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2022 World Cup: Group-By-Group, Team-By-Team Preview

2022 World Cup: Group-By-Group, Team-By-Team Preview

Take a deeper look at each team and group at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, with full squad lists and the top players and games to watch.

The run-up to the 2022 World Cup may not have the same kind of pomp as usual. It’s a World Cup that has been shrouded in controversy, scandal, scrutiny and tragedy, and it’s taking place smack in the middle of the European club seasons, with players featuring for their clubs as little as six days prior to the start of the tournament. Nevertheless, it is a World Cup, and the biggest prize in international men’s soccer is on the line in Qatar.

It’s the last 32-team edition of the competition, with expansion to 48 due for the 2026 World Cup that will be held in the United States, Mexico and Canada. And while size of the field and the format may be familiar and commonplace, given all of the unusual elements in play, the next few weeks could be filled with some unexpected twists, unlikely runs and surprise early departures.

Take a closer look at each group and team with our profiles picking out the top players and games to watch and assessing the outlooks and expectations for every side featuring in Qatar (teams listed in alphabetical order by group, not predicted order of finish; squad lists are subject to change due to injury replacements that are able to be called in within 24 hours of a team’s first game):

The Netherlands returns to the World Cup after missing out in 2018.

Revierfoto/Imago Images



Its place in the World Cup challenged multiple times over an alleged player eligibility issue, La Tri’s standout World Cup qualifying run has been overshadowed but shouldn’t be overlooked. (Read more)


The Dutch missed out in 2018 but are back with hopes of making another deep run following a runner-up finish in 2010 and third-place honors in 2014. (Read more)


There’s no surprise as to who will be shouldering the load for a team that’s been cultivated over many years to rise to the occasion as World Cup host. (Read more)


Sadio Mané led his nation to a first Africa Cup of Nations title in February. Now, it’ll try to make noise in just its third World Cup—but it’ll need its star to be healthy. (Read more)

The USMNT is back on the World Cup stage with a team centered around a young core.

Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire/Imago Images



The Three Lions have made deep runs at their last two major tournaments, but have ultimately come up short. Is there another gear to hit? Or will a semblance of staleness hold England back? (Read more)


Multiple entities have challenged Iran’s place in the tournament, and amid a tense time at home, there’s much more than just soccer on the mind for Team Melli. (Read more)

United States

The USMNT is back after missing out on 2018, bringing a young and exciting core of players who have accomplished plenty already at some of Europe’s top clubs. (Read more)


It’s been 64 years since the Dragons last played on the World Cup stage, and Gareth Bale & Co. aren’t content with just being there. They’re out to make some noise, with motivation in full supply. (Read more)

After winning Copa América in 2021, Messi’s Argentina sets its sights on the biggest prize of them all.

Manuel Cortina/ZUMA Wire/Imago Images



It’s Lionel Messi’s last World Cup, if he’s to be believed, and Argentina just might have the squad to get the all-time great the one trophy missing from his sterling résumé. (Read more)


In the last seven straight World Cups, El Tri have gone out in the round of 16. With form and injury issues, there’s concern over whether they’ll even get that far this time. (Read more)


The 2018 World Cup didn’t go quite as Robert Lewandowski and Poland hoped, and the pressure is on to make good on that four years later in a manageable group. (Read more)

Saudi Arabia

The second-lowest ranked team in the field, Saudi Arabia will need to find the goals to be able to hang with the likes of Messi and Lewandowski. (Read more)

With Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappé leading the attack, France is a threat to repeat as World Cup champion.

Jose Breton/NurPhoto/Imago Images



In the nation’s fifth straight World Cup appearance, the new-look Socceroos will feature 17 first-timers whose task is navigating a group with the same two European powers Australia was grouped with in 2018. (Read more)


Christian Eriksen is back for a team that went on an inspired run to the Euro 2020 semifinals and is more than capable of another deep run on the World Cup stage. (Read more)


No champion has repeated in 60 years, and four of the last five have gone out in the subsequent group stage. But France is stacked, and its toughest opponent may wind up being itself. (Read more)


Five previous World Cup appearances have resulted in group-stage exits, and with the reigning champion and a stout Denmark side in this quartet, a sixth such outcome is likely. (Read more)

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Germany was run out in the group stage in 2018 but returns as a threat to embark on another deep run.

Andy Rowland/PRiME Media Images


Costa Rica

The last time Costa Rica was grouped with two European titans, it shocked the world. Can Los Ticos conjure the magic of 2014 with an experienced core giving it one more run? (Read more)


The 2018 World Cup was a national disaster for the Germans, who are back with a blend of stars old and new and appear primed to embark on a run that meets expectations. (Read more)


A tested and talented team could play spoiler four years removed from missing out on a golden chance to reach the World Cup quarterfinals. (Read more)


La Furia Roja haven’t enjoyed much World Cup success since winning it all in 2010, but promising young stars could be the key to a deep run. (Read more)

Led by Golden Ball winner Luka Modrić, Croatia made it to the 2018 World Cup final, and it’s back for another run four years later.

Sanjin Strukic/PIXSELL/Imago Images



Belgium finished third in 2018 and pushed France to the brink in the semifinals, but its golden generation wants gold medals to validate its era. (Read more)


When Canada’s men were last in the World Cup 36 years ago, it went horribly wrong, but this new generation has the bright young stars to make some noise. (Read more)


The surprise 2018 runner-up is back for another go, led by a midfield that’s as good as any in the world and a golden generation that’s giving it one final run. (Read more)


Major developments close to the start of the World Cup have changed the game for the Atlas Lions, whose group won’t do them any favors. (Read more)

Neymar and Brazil have a squad more than capable of capturing the nation’s sixth World Cup title.

Nogueirafoto/Imago Images



Their World Cup title drought at 20 years, the Seleção are not holding back on the firepower and have on clear aim in Qatar. (Read more)


It’s been 20 years since Cameroon last won a World Cup match. Will a squad flush with attacking talent be able to bring an end to that stretch of futility? (Read more)


Few teams have as accomplished attacking players as Serbia—and they’ll need to be firing at full capacity based on their group in Qatar. (Read more)


The Swiss knocked France out of the Euros and topped a World Cup qualifying group with Italy. The dark-horse side is in a tough group, but has all the potential to meet soaring expectations. (Read more)

Ronaldo will attempt to become the first men’s player to score in five World Cups all while trying to help Portugal realize its potential.

Pedro Fiuza/Xinhua/Imago Images



The lowest-ranked team in the World Cup field has recruited wisely and could sneak up on its more highly touted opponents. (Read more)

South Korea

The Asian side has its sights set on a getting out of a difficult group, but the status of star Son Heung-min’s eye might ultimately determine its fortunes. (Read more)


Cristiano Ronaldo headlines a squad stacked with talent, but that’s rarely been the issue for Portugal. Putting it all together on the World Cup stage remains the challenge. (Read more)


La Celeste rallied in World Cup qualifying to cement their place in Qatar, giving the likes of Luis Suárez, Edinson Cavani and Diego Godín one more shot on the grand stage. (Read more)

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