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World Cup Brazil Argentina Uruguay Ecuador learn the enemy

Twenty years have passed since South America last participated in the World Cup. Since then, it is notable that every Brazilian campaign ended as soon as they met their European opponents in the knockout stages. And although Argentina overtook Switzerland, Belgium and the Netherlands in 2014, all of their recent World Cups have ended the same way: eliminated by the Europeans.

The combination of the pandemic and the birth of the Nations League means there has been very little football between Europe and South America since Russia 2018. Brazil beat the Czech Republic, while Argentina drew with Germany, both in 2019. It’s hard. to measure the respective balance of forces in the construction of Qatar — something that makes this World Cup particularly compelling.

Brazil and Argentina are definitely in flux at the moment. Often one of them gets stuck in the South American qualifiers and has to dig his own grave. Not this time. Confidence was running high, and morale could have been boosted by the draw.

Uruguay and Ecuador will become the South American quartet in Qatar, and if Peru win the play-offs against Australia or the United Arab Emirates, they will be the continent’s fifth team.

– CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifiers: Results | Final standings
– World Cup 2022 qualifiers: How it works around the world
– Daily ESPN FC live stream on ESPN+ (US only)


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Group G opponents: Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon

What is going to happen: This is a group that can be tougher than many Brazilians see. Brazil have met all three in the last three – two Europeans are in their group in Russia, while they faced Cameroon four years earlier. Cameroon is sure to provoke stiffer opposition than it did in 2014. Brazil is the obvious candidate, though. Four years ago, they beat Serbia but were held to a draw by Switzerland, a team they won’t make the mistake of underestimating this time.

Where should they complete: Brazil did not concede a goal. With more elite goalkeepers and centre-backs than they could possibly use, Brazil didn’t even look like they were conceding a goal. And in the past few months, a number of attacking options have blossomed: wingers Vinicius Junior, Raphinha and Antony, central striker Matheus Cunha, playmaker Lucas Paqueta. Suddenly, it wasn’t all about Neymar anymore, leaving the Paris Saint-Germain star to relieve some of the pressure in a tournament important to his legacy. Last round, Brazil got to the top too soon – they got in better than the tournament. They look more experienced now, a better side than perhaps the worthy side to send Belgium into extra time in that epic 2018 quarter-final. Brazil’s visibility is set very high, and it will take a very good side on a very good day to stop them.

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Group C opponents: Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Poland

What is going to happen: Argentina have had some tough draws in the past, but they may have few complaints about this one. Lionel Scaloni’s side, unbeaten for almost three years, will be considered contenders for all three of their group stage matches. In theory, they look to be off to a good start against Saudi Arabia. Mexico, now under former Argentina coach Gerardo Martino, is a more frequent opponent – having been beaten at the 2006 and 2010 World Cups, and three times in friendlies since the last one. . And while Robert Lewandowski may raise some interesting questions about their defence, Argentina seems to have more than enough for Poland.

Where should they complete: Something bad will happen when Argentina fail to make it out of this group. Spring in their stride is justifiable. The squad seems to be the best team, an excellent collective, in Lionel Messi’s long career. The passing speed in midfield means Messi now gets possession closer to goal, instead of having to turn around and start moving. And the defense has been significantly tightened, especially since the arrival of goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez and centre-back Cristian Romero. It will be interesting to see how they defend against the best opponents, but anything less than the quarter-finals will be a disappointment, and they must be seen as one of the go-to contenders. next.

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Group H opponents: Korea, Portugal, Ghana

What is going to happen: This is the meeting of the recent enemies. Uruguay beat Portugal, then the reigning European champions, four years ago, and in 2010 they beat South Korea and Ghana to the semi-finals. However, this has no basis for complacency. Group H is possibly the most well-balanced of all eight groups, with all four sides cultivating a realistic chance of a spot in the round of 16.

Where should they complete: Uruguay’s fate is unpredictable for two reasons. First, the team is very balanced. Everything will likely be decided on thin margins. And second, Uruguay still has some work to do to categorize their team. What to do with veterans? Captain and defender Diego Godin now needs protection. Could they be better without him? It seems that Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani can no longer play together up front – at least not in every game – so how to arrange a side? Where will the attack speed come from? If they can get the answer right, another quarterfinal is a possibility. Otherwise, they may go home early.

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Group A opponents: Qatar, Senegal, Netherlands

What is going to happen: No one in Ecuador imagined that the team would go to Qatar when the qualifying process began, and here they will play against the host, who beat them 4-3 in a friendly match in 2018. This match There will be emotional content. . No one really knows how Qatar will react on a stage like this, and the same is true for Ecuador, a fledgling team with little experience in the limelight like this. The opener looks like an important game. The three points will give them confidence and motivation to take on two tough opponents. Failure on the first day would be a disaster.

Where should they complete: In 2006, Ecuador was dropped from their group and came close to England in the second round. It’s hard to imagine them going further this year; there are problems in some positions, such as goalkeeper. But they’re fast and strong, with a very exciting generation of emerging talent. Whatever happens in Qatar will be useful experience on the road to 2026, when they should be a threat.

https://www.espn.com/soccer/fifa-world-cup/story/4630882/world-cup-brazil-argentina-uruguay-ecuador-learn-foes-what-to-expect World Cup Brazil Argentina Uruguay Ecuador learn the enemy

Luke Plunkett

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