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Qatar World Cup 2022 Countdown series: Group G Preview

By Elume Raymond

Beginning on Nov. 20, the most popular global sports event will kick off in Qatar: the 2022 FIFA World Cup. For the team at Sports24, the 2022 edition gives an opportunity to provide analysis on the global extravaganza and finally showcase the best football has to offer. The Countdown Series will preview all groups:

Whenever Brazil are drawn into a World Cup group, you can guarantee that one qualification spot is already taken. The five-time winners have made it to the knockout rounds in each of the last 13 World Cups and their early exit in 1966 remains the only time they have failed to emerge from their group. They are the only country to have played in every tournament since it began in 1930.

Group G will come down to which team qualifies alongside Tite’s squad, who have reclaimed top spot in the FIFA world rankings. Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon make up the group. Less than a year ago, Switzerland dumped world champions France out of Euro 2020 at the second-round stage.

Cameroon haven’t made it through the group stage since 1990, while Serbia have also under-performed at recent World Cups.

Cameroon will bring experience and energy following their playoff win against Algeria to qualify for the World Cup.

The world’s No.1-ranked team, Brazil, will face stiff competition from European qualifying group winners Serbia and Switzerland, as well as Cameroon, in an intriguing series of matchups at Qatar 2022.

Neymar’s Brazil will be strongly fancied to advance to the knockout stages, but they look set to be pushed all the way by the two European sides, who both finished above so-called superior teams in Portugal and Italy to qualify for the finals automatically.

However, it has been 20 years since they or any South American nation won the World Cup. Despite their name being synonymous with winning football, they will travel to Qatar perhaps more in hope than expectation.

Group G Dates, Times and Locations

  • Thursday, November 24th
  • 11:00 Switzerland v Cameroon – Al Janoub Stadium
  • 20:00 Brazil v Serbia – Lusail Stadium
  • Monday, November 28th
  • 11:00 Cameroon v Serbia – Al Janoub Stadium
  • 17:00 Brazil v Switzerland – Stadium 974
  • Friday, December 2nd
  • 20:00 Cameroon v Brazil – Lusail Stadium
  • 20:00 Serbia v Switzerland – Stadium 974

Must-see match: Serbia vs. Switzerland


The game that could decide who qualifies alongside Brazil. When the two nations met at Russia 2018, Switzerland’s Granit Xhaka and Xherdan Shaqiri were both charged by FIFA after celebrating their goals in a 2-1 win by goading the Serbia supporters with an Albanian nationalist symbol. Both Xhaka and Shaqiri are players of Albanian-Kosovan heritage — Kosovo is not recognised by Serbia, and relations between the two countries remain tense.

Xhaka and Shaqiri are now captain and vice-captain of Switzerland, so both are likely to be involved — and integral — against Serbia.

Brazil: Vinicius Jr – The new kid on the block

Man Utd 'offered Vinicius Jr transfer during Raphael Varane negotiations but won't pay Real Madrid £68.5m asking price' | The Sun

Ever since a precocious 18-year-old Neymar burst onto the scene back in 2010, Brazil’s hopes have rested squarely on his shoulders. He scored four times, helping the host nation to the quarter-finals in 2014. His tournament ended with a back injury that ruled him out of Brazil’s next game. La Seleçao suffered their most humiliating defeat in footballing history, losing 7-1 at home to Germany.

Fast forward four years, Neymar’s tournament preparations were again marred as the PSG forward arrived at the World Cup with injury concerns and Brazil were knocked out at the quarter-final stage in 2018.

At this year’s games, Neymar will be 30-years old and is one of the squad’s veterans. The focus will most likely be on an upcoming superstar, 21-year-old Vinicius Jr.

The Real Madrid forward has experienced a breakthrough year in Spain. His extraordinary displays have helped them win La Liga and the Champions League.

It just wouldn’t feel like a World Cup without Brazil, and the Selecao will aim to end two decades of European dominance on the biggest stage since their fifth success back in 2002.

Argentina might have beaten their old rivals in last year’s Copa America final, but Brazil still appears to many people like the team most likely to wrest back control of the World Cup for South America.

Angel Di Maria’s solitary strike at the Maracana in July accounted for Brazil’s only defeat in 2021 — one of only five goals they conceded. Their hopes are likely to stand and fall by how effectively their attacking talents click, with an onus on Neymar to finally enjoy a World Cup befitting of his talents alongside Real Madrid sensation Vinicius Jr.

