Group A Draw and Schedule
Photo: Sporting News

Qatar’s Host nation will be left ruing its luck given the names that emerged from the three other pots in this FIFA World Cup as Group A is set.

Being the Host nation, Qatar was included with the top-seeded teams in Pot 1, though the nation is ranked 51. Also, there is a tradition to add the hosts to Group A.

Behind the hosts are the Netherlands, which is fielding a strong team. They missed the last World Cup but are back this time. Senegal is also in the group that makes the draw a difficult one as they are the champions of AFCON 2022. And finally, Pot 4 Ecuador was selected to round out the group.

Qatar drew the 2nd toughest Pot 2 team, the toughest Pot 3 team, and the second-toughest Pot 4 team as per FIFA ranking. It’s going to be very tough for them.

WORLD CUP DRAW BREAKDOWNS:

Group A | Group B | Group C | Group D

Group E | Group F | Group G | Group H

In the round of 16, two teams that advance from Group A would match up with the two teams that advance from Group B.

Group A table & fixtures

Team PTS GP W L D GF GA GD
A1: Qatar 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
A2: Ecuador 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
A3: Senegal 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
A4: Netherlands 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
 

Group A match schedule

Date Match Time (ET) Stadium
Mon, Nov. 21 Senegal vs. Netherlands 5 a.m. Al Thumama Stadium
Mon, Nov. 21 Qatar vs. Ecuador 11 a.m. Al Bayt Stadium
Fri, Nov. 25 Qatar vs. Senegal 8 a.m. Al Thumama Stadium
Fri, Nov. 25 Netherlands vs. Ecuador 11 a.m. Khalifa Int’l Stadium
Tues, Nov. 29 Netherlands vs. Qatar 10 a.m. Al Bayt Stadium
Tues, Nov. 29 Ecuador vs. Senegal 10 a.m. Khalifa Int’l Stadium

The four teams of the group will play in a round-robin format, with each team facing the other three. Those three group-stage matches will determine the group standings by adding up the points collected. Three points will be given for a win, one for a draw, none for a loss.

The top two teams from each group make their way to the single-game knockouts based on total points. If the teams are tied on points, the first tiebreaker is goal difference, followed by goals scored. Another set of tiebreakers is applied if the teams are also tied in those categories.

World Cup Group A draw

Qatar

Qatar being the 2022 World Cup host, is determined to put on a show for football fans around the globe, and the field is also included.

Since it won the right to host the tournament back in Dec. 2010, over the last decade, the small Gulf nation with a population under three million has invested significantly in its national team program. As a result, they managed to climb up from their 112th ranking to 51 FIFA World ranking. They heavily invested in player development, coaching, and infrastructure. They also got their first Asian Cup in 2019 as a result.

Felix Sanchez leading the way since 2017, who was the ex-Barcelona youth coach, Qatar has developed an attack-minded, entertaining playing style. This style is sure to win over fans despite their advancement in World Cup appearance.

  • Current FIFA world ranking: No. 51 (March 2022)
  • Regional ranking: 5th (Asia)
  • World Cup titles: —
  • World Cup appearances (last): —
  • How qualified: Tournament host
  • Overall record (all competitions & friendlies):
  • 2022: 1W-0L-1D (Goals: 2 scored / 1 conceded)
  • 2021: 12W-7L-5D (Goals: 35 scored / 32 conceded)
  • Manager: Felix Sanchez (Spain) since July 2017

Star players: Akram Afif (Al-Sadd SC / Qatar), Almoez Ali (Al-Duhail SC / Qatar), Hassan Al-Haydos (Al-Sadd SC / Qatar)

Netherlands

Though they did not make it to Russia last time, they finished in third place in 2014. It seems that their fortunes have improved since the last world cup. Now they are led by a new generation of talent that includes the likes of Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong and Juventus’ Matthijs de Light.

To guide the Dutch to the latter stages of the World Cup in a first appearance at the finals in eight years, Louis van Gaal is appointed, and this is his third spell in the Netherlands hot seat.

Led from the back by the best defender in the world, the Liverpool powerhouse Virgil van Dijk will be looking for ways to cement his title. The Dutch won a qualification group that included Turkey and Norway.

  • Current FIFA world ranking: No. 10 (March. 2022)
  • Regional ranking: 7th (UEFA)
  • World Cup titles: —
  • World Cup appearances (last): 10 (Brazil 2014)
  • How qualified: UEFA Group G winners: 7W-1L-2D
  • Overall record (all competitions & friendlies):
  • 2022: 1W-0L-1D (Goals: 5 scored / 3 conceded)
  • 2021: 11W-2L-3D (Goals: 46 scored / 14 conceded)
  • Coach: Louis van Gaal (Netherlands) since August 2021
  • Star players: Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus / Italy), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool / England), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona / Spain)

Senegal

Also crowned as the kings of Africa, Senegal did things the hard way to book their place at Qatar 2022 via a penalty shootout. They have demonstrated an excellent vein of form recently, which has crowned the country with the title.

