Each edition of the FIFA World Cup creates a new rivalry or revives an old one, whether in the group stage or the knockout stage. Many top teams have been drawn next to each other in what looks to be tantalizing prospects for the fans.
Often when two top teams face off in the group stages, the outcome plays a huge role in determining who qualifies for knockouts and in what order.
There were some amazing matches during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia that caught the attention of many. Spain’s 3-3 draw against Portugal, South Korea’s 2-0 victory over Germany to eliminate them, and Croatia’s 3-0 humiliation against Argentina are among the most notables.
The 2022 FIFA World Cup Qatar fixture list has produced some potentially tantalizing fixtures that fans will be delighted to see. On that note, let’s take a look at the five group stage fixtures to watch.
#5. France vs Denmark (Group D: Saturday 26 November)
France and Denmark are the two favorites to exit Group D in that order, with Tunisia and Australia having to retire. However, the outcome of this match will determine if Tunisia will have an outside chance to sneak in for knockouts.
If France beats Australia and Tunisia manages to draw Denmark in the opening game, a victory for Les Bleus in this one will guarantee them progress. Denmark, meanwhile, will participate in this competition as a must.
France have Kylian Mbappe, Aurelien Tchouameni and Hugo Lloris in good form while Denmark have midfield duo Christian Eriksen and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg in good form.
#4. Brazil vs Switzerland (Group G: Monday 28 November)
Both teams enter Group G as the highest ranked teams. Brazil enter the tournament as favorites to win it all, while Switzerland are expected to qualify in second place in the group.
Given that these two teams would have each faced Cameroon and Serbia before this clash, there will be a lot to do on this game. In the best-case scenario, where Brazil and Switzerland win their first two games in the group stage, that game could decide who tops the group.
Brazil have Neymar, Vinicius Junior and Alisson in good form, while Switzerland have a resurgent Granit Xhaka in their ranks.
#3. Argentina vs Mexico (Group C: Sunday 27 November)
Argentina and their star Lionel Messi will enter the World Cup with huge pressure of hope and expectation to lift the trophy on them. Considering this could be Messi’s last World Cup appearance, the responsibility for his teammates is even heavier.
Mexico, on the other hand, will have to play the fearless football they so often do in international competitions. Both teams will be the favorites for their matches against Saudi Arabia and Poland, which they will have faced before this clash.
Argentina have Lionel Messi, Angel di Maria and Julian Alvarez, while Mexico have Guillermo Ochoa between the sticks and Hirving Lozano up front.
#2. Spain v Germany (Group E: Monday 28 November)
Spain enters this edition of the FIFA World Cup as one of the underdogs among the usual best teams. This is mainly due to their team undergoing a massive overhaul and rebuild under Luis Enrique since he took over. They also don’t have a full-fledged striker, which seems like a must for a knockout tournament.
Germany, meanwhile, will be licking their lips at the idea of revenge against Spain for their defeat in the UEFA Euro 2008 final. They enter this World Cup as one of the favorites and will be impatient for this titanic shock which will determine the final classification of the group.
Spain have Rodri and Pedri in midfield while Germany have Gnabry and Sane in attack.
#1. Portugal v Uruguay (Group H: Tuesday 29 November)
The game that most fans around the world will be looking forward to in the group stages is the second Group H game week when Portugal take on dark horses Uruguay.
The Portuguese side may have been shaken by the recent developments surrounding the legendary Cristiano Ronaldo. However, they have world-class players in all positions and have a great chance of winning the World Cup if things go well for them.
Uruguay, on the other hand, have captured the attention of fans around the world since their incredible team announcement video. Video quality aside, Uruguay has some serious young talent, most of whom are in good shape.
Portugal have Joao Cancelo, Bruno Fernandes and Rafael Leao while Uruguay have Federico Valverde, Darwin Nunez and Rodrigo Bentancur.