  •     Current FIFA world ranking: No. 1 (October, 2022)
  •     Regional ranking: 1st (CONMEBOL)
  •     Honours: World Cup 5 times, Copa America 9 times, Confederations Cup 4 times
  •     World Cup titles: 5
  •     Best Result: First place (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
  •     World Cup appearances (last): 21 (Russia 2018)
  •     How they qualified: (CONMEBOL World Cup Qualification winners: 14W-0L-3D)
  •     Jerseys: Home and Away (Yellow/Blue)
  •     Date released: September 15, 2022
  •     Kit manufacturer: Nike
  •     Coach: Tite (Brazil) since June, 2016
  •     Key players: Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain / France), Thiago Silva (Chelsea / England), Vinicius Jr. (Real Madrid / Spain)
  •     The next big thing: Vinicius Jr (Real Madrid)
  •     Strengths: Elite strike force. The Brazilians have a plethora of top strikers. It will be great to see how the Brazilian team makes effective use of these strikers.
  •     Weaknesses: There is an evident weakness at the back especially the right back position where Danilo is relatively inexperienced.
  •     Latest squad: 3-0 v Ghana; 5-1 v Tunisia

Alisson Becker (Liverpool), Ederson (Manchester City), Weverton (Palmeiras), Thiago Silva (Chelsea), Marquinhos (PSG), Danilo (Juventus), Alex Telles (Manchester United), Alex Sandro (Juventus), Eder Militao (Real Madrid), Bremer (Juventus), Roger Ibanez (Roma), Bruno Guimarães (Newcastle), Casemiro (Real Madrid), Lucas Paqueta (Lyon), Fabinho (Liverpool), Fred (Manchester United), Everton Ribeiro (Flamengo), Neymar (PSG), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid), Antony (Manchester United), Richarlison (Tottenham), Raphinha (Barcelona), Rodrygo (Real Madrid), Matheus Cunha (Atletico Madrid), Pedro (Flamengo)

Tite teased us all with his squad for the recent friendlies, which was missing Arsenal trio Gabriel Jesus, Magalhaes and Martinelli. Jesus is likely to be on the plane to Qatar but Martinelli is sweating on his place, despite his contribution to the Gunners’ fine start. There was a panic about the fitness of Richarlison but that was dismissed by Antonio Conte.

 Switzerland: Age and experience mix in the right amounts

🇨🇭 SWITZERLAND Team Profile FIFA World Cup 2022 | JunGSa Football - YouTube

Switzerland finished World Cup qualification with a flourish, beating Bulgaria 4-0 at home last November to underline their place at the top of Group C, as they booked an automatic spot in Qatar.

Going unbeaten during qualifying, with only two goals conceded, Murat Yakin’s team are certainly ones to watch at this tournament — with a side built strongly from the back but that is also capable of unlocking the opposition.

The team’s backbone is goalkeeper Yann Sommer, which, together with Ricardo Rodriguez, Granit Xhaka, and Xherdan Shaqiri, are the most experienced players on the team. A few other key players such as Fabian Schar, Denis Zakaria, and Haris Seferovic can be a thorn in the back for some of their opponents in Group G.

New Manchester City signing Manuel Akanji is also one to watch.

Switzerland will undoubtedly aim to progress further than the group stage, and the key match that will determine that will be against Serbia.

While the World Cup group odds have Switzerland progressing to the knock-out stage; they will face a formidable opponent in Serbia for that second place in Group G.

If we look at what history tells us, in the 2018 World Cup, Switzerland and Serbia also met in the group stage, and in their head-to-head match, Switzerland won 2-1.

  •     Current FIFA world ranking: No. 15 (October, 2022)
  •     Regional ranking: 11th (UEFA)
  •     Honours: Silver medal Olympic Games 1924
  •     World Cup titles: —
  •     Best Result: Quarter-finals (1934, 1938, 1954)
  •     World Cup appearances (last): 11 (Russia 2018)
  •     How they qualified: (UEFA Group C winners: 5W-0L-3D)
  •     Jerseys: Home and Away (Red/White)
  •     Date released: September 15, 2022
  •     Kit manufacturer: Puma
  •     Coach: Murat Yakin (Switzerland) since August, 2021
  •     Key players: Granit Xhaka (Arsenal / England), Xherdan Shaqiri (Chicago Fire / USA), Manuel Akanji (Man City / England)
  •     The next big thing: Manuel Akanji (Manchester City)
  •     Strengths: Solid, experienced side buoyed by the attacking threat of Breel Embolo looks well set to trouble teams in the World Cup.
  •     Weaknesses: Over reliant on Breel Embolo and never seem to get past the round of 16.
  •     Latest squad: 2-1 v Czech Republic; 1-2 v Spain

