FIFA World Cup 2022 — A glimpse at the chances of the Asian Continent

The 2022 World Cup would be underway in a matter of hours as the battle for football’s biggest prize ensues between the 32 teams who made the cut. The Asian continent would have a lot to prove especially since the final 4 finish of South Korea at the last World Cup hosted on Korea/Japan 2002. Let’s take an Indepth Analytical review of the flag bearers of the Asian continent.

  • QATAR (THE MAROONS)

This will be the first time the Qatari men’s national team will participate in a World Cup finals, having failed to qualify through usual means in the past. Qatar is relatively new to the sport, having played its first official match in 1970, but the country has fallen in love with the beautiful game and the national team has steadily improved with the Asian Cup success in 2019 still a fond memory of football faithfuls.

The Qatari National team has had a string of successes with the emergence of their ‘Aspire Academy’ paving way for footballing talents and have since then been quite the name in Asian football. Ranked 50th coming into the tournament, they remain a force to reckon with in the Asian footballing world and would hope to reenact the glorious 2019 path that saw them win the Asian Cup as they embark on thier first ever World Cup journey.

Placed as hosts in Group A, they face a stern Senegal challenge alongside South American boys Ecuador plus the Big European heavyweight Netherlands in what promises to be a big tournament for the host. They kick off proceedings with the first game versus Ecuador at the Al Bayt Stadium as they hope to at least make a good showing for their 3 million plus population.

HEAD COACH – Felix Sanchez

CAPTAIN – Hassan Al-Haydos (Al-Saad)

STAR PLAYER(S) – Saad Al Sheeb (Al-Saad), Boualem Khoukhi (Al-Saad), Almoez Ali (Al-Duhail SC)

PREDICTED FINISH – Group Stages

  • IRAN (The LIONS OF PERSIA)

Iran had an impressive World Cup qualification campaign that saw them finish first ahead of South Korea and the UAE to pick up an automatic ticket to football’s biggest sporting event. In as many as ten matches played in the qualifiers, they only managed a loss and one draw as they won 8 matches to book a place in Qatar.

Heading into their sixth World Cup Finals, Iran would be wary of the fact that they have never made it past the group stages of their group as they are poised to make a difference at the 2022 finals. This would be their third straight appearances in the World Cup Finals and their brilliance would be recognized as they were the first team from Asia (aside Qatar, Hosts) to qualify for the World Cup.

Iran were placed in a very tough group that Euro 2020 Finalists and World Cup 2018 Semi Finalists – England whom they play their first match against, North American power horses – United States of America and European side – Wales. Iran seem to have been handed a fair chance of reaching the knockout stage. England will be firm favourites to progress from Group B, but it could only take a single shock win to send someone through as runners-up in Group B. Although Iran go in as underdogs, they picked up four points from a difficult group in Russia four years ago — a similar showing in an easier group this time around would give them every chance of progressing.

HEAD COACH – CARLOS QUEIROZ

CAPTAIN – Ehsan Hajsafi

STAR PLAYER(S) – Mehdi Taremi (FC Porto), Alireza Jahanbakhsh (Feyenoord), Saman Ghoddos (Brentford), Sardar Azmoun (Bayer 04 Leverkusen)

PREDICTED FINISH – Group Stages

  • SAUDI ARABIA (THE FALCONS)

Saudi Arabia qualified via an automatic slot after finishing second behind Japan in the Group B of the two groups that heald 6 teams each while they played each other in home and away ties with the top two of both groups qualifying automatically and the third positions left to seal their fate via playoffs.

This would be Saudi Arabia’s sixth appearance in a major World Cup Finals and would be looking to have a showing as they did in their first ever finals where they scaled past the group stages but were eliminated by Sweden in the Round of 16.

Pited in a group that involves tournament favorite and Copa America defending champion – Argentina, along with Robert Lewandowski and his army of Polish faithfuls in the Poland National team and North American giants – Mexico, it’s clear that they are the underdogs and would have find a hard time scaling past this group.

