World Cup FTP Competition

Content Team 1 year ago
World Cup FTP Competition

The World Cup 2022 in Qatar will mark the second time an Asian country has been selected to host one of the most popular events in the world, after the joint venture of Japan and South Korea in 2002. Qatar is the smallest country ever to host, and previously that was Switzerland, which hosted the 1954 tournament. However, Switzerland is more than three times the size of Qatar and was only required to host 16 teams.

TIt certainly was a surprise in 2010 when the Asian country won their bid. Eleven associations expressed interest in hosting, but in the end, Qatar defeated 4 other finalists: the United States, Australia, Japan and South Korea.

 

About the Competition

The World Cup 2022 is scheduled to take place between November 21st and December 18th. For the first time, the World Cup won’t be played during the summer months but in mid-season due to the high temperatures in Qatar.

This year will be the last time the World Cup is played in the current 32-team format, where they’ll be divided into eight groups with four teams, meaning that two teams from each group will move on to the Knock-out stages. Namely, FIFA expanded the 2026 World Cup to 48 national teams.

In Qatar will participate:

  • 13 teams from Europe (UEFA)
  • Four teams from South America (Conmebol)
  • Six teams from Asia (AFC)
  • Five teams from Africa (CAF)
  • Four teams from North America (Concacaf)

 

How Does the World Cup FTP Competition Work?

Every player in the WC F2P competition needs to predict the results of the six fixtures proposed by the system. Getting this right would be an extremely impressive accomplishment. What’s interesting to know is that the reward is equally impressive — Wikibet will award a €5000 prize to the lucky player who uses his or her football knowledge to guess all the results correctly.

To participate in World Cup free-to-play competition, players only need to register on their preferred website, which is part of the grand World Cup Free-to-Play network. After that, they are free to predict the results and win the prize.

 

Participating Teams

In the sections below, we’ll provide information for each team.

 

Group A

Qatar

Since the time of winning the bid in December 2010, Qatar clubs have worked on promoting the competition by acquiring household football names. For the last couple of years, football legends like Xavi, Laurent Blanc, and Zico have been coaches in the Qatar Stars League. Moreover, Xavi participated as a player in the final years of his career, and Wesley Sneijder, Samuel Eto’o, and many other experienced players did the same. Qatar’s national team consists of players that only compete in their national league. They are heavy underdogs in the competition, led by Spanish coach Felix Sanchez.

Netherlands

The Netherlands is the group’s favorite, and in its history, the national team reached the final game three times (1974, 1978, and 2010) but never managed to bring the trophy home. The Dutch never lost a World Cup soccer match by more than a goal. The 2022 team doesn’t have the star players the Netherlands used to have (Wilkes, Lenstra, Cruyff, Neeskens, Rijkaard, Gullit, Van Basten, Robben, Van Persie). Still, the team coached by the eminent Louis van Gaal qualified in an impressive fashion, with only one defeat and a 25-goal difference.

Ecuador

Somewhat a surprise, Ecuador booked a trip for WC and left Chile and Colombia without qualification. Ecuador qualified for four out of the last six World Cups, the first time being in 2002, and their best result was in 2006, when they reached the round of 16. Experienced Argentinian coach Gustavo Alfaro built a hard-fighting team that looked to Enner Valencia, the best goal scorer in national team history, to put them over the top in close games.

Senegal

A long time had passed since Senegal beat the defending champion France in 2002, in its first World Cup appearance, when they reached the quarter-finals. Senegal entered the WC on a high note, winning the Africa Cup of Nations in January for the first time in history. The attack revolves around Sadio Mane, a Champions League winner with Liverpool FC who transferred to Bayern Munich this summer. Team captain Kalidou Koulibaly also switched teams and became a member of Chelsea FC. Team manager Aliou Cisse, captain of the 2002 team, has many players from the English, Italian, Spanish, and French leagues at his disposal.

 

Group B

England

England came close in the last two big competitions. Manager Gareth Southgate took over the team without expectations and inserted new blood immediately, which he continues to do. As a result, the team qualified for the WC, without a defeat and with only three goals conceded. Captain Harry Kane is surrounded by young talents that need to prove they are ready to take the next step. The team also had a chance to beat the USA national team, which put a dent in England’s 2010 WC hopes when they fought out a draw that led England to a massive defeat against Germany.