Yann Sommer (Borussia Monchengladbach), Yvon Mvogo (Lorient), Jonas Omlin (Montpellier), Kevin Mbabu (Fulham), Silvan Widmer (Mainz), Nico Elvedi (Borussia Monchengladbach), Manuel Akanji (Manchester City), Ricardo Rodriguez (Torino), Eray Comert (Valencia), Fabian Schar (Newcastle), Fabian Frei (Basel), Remo Freuler (Nottingham Forest), Granit Xhaka (Arsenal), Renato Steffen (Lugano), Denis Zakaria (Chelsea), Djibril Sow (Eintracht Frankfurt), Michel Aebischer (Bologna), Xherdan Shaqiri (Chicago Fire), Ardon Jashari (Luzern), Breel Embolo (Monaco), Cedric Itten (Young Boys), Dan Ndoye (Basel), Ruben Vargas (Augsburg), Haris Seferovic (Galatasaray)

 Serbia: The desire for progress

🇷🇸 SERBIA Team Profile FIFA World Cup 2022 | JunGSa Football - YouTube

It’s not just Switzerland looking to derail the Brazilians. Serbia has experience in shocking a footballing heavyweight after beating Germany in 2010. Surprisingly they finished top of their World Cup qualifying group, above Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal. Aleksandar Mitrovic scored the goal that sealed that win in Lisbon.  Not only did he score the winning goal late in the game, but he also became Serbia’s all-time top scorer. The other goal scorer that night in Portugal was Dusan Tadic, and if the Ajax man is on his game, Serbia has everything to play for.

If we look at Switzerland and Serbia, these are the two teams many bookies debate about who will progress. However, fast forward to today, Serbia has a much better team, factoring in players like Strahinja Pavlovic, Nemanja Gudelj, Dusan Vlahovic, Dusan Tadic, Filip Kostic, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, and of course Aleksandar Mitrovic. Dragan Stojkovic’s side will aim for that second place in Group G.

Serbia failed to make it to Euro 2020 but secured a place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar by finishing top, and unbeaten, in a tough qualifying group which also included Portugal. If they play with cohesion then they could end up surprising many people.

  •     Current FIFA world ranking: No. 21 (October, 2022)
  •     Regional ranking: 13th (UEFA)
  •     Honours: Goal medal Olympic Games 1960
  •     World Cup titles: —
  •     Best Result: Fourth place (1930, 1962)
  •     World Cup appearances (last): 12 (Russia 2018)
  •     How they qualified: (UEFA Group A winners: 6W-0L-2D)
  •     Jerseys: Home and Away (Red/White)
  •     Date released: September 15, 2022
  •     Kit manufacturer: Puma
  •     Coach: Dragan Stojkovic (Serbia) since March, 2021
  •     Key players: Dusan Tadic (Ajax / Netherlands), Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham / England), Luka Jovic (Real Madrid / Spain)
  •     The next big thing: Dusan Vlahovic (Juventus)
  •     Strengths: Optimism justified due to outstanding form. Dragan Stojkovic has nurtured a maturity and balance to complement their undoubted flair.
  •     Weaknesses: Have lost more World Cup games (seven of nine) than any other European nation since 2006 and haven’t been past the group stages in their last three appearances.
  •     Latest squad: 4-1 Sweden; 2-0 Norway

Marko Dmitrovic (Sevilla), Vanja Milinkovic-Savic (Torino), Marko Ilic (Kortrijk), Stefan Mitrovic (Getafe), Filip Mladenovic (Legia Warsaw), Strahinja Pavlovic (Salzburg), Milos Veljkovic (Werder Bremen), Aleksa Terzic (Fiorentina), Erhan Masovic (Bochum), Strahinja Erakovic (Red Star Belgrade), Srdan Babic (Almeria), Dusan Tadic (Ajax), Nemanja Gudelj (Sevilla), Filip Kostic (Juventus), Nemanja Maksimovic (Getafe), Filip Duricic (Sampdoria), Nemanja Radonjic (Torino), Sergej Milinkovic-Savic (Lazio), Sasa Lukic (Torino), Andrija Zivkovic (PAOK), Stefan Mitrovic (Red Star Belgrade), Uros Racic (Braga), Ivan Ilic (Hellas Verona), Darko Lazovic (Hellas Verona), Aleksandar Mitrovic (Fulham), Luka Jovic (Fiorentina), Dusan Vlahovic (Juventus)

Serbia look primed to surprise a few people in Qatar. Stojkovic’s side were superb in their Nations League wins last month, with Mitrovic taking his Premier League form to the international stage by scoring a hat-trick against Sweden. His and Vlahovic’s firepower will give Serbia a great chance to get through the group.

