Group A: Let the Qatar World Cup Begin

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By Gerald Lutchman

SO, it begins. The first match, the first kick of the world cup ball. Four years of waiting have ended. The World has changed so much. The last host is now banned, the tournament is in November and new stadiums and events are born- by the way – no drinking at the games.

After the glamour of an opening ceremony, the host nation will face Ecuador for the first points, the first goal and the first time five substitutes will be used. The number of substitutes makes it feel more like an American sport than World Cup football.

Group A, Netherlands, Senegal, Ecuador and Qatar, square off in a weak group by tournament standards. Holland and Senegal are almost guaranteed to move to the next round. Senegal does not even have to press Holland, they can just beat Qatar and Ecuador.

Date Match Time (ET) Stadium
Sun, Nov. 20 Qatar vs Ecuador 12 noon Al Bayt Stadium
Mon, Nov. 21 Senegal vs Netherlands 12 noon Al Thumama Stadium
Fri, Nov. 25 Qatar vs Senegal 9 am Al Thumama Stadium
Fri, Nov. 25 Netherlands vs Ecuador 12 noon. Khalifa Int’l Stadium
Tues, Nov. 29 Netherlands vs Qatar 11 am. Al Bayt Stadium
Tues, Nov. 29 Ecuador vs Senegal 11 am Khalifa Int’l Stadium


They are here as hosts. A nation of just three million with a wealth of 300 million is the team with the least chance of going to the next round. It will be interesting to see how they play and how the country reacts after so many accusations of human rights abuse.

Current FIFA world ranking: No. 50 (November, 2022)

  • World Cup appearances (last): —
  • How qualified: Tournament host
  • Coach: Felix Sanchez (Spain) since July 2017
  • Key players: Akram Afif (Al-Sadd / Qatar), Almoez Ali (Al-Duhail / Qatar), Hassan Al-Haydos (Al-Sadd / Qatar)


They qualified directly from one of the most difficult regions in World football – South America. This team is by no means a side to just push aside and a good game with a heavy defeat of Qatar will put pressure on Senegal.

Current FIFA world ranking: No. 44 (November, 2022)

  • World Cup titles: —
  • World Cup appearances (last): 3 (Brazil 2014)
  • How qualified: CONMEBOL fourth place: 7W-6L-5D
  • Coach: Gustavo Alfaro (Argentina) since August 2020

They will depend upon Enner Valencia (Fenerbahce ofTurkey), Pervis Estupinan (Brighton of England), Carlos Gruezo (Augsburg of Germany).


They are the African champions and will be looking to make a mark in this tournament. Do not discount this side. They are a talented bunch and are determined to make a long run in this competition.

Current FIFA world ranking: No. 18 (November, 2022)

World Cup titles: —

World Cup appearances – 2 (Russia 2018)

How qualified: Africa 3rd Round winners (penalty shootout vs. Egypt after 1-1 aggregate)

Coach: Aliou Cisse (Senegal) since March 2015

Key players: Kalidou Koulibaly (Chelseaof England), Edouard Mendy (Chelsea of England)

The match with Holland will determine the true strength of this team.


The bridesmaid of world football is at it again. This team is just that – a team. It does not seem to have the infighting of so many teams from this country. Hopefully, they can put this to good use.

  • Current FIFA world ranking: No. 8 (November 2022)
  • World Cup titles: —
  • World Cup appearances 10
  • How qualified: UEFA Group G winners: 7W-1L-2D
  • Coach: Louis van Gaal (Netherlands) since August 2021
  • Key players: Matthijs de Ligt (Bayern Munich of Germany), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool of England), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona of Spain)

There is absolutely no reason to not top this group. It is by far as weak as you can get.

So, it begins. Let’s warm up the Bar- B- Que, fill the curry pot and order the roti, because it is here. Unlike Qatar, you can have all the beers you want- CHEERS! LET’S HOPE THIS IS THE BEST ONE YET.



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