This year’s fantastic month of international soccer awaits fans as top national teams head to Qatar for the 2022 World Cup. The tournament, an unprecedented winter World Cup, kicks off on November 21st, running through to December 18th, when we’ll learn who the world beaters are. Thirty-two teams are qualified and cast into eight groups of four each. The best two teams from each group of four will advance to the last 16, at which point the competition will genuinely have hit a fever pitch. Our group of interest is A, composed of hosts Qatar, the Netherlands, Senegal, and Ecuador. Here’s what you can reasonably expect from that group.
Top Pick: Netherlands Group A Winners
Betting odds for the 2022 World Cup group stage are already out. It’s not surprising that most bookies expect the Netherlands to come up trumps in World Cup Group A, given that they are historically much more substantial than any of Senegal, Qatar, or Ecuador. Oranje’s performances in recent tournaments well support this premise. The Dutch lost narrowly to finish runners-up in South Africa in 2010 and then finished third at the 2014 World Cup. 2018 was a horror show for them as they failed to secure a qualification berth, but they’ve shown that they mean business this time with solid qualifying performances. Significant bookmakers have them at 8/13 (-160) to impose their superiority in World Cup Group A. To achieve this, along with the chance of winning the Cup outright at 12/1, the Dutch will count on the midfield experience of Frenkie de Jong and Georginio Wijnaldum and the defensive excellence of best-in-the-world Virgil van Dijk. Star striker Memphis Depay will be needed to supply the goals. From the Netherlands’ perspective, Depay has shown himself quite capable. He’s tied with England’s Harry Kane as the top scorer in the UEFA World Cup, Qualifying with 12 goals.
Other 2022 World Cup Group A Picks
Value Combo For Senegal vs Netherlands, November 21st
The 2022 World Cup opening game offers a compelling opportunity for the eagle-eyed punter to nail down some betting value early on in the tournament. The Netherlands, ranked #10 in the world, will be heavy favorites against Senegal (#20), despite the latter’s recent, impressive Africa Cup of Nations triumph. Another consideration is Total Goals. While Senegal can come out and be defensively resolute against the Dutch’s fearsome attacking power, it’s not unreasonable to expect at least two goals from the game.
The Netherlands to win + Over 1.5 goals is a compelling combo that offers excellent value with an eye-catching Evens price.
Underdogs Qatar To Advance?
Football is full of surprises in modern times, one of the most startling of which was plucky Croatia reaching the finals in the 2018 World Cup. Ranked #51 in the world by FIFA and lacking any notable star names to lead them, Qatar is not a strong contender for winning World Cup Group A, let alone winning the trophy. However, we’ve seen tournament hosts deliver inspired and unexpected performances just for the pride of playing on home soil. A good case in point is Russia’s quality showings at Russia 2018, with the hosts going all the way to the quarter-finals. Qatar showed commendable team spirit to clinch the 2019 AFC Asian Cup, beating Japan in the finals.
The fact that they are priced at 3/1 (4.00) to make it out of World Cup Group A proves that Qatar may not necessarily be the whipping boys many regard them as.