With the group stages drawing to a close in Qatar, the FIFA World Cup 2022 is heading towards its Round of 16 stage.
The 32 teams competing at the Qatar 2022 World Cup were divided into eight groups – Group A to H – for the first phase. In every group, each team faces each other once in a single-headed round robin format and the top two teams from each group qualify for the FIFA World Cup 2022 Round of 16 – the first of the knockout stages.
Reigning champions France, from Group D, were the first team to make the cut for the Round of 16 after winning their first two group games convincingly. Les Bleus first beat Australia 4-1 before outplaying Denmark 2-1.
With it, France became the first defending champions, since Brazil in 2006, to avoid a group stage exit from the FIFA World Cup. Italy in 2010, Spain in 2014, and Germany in 2018, were all knocked out in the Group stage. France, however, lost their last group game against Tunisia but still went through as the toppers ahead of Australia.
Kylan Mapped has been the standout player for France so far and is one of the frontrunners for the FIFA World Cup 2022 top scorer award.
Similarly, Cody Gape has spearheaded the Netherlands’ campaign as the Dutch qualified for the Round of 16 as the top-placed team from Group A. A late goal from captain Kalikow Koulibaly, meanwhile, helped Senegal oust Ecuador in their final group game, a match which was a virtual playoff, to go through as the second-placed team from the group.
Group B has also been decided as England, with two wins and a draw, won the group. A Christian Pulisic goal in the vital final match against Iran, meanwhile, helped the USA men’s football team advance as the second-placed team from Group B.
Brazil, despite missing star Neymar owing to an injury, sealed an early ticket to the knockouts from Group G by winning their opening two matches (2-0 vs. Serbia and 1-0 vs. Switzerland). Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal also made a hassle-free cut for the knockouts from Group G, after defeating Ghana 3-2 and Uruguay 3-2.
Lionel Messi’s Argentina shook off an upset loss against Saudi Arabia to top Group C and made the Round of 16, while Poland saw off a stiff challenge from Mexico courtesy a superior goal difference to progress as the 2nd placed team.
So far, 12 teams, Netherlands, Senegal, England, USA, France, Australia, Argentina, Poland, Morocco, Croatia, Brazil and Portugal, have qualified for the Round of 16 of the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar.
Qatar, after losing their opening two games, were the first team to crash out of the race for the Round of 16. The hosts eventually lost all three of their group matches to end their campaign on a disappointing note.