Befouled by Qatari sportswashing, the 2022 World Cup Draw boasts some tantalising matchups.
The 2022 World Cup draw, highly anticipated among football fans, took place on 2 April. Nations across the globe have been competing since June 2019 for a spot in the prestigious tournament with a few places still unfilled. The stuttering Jermaine Jenas conducted the draw as the makeup of the groups for the tournament’s first stage was decided.
The tournament’s early fixtures will see hosts Qatar face current AFCON champions Senegal, Spain play Germany and Messi’s Argentina against Lewandowski’s Poland. Group G stands out as perhaps the most competitive group with Brazil, Switzerland, Serbia, and Cameroon all in with a good chance of progression. Italy represents a notable absence after failing to defeat North Macedonia in what was an essential game in order to qualify for Qatar.
Brazil boast an in-form squad with a plethora of talent and as such are the current favourites to win the tournament, just ahead of current world cup holders, France. However, with this potentially being the final world cup for Messi and Ronaldo, the iconic pair will no doubt be vying to leave their mark on the competition and lead their sides to World Cup glory. Senegal are shaping up to be the dark horses of the competition with their side featuring top talents like Sadio Mane and Edouard Mendy. They will be coming off the back of their AFCON win at the beginning of 2022, aiming to cause an upset.
While the majority of the qualified teams have been decided, Scotland are eager to occupy one of the final three spots. In the event they can overcome Ukraine and Wales, difficult tasks in themselves, they will be pitted in a group with Iran, USA and England. While the draw could have been even less favourable, Scotland’s possible path in the tournament will still be extremely difficult. Scotland are ranked significantly lower than the other teams in group B in the official FIFA men’s rankings, and as such progression from the groups would be a big achievement. With England the clear favourites to top the group, a second-place finish would pit Clarke’s men against the winners of group A, with the Netherlands the favourites.
Making it to the further stages of the competition will prove to be a challenging ordeal, yet years of preparation for this occasion will see sides battling to the final whistle. As such, Clarke’s side, captained by Andrew Robertson will be keen to make it to Qatar, prove doubters wrong and avoid the expected early exit.
While the focus will rightly be on the football being played throughout the tournament, the build up to Qatar has been controversial. Hosting such a tournament is a privilege highly sought after among countries, and with good reason. It raises the global profile of the nation and its cities and culture, creates jobs due to the huge amount of planning and manpower required to execute such an event, and grants automatic entry to the group stage of the tournament. However, for almost a decade FIFA has received numerous accusations referring to corruption and bribery in awarding the 2022 world cup to Qatar. While Qatar representatives have consistently denied any wrongdoing, the suggestions of such activity do raise question marks about the integrity of the competition.
Despite the behind-the-scenes accusations, people across the world will be engaging with the 2022 world cup. Due to the climate in Qatar, football fans have had to wait longer for the next instalment of the world cup than usual. However, they can look forward to an exciting tournament sure to produce memorable footballing moments as is typical within the sport. Icons of the game will aim to bow out with silverware while younger talents will aim to leave their mark on the biggest stage possible. The world waits patiently as we anticipate a contest shrouded in contention, ready to crown one team the champions of the world.