HEAD COACH – Hevre Renard

CAPTAIN – Salman Al-Faraj (Al-Hilal)

STAR PLAYER(S) – Saleh Al-Shehri (Al-Hilal), Salem Al-Dawsari (Al-Hilal), Nawaf Al-Abed (Al-Shaman)

PREDICTED FINISH – Group Stages

  • JAPAN (THE BLUE SAMURAI)

Japan qualified for yet 2022 World Cup as they finished in first position in Asia’s World Cup qualifying group. With the team in fine form heading into Qatar, it remains to see how far they can go and perhaps be the first Asian country since South Korea in 2002 to make it through to the semi finals.

Japan play their first 7th World Cup finals with the team having never made it past the round of 16 round which they three times – 2002, 2010 and 2018 where they lost 3-2 to Belgium in a match they were 2 goals up already. The Blue Samurai would head to Qatar with the prospect of making an impact as the squad quality is quite enough to make an impact.

Japan have an herculean task to embark on as they have been put in a very tough group that includes two previous World winners in Spain and Germany alongside one of North America’s most daring team – Costa Rica with the Blue Samurai keen on sparking up more than just a few surprises.

HEAD COACH – Hajime Moriyasu

CAPTAIN – Maya Yoshida ( Schalke 04 FC)

STAR PLAYER(S) – Takehiro Tomiyasu) Arsenal FC), Takefusa Kubo (Real Sociedad), Daichi Kamada (Eintracht Frankfurt), Takuma Asano (VFL Bochum)

PREDICTED FINISH – Round of 16

  • AUSTRALIA (SOCCEROOS)

Australia had to book their place in Qatar via the playoffs after defeating Peru to seal their World Cup ticket as they make it back to back cameos on football’s biggest event.

This would be the sixth appearance in the World Cup for ‘Socceroos’ who would look to repeat their best showing in 2006 where they made the round of 16 stages. The quality of the team may be questioned but on their day they could prove to be a thorn on any team’s flesh.

Australia were put in the same group as France for the second World Cup in a row and would have to contend with arguably Europe’s most exciting team – Denmark who sealed qualification in emphatic fashion with an 100% record, Australia would also have to deal with African flag bearers Tunisia in what would surely be a tough group for every team in it.

HEAD COACH – Graham James Arnold

CAPTAIN – Mathew David Ryan (Copenhagen)

STAR PLAYER(S) – Aaron Frank Mooy ( Celtic), Ajdin Hrustic (Hellas Verona), Mathew Leckie (Melbourne City FC)

PREDICTED FINISH – Group Stages

  • SOUTH KOREA (THE REDS)

South Korea finished second to Iran in the Group A of the Asian World Cup qualifying campaign. They made the Qatar finals via an automatic qualification and would be looking to stir more fusses like they did in 2018 when they beat Germany in the group stages and condemning them to a group stage elimination.

South korea are the Asian team with the most World Cup cameos (10) and are the only Asian team to make the semi finals after their exploits on home side in the 2002 edition. They have the brilliance and a good squad to cause problems in Qatar and would be looking to the experience of last season’s EPL Golden Boot Winner – Son Heung-Min to lead a revolution.

In what seemingly is the tournament’s group of death is Group H where South Korea would have to contend with the likes of Euro 2016 and UEFA Nations League 2019 winner – Portugal, 2014 World Cup Winner – Germany and African heavyweights – Ghana in what would be an exciting group.

HEAD COACH – Paulo Bento

CAPTAIN – Son Heung-Min (Tottenham Hotspur FC)

STAR PLAYER(S) – Kim Min-Jae (SSC Napoli), Hwang Hee-chan (Wolverhampton Wanderers FC), Jeong Woo-yeong (SC Freiburg), Hwang Ui-jo (Olympiacos FC)

PREDICTED FINISH – Round of 16

The Asian continent would be keen to make their footprints in the sands of time as they embark on a quest to stardom.

🖋 – RIDDLER ZLATAN-HARDIZ 👽

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