2022 FIFA World Cup – Group A Predictions: Dazzling Dutch, Qatar to Become Worst-Performing World Cup Host Ever

Group A

With the 2022 FIFA World Cup upon us, making accurate predictions is somewhat feasible, even though some are bound to be horribly wrong. Either way, this is the first in a series of articles that aims to predict the outcome of all 2022 World Cup groups. On November 20, Ecuador and hosts Qatar kick off the World Cup in Al Khor. Those two are accompanied in the group by the Netherlands and Senegal.

2022 FIFA World Cup Group A Predictions

Qatar to Become Worst-Performing World Cup Host Ever

Despite playing on home soil, Qatar comes into the tournament as underdogs, due to being the weakest team in the group. A reason to be optimistic is their third-place finish at the 2021 Arab Cup. However, does it really mean that much in this scenario?

Ecuador finished fourth in the infamously competitive CONMEBOL qualifiers, while Senegal are defending African champions, and the Netherlands recently convincingly topped their Nations League A group.

It’s worth noting that Qatar are reigning Asian champions, but they won that title well over three years ago, whereas Senegal were victorious in the AFCON earlier this year. The hosts have undoubtedly declined since their Asian Cup triumph, highlighted by their many poor recent results. 

As hosts and World Cup debutants, it’s possible that Qatar could exceed expectations. Let’s not forget that Russia did just that in 2018. However, Qatar are weaker than that Russian side and have a more competitive group. At best, Qatar will obtain one to three points, which won’t be enough to reach the knockout stage. Unfortunately for the host nation, they appear likely to break the unflattering record set by South Africa in 2010 by becoming the worst-performing World Cup host of all time. 

Read more: 26-Player Match Day Squad Approved by FIFA for Qatar World Cup

Dazzling Dutch

Having missed out on the 2018 World Cup, the Netherlands are making a long-overdue return to football’s greatest stage. The Dutch should be able to top the group, even though they face stern competition from Ecuador and Senegal.

Regardless, Oranje are stronger on paper and have proven more recently, winning their Nations League A group while beating neighbours Belgium home and away in the process. Louis van Gaal has done a good job in his third stint at the helm of the Dutch national team.

The Status of Ecuador

Equador were involved in an appeal despite qualifying for the World Cup, with Chile and Peru appealing that Byron Castillo was actually Colombian. The Court of Arbitration for Sport ultimately rejected the appeals allowing Ecuador to take their place in the 2022 World Cup.

The Ecuadorians have appeared in three World Cups but only progressed beyond the group stages once. They have shown remarkable defensive results recently, with six clean sheets recorded in recent games. Despite finding goals hard to come by, they will be looking to all-time leading scorer Enner Valencia to help them navigate their way through Group A.


Read more: World Cup 2022: Teams That Could Cause An Upset

Senegal Marginally Favoured Over Ecuador

Distinguishing Ecuador and Senegal is trickier than one might think. Senegal are stronger on paper, even though Ecuador also has some good players. However, Ecuador’s Elo rating is actually quite significantly higher than Senegal’s.

Still, that could be attributed to Ecuador being particularly great during the early stages of the World Cup qualifiers. Towards the end, their results become more underwhelming, meaning their high rating is arguably a bit inflated.

The tiebreaker that brings Senegal over the edge is that they have more recent experience at the World Cup, participating in 2018 and being denied a place in the last 16 by the smallest possible margin. Additionally, they slightly outperformed Ecuador in the friendlies leading up to the World Cup.