Qatar 2022 – Qualifications
- End of a busy week in qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar ™
- What to remember from these first days?
- FIFA.com analyzes surprises and trends
1 – Surprises
If the favorites still sign some resounding successes, like Japan’s 14-0 against Mongolia, there are plenty of surprises. The Netherlands fell 4-2 in Turkey as soon as they entered the competition. Spain, who seemed to have recovered from their broad 6-0 victory over Germany in the UEFA Nations League, had to settle for a 1-1 draw against Greece, before get a short victory 2-1 in Georgia thanks to a goal scored in the last moments.
Difficult 1-0 winners over Azerbaijan, Portugal also had a difficult start. For its part, Turkey almost spoiled its excellent start by conceding a draw (3-3) to Latvia, after leading 3-1. Vice-world champions Croatia started their campaign with a 1-0 loss to Slovenia. For its part, France recorded modest success (2-0) in Kazakhstan, after being held in check (1-1) by Ukraine.
Finally, Germany sank again into crisis, conceding a 1-2 defeat to North Macedonia. Joachim Löw’s men had already shown a lack of efficiency in their narrow 1-0 victory in Romania but this new failure proves that the problems, especially defensive, glimpsed during the correction inflicted by Spain do not have not been resolved.
Germany’s 18-game winning streak and 35 unbeaten streak in the global qualifiers came to an end against North Macedonia.
2 – The balance of forces
In the CONCACAF Zone, Montserrat, a modest British colony of barely 6,000 inhabitants, stood up to El Salvador (1-1), yet widely favored, and remains undefeated. At the same time, Puerto Rico snatched a draw from former World Cup participant Trinidad and Tobago with an identical score. This increase in competitiveness in the region owes a lot to the creation of the CONCACAF Nations League, which offers teams more opportunities to progress.
“I am proud of my players. We have said many times that we should not be afraid. If we can only remember one thing from this game, it is that this team is young and has potential. “said Dave Sarachan, Puerto Rico coach. “We are not happy with the result, but we are happy to have prepared well for this game and to have been competitive. We are still in the race.”
3 – The Danish Dynamite has ammunition
Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand used his squad to the max in the first three qualifying matches. After the victory (2-0) against Israel, he did not hesitate to change the ten outfield players to face Moldova. Only goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel retained his place. The result proved him right, since his team won with a clear score (8-0). More generally, Denmark seems to have adopted a more offensive face than under its predecessor, Age Hareide. With such success, Hjulmand could have been tempted to renew the same team for the game against Austria. But he still changed his ten outfielders … who won 4-0 in Vienna.
The balance sheet
- Matches : 3
- Victories: 3
- Buts : 14
- Goals conceded: 0
- Players used: 21
- Scorers: 11
4 – Spain has not yet touched the goal
A year ago, Spain presented Ansu Fati to the world. Today, it’s Pedri’s turn to make people talk about him. The 18-year-old FC Barcelona midfielder has appeared in all three World Cup qualifiers. Established twice, he has already won in the mind of coach Luis Enrique.
However, Spain is once again faced with a problem that it is familiar with. While possession of the ball and movement of the ball are among the strengths of Spanish football, the Roja lack of realism in front of the opposing goal. For now, no attacker seems able to translate on the scoreboard the overwhelming superiority displayed by Spain in the game.
5 – Hiddink takes on a new challenge
After leading the Republic of Korea to the semifinals of the 2002 World Cup and winning the European Cup of Champions Clubs, Guus Hiddink took charge of the destinies of Curaçao, a small Caribbean island (150,000 inhabitants). At the helm of his new team, the Dutch technician has already achieved a 5-0 success against Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, followed by a 2-1 victory over Cuba. “When people ask me, ‘So are we going to the World Cup?’ I tell them: ‘Yes, we are going’. What else do you want me to tell them? We will do our best, anyway. For a team like Curaçao, it would be fantastic to play in a World Cup. ” , explains Hiddink.