World Cup 2022 Group A Team Previews
This will be the World Cup debut for the host nation Qatar. The country placed their bid to host the prestigious tournament in 2009 and won, becoming the first Arab country to host the World Cup. Felix Sanchez, the head coach of the Qatar team, was appointed in 2006 as the head of the Aspire Academy, and since then he has coached the U19 and U23 squads before taking over the national team in 2017. His greatest success with the team came in 2019 when Qatar won the Asian Cup. Though they did not have an extremely difficult route to the finals, they met Japan in the final game. Japan were the heavy favourites to win, but Qatar managed to put 3 goals past the Japanese goalkeeper to end the game 3-1. In 2021, Qatar hosted the FIA Arab cup and reached the semi-finals where they were knocked out by Algeria. They then beat Egypt in the third place playoffs to secure a third place finish.
Ecuador's greatest World Cup success came in 2006 when they reached the round of last 16. In that competition, they were also in Group A, which consisted of the host country Germany, and Poland and Costa Rica. Ecuador beat Poland and Costa Rica, before losing their final game against Germany, but they had won enough points to put them through to the Group Stage. There they played against England and lost 1-0.
Before 2000, Ecuador had never played in a World Cup, but in the following decade they managed to qualify for 4, including this year's competition. They are coached by Gustavo Alfaro, who is in the second year of his tenure at the team. The team consists of mostly young players, with only a handful of players over the age of 27. With such a young team and a variety in talent both defensively and in attacking force, Ecuador will certainly be an interesting team to watch.
Senegal, the current champions of the African Cup of Nations, will enter the competition with extremely high aspirations. They have only played in the competition twice before 2022, having first entered in 2002 and their second entry was in 2018. In 2002, they were grouped with defending champions France, as well as Denmark and Uruguay. Senegal caused a huge upset when they defeated France in their opening game, and then they managed to draw both the second game and third game of the group stage. They advanced to the round of the last 16 where they faced Sweden and scored a goal in extra time to secure a place in the quarterfinals. Turkey ended their debut World Cup fairy-tale.
The Netherlands have had the most success in the World Cup out of all the teams in Group A. In both of the World Cups held during the 70s, they reached the finals but lost to West Germany and Argentina. JDuring the 80s, the Dutch team failed to qualify for the World Cup, and they only returned to the prestigious competition in 1990. In the competition of 1998, they reached the semi-finals but were knocked out by Brazil after the game went to penalties. The Dutch team reached the finals in 2010, with a side that was managed by Louis Van Gaal and consisted of some extremely talented players.