Welcome to the ‘That’s Guide to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022.’
Throughout the week That’s will be publishing a series of articles highlighting everything you need to know about the tournament. Here's your guide to Group G.
Surely the Seleção need no introduction? As five-time champions (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002), Brazil is the most successful team in FIFA World Cup history. From Pele to Zico, Socrates to Ronaldo (the original and the best), the Samba Boys are known for their flamboyant style of play and are always among the favorites.
This year is no exception, in fact, they are the favorites. Finishing top of the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) World Cup qualifying group, and with Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar, Tottenham Hotspur’s Richarlison and Arsenal's Gabriel Jesus all available for selection, anything less than lifting the trophy will be seen as a disappointment.
A relative newcomer to the World Cup (compared to Brazil, at least) Serbia made their debut in 1998 (with Montenegro as FR Yugoslavia), losing to the Netherlands in the Round of 16. Since then, they’ve qualified in 2006, 2010 and 2018 but have failed to progress past the group stage on each occasion.
Interestingly, in 2018 they were also in the same group as Brazil and Switzerland, losing to them both – and to Switzerland by a 90th-minute heartbreaker.
With Serbia’s Aleksandar Mitrovićbanging in goals for fun for Fulham, the stage might just be set for revenge.
You’d have to be as old as the Alpine hills to hark back to Switzerland's glory days. Their best performances at the FIFA World Cup were three quarter-final appearances in 1934, 1938 and 1954.
More recently, at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, Switzerland earned the dubious honor of being the first team to be eliminated from a FIFA World Cup without conceding a single goal. They were eliminated by Ukraine in a penalty kick shootout in the Round of 16.
That said, Switzerland finished above Italy in qualifying, consigning the Azzurri to their doomed playoff campaign. And their top scorer in qualification, Monaco’s Breel Embolo, was born in Cameroon, which could get interesting…
That’s right, it’s the Indomitable Lions who round out Group G.
Cameroon has qualified for the FIFA World Cup eight times, more than any other African team, and was the first African team to reach the quarter-final of the FIFA World Cup in 1990, when the swinging hips of Roger Milla were only stayed by the narrowest of defeats to England in quarter-final extra time.
Cameroon will do well to defy their 300/1 odds at this World Cup, but if they select Christian Bassogog, who plies his trade at footballing powerhouse Shanghai Shenhua, well then you never know…
[Cover image via That’s]