After 12 years of build-up, controversy and debate, the 2022 World Cup is now just days away.
Can Brazil end 20 years of injury? Will Lionel Messi finally lead Argentina to global glory in his final dance? Do England have what it takes to go all the way after qualifying for the semi-finals and then the finals of the last two major tournaments? And could Qatar’s spring be a surprise or two? We are about to find out…
To help give you the inside track, Athletics has produced team guides from local experts for the 32 teams competing in Qatar, profiling each coach involved in this World Cup, outlining each squad’s strengths and weaknesses, naming each nation’s potential breakthrough players and explained exactly how much pressure each team will be under. under the influence of the media and fans at home.
Perhaps more importantly, they’ll tell you which manager always wears a pristine white button-up shirt for good luck, which team has a fan who will walk across the desert to Doha, which country’s president is in a panic sent congratulations to his national team’s strikers on Twitter. star, which group of fans inexplicably revived a 1980s pop song en route to the final, and which goalkeeper is in the Guinness Book of Records for the world’s longest shot…
Find the answers to all these questions and more in the 32 team guides below.
For an in-depth set-by-set breakdown of each team’s tactics and how they decide…
Group A guide: De Jong continues Netherlands and watch out for Ecuador groups
Group B guide: England’s control and Iran goalkeeper’s spear-style shots
Group C guide: Argentina’s fast starts, aging Mexico and possession-shy Poland
Group D guide: France’s high press, Denmark’s topsy-turvy flankers and an Australian giant
Group E guide: Spain’s young midfield stars and Germany’s triangles beware
Group F guide: free-scoring Belgium, heavy Croatia and cutbacks Canada
Group G guide: Tadic corners, Swiss pressing and a more complete Neymar
Group H guide: Bernardo Silva the orchestrator and last dance of Uruguay
(Copy artwork: Photo: Getty Images/Design: Sam Richardson. Main image: Getty Images)