Wales

The Wales national team qualified for the World Cup, the second time in history and the first time since 1958. Gareth Bale, captain and Wales’s best scorer ever, scored all three goals in the second qualifying round when Wales beat Austria and Ukraine to qualify. He and fellow experienced players Aaron Ramsey, Chris Gunter, Wayne Hennessey, and Joe Allen, led by former national team player and now coach Rob Page, have one last campaign to secure their place in history after finishing third in the UEFA 2016 European Championship.

United States of America

The USA is hoping for a good tournament before playing on their own home field in the 2026 World Cup. In 2018, they broke a streak of six consecutive trips to the WC after an embarrassing defeat by Trinidad and Tobago that allowed Panama to qualify for the first time in history. After that, coach Gregg Berhalter took over the team and had an impressive 76%-win percentage. He looks towards younger players that got their chance in the top European leagues in the last couple of years:

  • Christian Pulisic
  • Weston McKennie
  • Brenden Aaronson
  • Sergino Dest
  • Tyler Adams
  • George Weah’s son Timothy

Iran

Iran qualified dominantly by finishing first in their group in both the second and third rounds, in front of South Korea, with a better score in direct matches. Iran has an experienced side, and they qualified for the third time in a row and the fifth time in the last seven World Cups. Croatian coach Dragan Skočić counts on forwards Sardar Azmoun, Mehdi Taremi, and Karim Ansarifard, led by captain Ehsan Hajsafi to give them an opportunity to keep them in games and reach the Knockout Stage for the first time in the national team history.

 

Group C

Argentina

Lionel Messi, one of the best World Cup players, has the last chance now in Qatar to win the trophy for Argentina and match the success of Diego Armando Maradona.

The most capped player and the best scorer in the history of a two-time World Cup winner is playing with a whole new group of players, and only he and Angel Di Maria have had the experience from the 2014 World Cup Final game when Germany beat them. Team manager Lionel Scaloni hopes that a new generation of players that have already transferred to the European top three leagues (England, Italy, and Spain) can help Messi reach that final step.

Poland

Another football legend hopes to reach the heights of his predecessors. Robert Lewandowski and his team look to make amends for a very bad outing in 2018. Czeslaw Michniewicz coached only one qualifying game during the play-off final against Sweden because previous coach Paulo Sousa left to coach Flamengo 3 months before. Nevertheless, Poland has enough talent in the top European leagues to make some noise and try to repeat the success of the 1974 and 1982 teams that finished third.

Mexico

An experienced side, led by an even more experienced coach in Gerardo Martino, like the USA, hopes to record a good result before hosting the World Cup in 2026. This is the last chance for players who left their mark on the national team, like captain Andres Guardado, Hector Herrera, Raul Jimenez, Guillermo Ochoa, and Hector Moreno, to go past the quarter-finals, which is Mexico’s best result since 1970 and 1986. They will seek help from talents like Hirving Lozano, Jesus Corona, Santiago Jimenez, Jorge Sanchez, and Edson Alvarez.

Saudi Arabia

Like Qatar, all the Saudi Arabian players perform in their country’s top league, but unlike them, this is Saudi Arabia’s sixth World Cup. Since their debut in 1994, they haven’t gone past the group stage. The team’s biggest asset is coach Herve Renard, who has experience coaching four African national teams, having won two Africa Cup of Nations with Zambia in 2012 and Ivory Coast in 2015, and he qualified for the 2018 WC with Morocco, ending the country’s 20-year wait.

 

Group D

France

In 2020, France hoped to repeat the success of the 1998/00 generation, which held both World Cup and European Championship trophies. Unfortunately, manager Didier Deschamps couldn’t do what he did as a captain of the French team as a coach. However, now he does have a chance to defend the World Cup trophy, which he couldn’t do as a player because he retired in 2001. France is among the top favorites for the trophy. They field a star-studded team with Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema, Ngolo Kante, and Antoine Griezmann, supplanted by new talents in Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga.

