With Costa Rica’s qualification, the field is complete for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar (November 21-December 18), but five months from the start of the competition, favorites like France and England seem at their wit’s end.
The Ticos snatched the 32nd and final ticket from New Zealand (1-0) in the final transcontinental play-off, thanks to a goal from Joel Campbell – striker of Rayados de Monterrey (Mexico) and former Arsenal. The teammates of Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Keylor Navas have qualified for their sixth World Cup, their third in a row. Today, Costa Rica’s flag and those of the two other recently qualified nations, Wales and Australia, will be raised alongside those of the 29 teams already represented around the clock marking the time remaining before kick-off. tournament kick-off, on the iconic Doha Corniche.
Another sign that the countdown is progressing, the official poster for the 2022 World Cup was unveiled yesterday in the capital. Made for the first time by a woman, the Qatari artist Bouthayna al-Muftah, it represents, in black and white, the traditional headdress of men waved in the air in celebration after a goal, a common gesture in Qatar and in the Arab World.
holding him in doubt
This cap also inspired the architecture of the al-Thumama stadium, where Costa Rica, quarter-finalists in 2014 and 8th finalists in 1990 in their first participation, will start their tournament against Spain on November 23. In this formidable group E also appear Germany and Japan.
But recent fixtures in June have tended to erode the status of some gaming giants. Traditionally among the favourites, Roja and Mannschaft are doing well and better respectively. Spain dominates its League of Nations group, ahead of Portugal, another contender, and Germany is reassured: after three draws, it crushed Italy (5-2) in the midst of a crisis, absent from the World Cup for the second consecutive edition. But other European tenors are doing very badly. France has already lost its title in the League of Nations, with two defeats and two draws, and will have to ensure its maintenance in League A in the last two matches in September.
Despite two of the best players in the world in attack, Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappé, the reigning world champion is in a crisis of confidence, because the fatigue of a trying end to the season does not explain everything. Coach Didier Deschamps has five months left to raise the bar, but his future opponents are working well. Australia, the first of them, on November 22, is euphoric after qualifying against Peru (0-0 after extra time, 5-4 on penalties), Denmark leads its League of Nations group and comes to win in Paris (2-1), and Tunisia shines in friendly matches (3-0 against Japan and 2-0 against Chile).
Doubt also assails England, semi-finalist in Russia and finalist of the Euro last summer at home. The Three Lions have just been corrected at Wembley by Hungary (4-0), in proportions that recall the historic lesson inflicted in 1953 by the legendary team of Ferenc Puskas (6-3), the first non-British team to impose itself in the “Temple” of football. The English find themselves in a very “geopolitical” group with Wales, their neighbor from the United Kingdom, then the United States and Iran.
And if some bastions of Old Europe creak, the South American favorites are doing well. Brazil has just beaten Japan (1-0) and South Korea (5-1), with three penalties from Neymar (Paris SG) in these two matches. Placed in a strong group with Switzerland, Cameroon and Serbia, the Seleção will begin their quest for a sixth star against the Serbs on 24 November. Argentina, in the group of Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland, for its part won the new version of the Intercontinental Cup of Nations – the “Finalissima” – against Italy (3-0) and walked against Estonia (5-0) with a quintuplet from another Paris SG star, Lionel Messi, who, at 35, is probably playing his last chance to finally win the World Cup. Here is a not tired cador.
The 32 qualified nations
– Africa Zone: Cameroon, Ghana, Morocco, Senegal, Tunisia.
– South America zone: Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Uruguay.
– North America, Central America and Caribbean zone: Canada, United States, Mexico, Costa Rica.
– Asia Zone: Qatar (host country), Saudi Arabia, Australia, South Korea, Iran, Japan.
– Europe zone: England, Germany, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Spain, France, Netherlands, Wales, Portugal, Poland, Serbia, Switzerland.
With Costa Rica’s qualification, the field is complete for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar (November 21-December 18), but five months from the start of the competition, favorites like France and England seem at their wit’s end. The Ticos snatched the 32nd and final ticket from New Zealand (1-0) in the final transcontinental play-off, thanks to…