Cameroon: A change of record for Song?

🇨🇲 CAMEROON Team Profile FIFA World Cup 2022 | JunGSa Football - YouTube

World Cup veterans Cameroon bring back memories of the 1990 World Cup for those of a certain age. They stunned the footballing world with their star man, 38-year-old veteran striker Roger Milla. Diego Maradona and the Argentine team were beaten in the first game before the ‘super sub’ Roger Milla helped see off Romania and Colombia to the quarter-finals. They were within seven minutes of making the last four until Gary Lineker saved England with two late penalties.

Since then, it’s been a tale of diminishing returns for the indomitable Lions. They’ve managed just one win in their subsequent 15 matches, never making it past the group stages.

Cameroon booked a return to the finals for the first time since 2014 with a dramatic aggregate winner-take-all victory over Algeria in late March.

The Indomitable Lions will be making an eighth appearance on the World Cup stage and can call on many well-established players who could be key contributors in Qatar. Captain Vincent Aboubakar is a seasoned international performer, who will be expected to deliver.

Cameroon’s best placing in the tournament came with an iconic quarterfinal run at Italy 1990 and charismatic coach Rigobert Song — a player in his younger years with Liverpool who made four World Cup appearances of his own — will believe his team have a chance of reaching the knockout phase once again following a third-place finish at the Africa Cup of Nations.

However, hope springs eternal, and after dramatically eliminating Algeria, Rigobert Song’s side will be looking to make positive headlines in Qatar.

  •     Current FIFA world ranking: No. 43 (October, 2022)
  •     Regional ranking: 7th (CAF)
  •     Honours: AFCON (5 times), Gold medal Olympics 2000
  •     World Cup titles: —
  •     Best Result: Quarter-finals (1990)
  •     World Cup appearances (last): 7 (Brazil 2014)
  •     How they qualified: (CAF Third Round winners: (agg 2-2 vs. Algeria, Cameroon win on away goals)
  •     Jerseys: Home and Away (Green/Yellow)
  •     Date released: November, 2022
  •     Kit manufacturer: One All Sports
  •     Coach: Rigobert Song (Cameroon) since February, 2022
  •     Key players: Vincent Aboubakar(Al Nassr / Saudi Arabia), Andre Onana (Ajax / Netherlands), Karl Toko-Ekambi (Lyon / France)
  •     The next big thing: Bryan Mbeumo (Brentford)
  •     Strengths: A very potent forward line that can certainly cause problems. There are goals to be found in between Vincent Aboubakar, Choupo-Moting and Karl Toko-Ekambi.
  •     Weaknesses: Weak defence. Conceded in all three group games at the latest AFCON and found themselves behind in the first two games. They will be punished for that in the World Cup against quality opposition.
  •     Latest squad: 0-1 v South Korea; 0-2 v Uzbekistan

Simon Ngapandouetnbu (Marseille), Devis Epassy (Abha), Andre Onana (Inter Milan), Nicolas Nkoulou (Aris), Enzo Ebosse (Udinese), Oumar Gonzalez (Ajaccio), Darlin Yongwa (Lorient), Nouhou Tolo (Seattle Sounders), Olivier Mbaizo (Philadelphia Union), Collins Fai (Al-Tai), Jean-Charles Castelletto (Nantes), Christopher Wooh (Rennes), Georges Mandjeck (Nea Salamis), Jean Onana (Lens), Gael Ondoua (Hannover), Samuel Gouet (Mechelen), Pierre Kunde (Olympiacos), Martin Hongla (Hellas Verona), Olivier Ntcham (Swansea), Leandre Tawamba (Al-Taawoun), Georges-Kevin Nkoudou (Besiktas), Vincent Aboubakar (Al-Nassr), Bryan Mbeumo (Brentford), Jean-Pierre Nsame (Young Boys), Karl Toko Ekambi (Lyon), Moumi Ngamaleu (Dynamo Moscow)

Brentford forward Mbeumo switched allegiance from France to the Indomitable Lions in August in time to make the squad for the September friendlies and the World Cup finals. Mbeumo will be scrapping with Ekambi, Choupo-Moting and Aboubakar for a starting role in Song’s side.

What Group G lacks is a clear runner-up or a team that is certain to get out of the group stage and progress further in the tournament. Brazil will, of course, be the team to beat but perhaps the other nations in Group G can become the story of the early stages of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.


Elume Raymond

Twitter: @elumeraymond

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