Denmark

Denmark had an outstanding qualifying campaign, having won 9 out of 10 games, with the final game resulting in a loss after the team had already qualified. The team also conceded only three goals. Manager Kasper Hjulmand has constructed a team that has a chance to go past the quarter-finals for the first time in history. The vast majority of players perform in the top 5 European leagues. They rallied around Christian Eriksen and his miraculous comeback to the field after his cardiac arrest at the 2020 Euro Cup.

Tunisia

Qatar 2022 marks the sixth time Tunisia qualified for the World Cup, but the team never went past the Group Stage. They finished in front of Equatorial Guinea and Zambia in Group B of the second qualifying round and then beat Mali 1-0 on aggregate to secure their place in Qatar. Coach Jalel Kadri got his chance to lead the team after being an assistant two times. His squad, led by captain Youssef Msakni, plays in leagues worldwide, but not many have top-tier experience.

Australia

Australia qualified for the fifth time in a row, sixth time overall, and only once went past the group stage. The team qualified through the AFC qualifiers. They had all eight victories in the second round, but things didn’t go as smoothly in the third round. They finished third behind Saudi Arabia and Japan and only qualified after beating the UAE in the fourth AFC round and then Peru in the Inter-confederation play-off. Former Australia player Graham Arnold coaches the national squad, and the team is made up of players mainly performing in British leagues, with some home-grown talent getting the opportunity.

 

Group E

Germany

The four-time WC champions qualified easily, with nine wins in ten games and a 32-goal difference. The vast majority of the team plays in the Bundesliga, and as always, the squad’s biggest advantages are their camaraderie and determination. The team got the extra kick they needed when charismatic Hansi Flick took over the team from long-time coach Joachim Löw. Currently, they are on a 13-game unbeaten run and are, as usual, among the top favorites to win the tournament.

Spain

Spain is looking to win their second trophy. After three consecutive wins at big tournaments between 2008 and 2012, the team suffered several unexpected exits, but resurfaced in Euro 2020 when they finished third with a young, up-and-coming team led by coach Luis Enrique in his second stint with the team. The squad captained by Sergio Busquets features young stars like Pedri, Gavi, Ansu Fati, Dani Olmo, but also those with heavy experience like Jordi Alba, Cesar Azpilicueta and Koke.

Japan

Japan didn’t miss the World Cup after appearing for the first time in 1998. In six trips, the team reached the round of 16 three times and could be looking to go beyond that. Head coach Hajime Moriyasu has players from Europe’s top leagues at his disposal, led by captain Maya Yoshida. In recent years, Japan’s best players have competed in the German Bundesliga and English Premier League and acquired much-needed game experience.

Costa Rica

Costa Rica has become a force in Concacaf recently, but they had to beat New Zealand in the Inter-confederation play-off this year to qualify. Joel Campbell scored again to book the team’s second flight to Qatar. Along with Campbell, three other players have more than 100 caps for the national team: Keylor Navas, Celso Borges, and captain Bryan Ruiz. They lead the team coached by Colombian Luis Fernando Suarez, but it would be hard to expect them to surpass their best result when they reached the quarter-finals in 2014.

 

Group F

Croatia

In the last tournament, Croatia achieved the best result in national team history by reaching the final game, where France beat them. The team kept the majority of its core team and manager, Zlatko Dalić. the legend Luka Modrić is still captaining the squad, but also Ivan Perišić, Mateo Kovačić, Mateo Brozović, Dejan Lovren, Domagoj Vida, are expected to be present in Qatar. Twenty years before Russia, Croatia finished second and competed three times with exits from the group stage.

Belgium

The Belgian side has for years been marked as a team expected to go deep into the competition. Their stars play for some of the world’s best clubs: Kevin De Bruyne, Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois, Eden Hazard, and new AC Milan player, young Charles De Ketelaere. Manager Roberto Martinez has one more chance to bring this generation to World Cup glory. Their best finish was third place in Russia four years ago, and they qualified convincingly with six wins in eight matches.

Canada

One of the biggest surprises in the qualifications was the way Canada qualified. They finished in first place in the second round of Concacaf and left Mexico, the USA, and Costa Rica behind them. Head coach John Herdman won two bronze medals with Canada women’s national team and now manages the men’s team to qualify for its second WC, 36 years after their debut. Offensively, the team relies on young stars Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David and captain and most capped player Atiba Hutchinson.