To ensure a spot in Qatar, Aliou Cisse’s side repeated a match with Egypt in the final round of African qualifying. Though they have beaten Egypt once to claim a first AFCON title in February. The second match was controversial, as fans in the stadium aimed laser pointers at Egypt’s players during the penalty shootout to put them off.

Two Liverpool talismans, Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, were against each other during that match, and there is no doubt that the Senegalese rest their belief as their primary attacking threat on Sadio Mane. Chelsea goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is one of some other world-class players to call on to play for them.

Interestingly Senegal has the highest World Cup win percentage of any African nation in the field.

  • Current FIFA world ranking: No. 20 (March 2022)
  • Regional ranking: 1st (CAF)
  • World Cup titles: —
  • World Cup appearances (last): 2 (Russia 2018)
  • How qualified: (CAF Third Round winners: (agg 1-1 vs. Egypt, Senegal wins on penalties)
  • Overall record (all competitions & friendlies):
  • 2022: 5W-1L-3D (Goals: 10 scored / 3 conceded)
  • 2021: 10W-1L-5D (Goals: 29 scored / 12 conceded)
  • Coach: Aliou Cisse (Senegal) since March, 2015
  • Star players: Kalidou Koulibaly (Napoli / Italy), Edouard Mendy (Chelsea / England), Sadio Mane (Liverpool / England)

Ecuador

Ecuador went out in the quarterfinals in the last major tournament, the Copa America. They were beaten 3-0 by eventual winners Argentina. If Gustavo Alfaro’s team are to avoid an early exit from the World Cup, they will have to be much more resilient.

The country’s all-time leading scorer with 35 goals, experienced forward Enner Valencia, will play an important part as Ecuador returns to the world’s biggest stage after missing out on the 2018 tournament.

Pervis Estupinan is another talented player in the squad, who is the defender of Villarreal, but the squad overall isn’t the strongest and may struggle to match some of their more powerful group rivals.

  • Current FIFA world ranking: No. 46 (March 2022)
  • Regional ranking: 7th (CONMEBOL)
  • World Cup titles: —
  • World Cup appearances (last): 3 (Brazil 2014)
  • How qualified: (CONMEBOL fourth place: 7W-6L-5D
  • Overall record (all competitions & friendlies):
  • 2022: 0W-1L-3D (Goals: 4 scored / 6 conceded)
  • 2021: 6W-6L-6D (Goals: 21 scored / 20 conceded)
  • Coach: Gustavo Alfaro (Argentina) since August, 2020
  • Star players: Enner Valencia (Fenerbahce / Turkey), Pervis Estupinan (Villarreal / Spain), Carlos Gruezo (Augsburg / Germany)

Teams to advance from World Cup Group A

sportsbooks are expected to hang group odds for each team to advance from the group stage shortly after the World Cup Draw.

Group A’s first-place and second-place finishers will move on to the Round of 16 and will face off against the two teams to advance from Group B on Saturday, Dec. 3, and Sunday, Dec. 4.

The official FIFA 2022 World Cup match schedule gives us the following knockout pairings for the Round of 16 through to the final:

Round of 16

Date Match Time (ET) Stadium
Sat, Dec. 3 1A vs. 2B 10 a.m. Khalifa Int’l’
Sat, Dec. 3 1C vs. 2D 2 p.m. Ahmad Bin Ali
Sun, Dec. 4 1D vs. 2C 10 a.m. Al Thumama
Sun, Dec. 4 1B vs. 2A 2 p.m. Al Bayt
Mon, Dec. 5 1E vs. 2F 10 a.m. Al Janoub
Mon, Dec. 5 1G vs. 2H 2 p.m. Stadium 974
Tues, Dec. 6 1F vs. 2E 10 a.m. Education City
Tues, Dec. 6 1H vs. 2G 2 p.m. Lusail

Quarterfinals

Date Match Time (ET) Stadium
Fri, Dec. 9 QF1: 1E/2F vs. 1G/2H 10 a.m. Education City
Fri, Dec. 9 QF2: 1A/2B vs. 1C/2D 2 p.m. Lusail
Sat, Dec. 10 QF3: 1F/2E vs. 1H/2G 10 a.m. Al Thumama
Sat, Dec. 10 QF4: 1B/2A vs. 1D/2C 2 p.m. Al Bayt

Semifinals

Date Match Time (ET) Stadium
Tues, Dec. 13 QF2 vs. QF1 2 p.m. Lusail
Wed, Dec. 14 QF4 vs. QF3 2 p.m. Al Bayt

3rd Place

Date Match Time (ET) Stadium
Sat, Dec. 17 Semifinal losers 10 a.m. Khalifa Int’l

 World Cup Final

Date Match Time (ET) Stadium
Sun, Dec. 18 Semifinal winners 10 a.m. Lusail

 

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Golam Muktadir, chief editor at Surprise Sports (Leading Sports News Website). He is sharing his World Cup Football thoughts, trending news, and real-time Qatar World Cup updates.

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