With every team having played one game, the World Cup is well and truly underway. We take a look at the winners and losers from the first group stage game of the World Cup 2022.
Although Serbia battled admirably, once Brazil scored it was over for them. Richarlison added a glorious second goal and from there Brazil were rampant. The projected favourites for the World Cup brought on Jesus, Martinelli, Rodrygo, Antony and Fred. That’s a frightening strength in depth that no other team possesses.
Thrashing Iran is not exactly impressive, but it sets England up. This team knows how to manage a tournament, and they’ve made qualification for the knockout round relatively straightforward for themselves.
Similarly, Spain destroyed a team who could never really compete with them. A 7-0 win is still quite eye-catching, though, and Spain announced themselves as contenders. In Gavi and Pedri, they may have found their new Xavi and Iniesta.
Japan provided a great underdog story, which is what international tournaments are all about. They play Costa Rica next and you would fancy them to win. If they get 6 points on the board, they could progress from a group containing Spain and Germany.
Saudia Arabia could lose their next two games and nobody would care. Their hard-fought win over Lionel Messi’s Argentina will be remembered in football folklore for years.
As we know, plenty of eventual World Cup winners have lost their first game. It isn’t all over for Argentina, but allowing the Saudi Arabia game to slip away from them was abysmal.
The fact their 3-2 defeat to Portugal entertained everybody else will be no comfort to Ghana, who may not progress from the group stage now. The fact they spurned a glorious chance to make it 3-3 at the death will make it sting even more.
They’re the only team in their group who won, but it wasn’t pretty. Belgium’s ‘Golden Generation’ has perhaps run out of time, and opponents will no longer fear the prospect of playing them.
Serbia were perhaps a little overhyped coming into this tournament. There’s no shame in losing to Brazil, but it’s clear Mitrovic and Vlahovic aren’t fully fit. With the canny Switzerland also in their group, progression looks unlikely now.
They lost their first game in meek fashion to Ecuador. As well as that, the scrutiny of the Qatari regime and their hosting of the World Cup is not going to let up. Qatar is not going to get the sportswashing festival it so desires.