Morocco

Led by former Yugoslavian football legend Vahid Halilhodžić, Morocco qualified with six wins in six matches in the second round and a convincing 5-2 aggregate win against DR Congo in the third round. Romain Saiss captains the team that relies on Youssef En-Nesyri for goals. Most of the squad plays in Europe, with some players having top-level experience.

 

Group G

Brazil

The five-time World Cup champions are consistently among the favorites, but they are looking for their first title since 2002. Head coach Tite got the second chance after the quarter-finals exit four years ago. Brazil features some of the best players in the world in their respective positions: Neymar, Alisson, and Casemiro, but also eternal players like Dani Alves and Thiago Silva. As a result, they finished first in the Conmebol qualification without a single defeat. Interestingly, Brazil also played in a group with Serbia and Switzerland in the 2018 WC.

Serbia

Aleksandar Mitrovic’s late goal against Portugal secured Serbia’s first-place finish in UEFA qualifying Group A. This will be Serbia’s 13th World Cup, but third as an independent country. The team participated nine times as Yugoslavia and finished fourth in the inaugural World Cup in 1930 in Uruguay and 1962 in Chile. In 2006, the team finished last as Serbia and Montenegro. Football and national team legend Dragan Stojković coaches the team led on the field by Ajax player Dušan Tadić. Besides Mitrović, Serbia also has a new Juventus player Dušan Vlahović spearheading the attack.

Switzerland

The Switzerland team also had a great qualifying campaign. They finished in front of European champions Italy, who later failed to qualify through a play-off. The squad has a new manager, former national team player Murat Yakin. Still, the team kept the core from Russia: Xherdan Shaqiri, Grant Xhaka, and Yann Sommer, and they’re looking at Haris Seferović and Mario Gavranović, two players of Balkan descent, to score goals.

Cameroon

Cameroon is the first African side to reach the quarter-finals, a feat they achieved in 1990 when Roger Milla became a World Cup legend. Since then, the team has exited the competition in the group stage five times in a row. They suffered six losses in the last two tournaments in six games. With Samuel Eto’o retiring, the head coach and Cameroon’s most capped player, Rigobert Song, looks to captain Vincent Aboubakar to provide goals, along with Bayern Munich player Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.

 

Group H

Uruguay

Two-time champion Uruguay (1930 and 1950) always fields hard-fighting squads. There will be no exception in Qatar, where new head coach Diego Alonso will try to repeat the success of his predecessor, Oscar Tabarez, who led the team to 4th place in 2010. This is the last chance for some Uruguayan legends to participate in the WC, starting with Luis Suarez, but also for captain Diego Godin, Edinson Cavani, goalkeeper Fernando Muslera, and Martin Caceres.

Portugal

The Portugal national team managed to bounce back from a last-minute loss to Serbia in the final game of the European qualifying group stage by beating Turkey and North Macedonia in the play-off. This could be the final shot for the best player in Portugal history, Cristiano Ronaldo, to reach World Cup glory. The team has enough talent and is led by result-oriented head coach Fernando Santos, but so far, the squad couldn’t reach the heights set by Eusebio, who led the team to a third-place finish in 1966.

Ghana

Ghana will participate in its fourth WC in Qatar. The national team was one of three African sides to reach the quarter-finals, and they came closest to the semi-finals. They needed the team’s most capped player and best scorer, Asamoah Gyan, to score a penalty against Uruguay in extra time, but he failed, and Ghana was knocked out in a penalty shootout. The new coach, Otto Addo, was appointed before the third-round double-leg match against Nigeria, and he managed to qualify the team on away goals.

South Korea

South Korea qualified ten times for the World Cup before Qatar, and only two times did they pass the group stage — when they were hosting in 2002 and reached the semi-finals and in 2010 when they reached the Round of 16. Portuguese coach Paulo Bento is counting on captain Son Heung-min, a seven-time best footballer in Asia award winner, to lead the team past the group stage. They qualified easily, with 12 wins in 16 matches.

 

Conclusion

Even though some circumstances are different, there’s no doubt that World Cup 2022 in Qatar will be a sensation around the globe, like all the previous World Cups. It will be interesting to see how the national teams will approach this mid-season system of competition, what team will find the edge that will help them reach the final stages, and in what form will players appear after just half a season of club football.

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