult in the last two major tournaments to convert that into goals. Although Cristiano Ronaldo might be an aging figure in the side, the rising of form between Bruno Fernandes, João Cancelo, and Diogo Dalot may be enough to fuel Portugal to a latter stage in this tournament.
Group Prediction: 1st
Player to watch: João Félix

- This is the first ever winter World Cup in the competition history
- This is the most expensive World Cup, with Qatar spending over $200 billion
- The stadiums are air conditioned
- For the first time, this World Cup will have female referees


By Satvik Shubham