Qatar 2022: Which nations fell short of expectations during the tournament?
As the group stage round ended, the drama surrounding the 2022 FIFA World Cup is only going to intensify. Several miraculous upsets and astounding storylines continue to unfold.
While some nations have basked in the glory of ruling as the underdog, countries on the other end of the spectrum are perplexed as to what went wrong, especially international powerhouses that are leaving Qatar’s airports early.
Let’s examine the five teams that have disappointed the most in this World Cup.
It is Germany’s second consecutive elimination from the World Cup in the group stage. Germany finished last in a group that included Sweden, Mexico, and South Korea in 2018. It finished third in 2022, trailing Japan and Spain but ahead of Costa Rica.
Manager Hansi Flick’s tactics on both sides of the ball should have seen the DFB overcome the challenge that 2018 proved to be, but a combination of his lineups, substitutes, and the general calamity that the World Cup can conjure in a split second saw his side exit. Germany’s lack of an elite No. 9 and leaky defenders also played a role, but this is a team that should have at the very least advanced to the quarterfinals.
FIFA’s international rankings have come under fire in recent years, and Belgium is the latest example to show that they don’t tell the whole picture. The Red Devils entered Qatar ranked second in the world, but they finished third in Group F and should have finished fourth had Canada converted its chances in their first match.
Kevin De Bruyne did not dominate games as he does so often for Manchester City in England, Romelu Lukaku’s misses will haunt fans for years to come, and the decision to rely on aging centerbacks in a back-three system ultimately led to Roberto Martnez’s dismissal as manager immediately following the final game against Croatia.
On paper, Belgium had enough talent to make it to the round of 16; there was no way the squad could have replicated its third-place finish from last year, but it is now time for the federation to rebuild with younger talent deserving of more reps and minutes.
You don’t win games until you score goals. The cliche caught up with numerous teams in the group stage that will emerge later, while certain nations (the United States) have escaped that fate thus far. Denmark, on the other hand, did not, as the 2020 UEFA Euro semifinalists finished dead bottom in Group D.
Denmark should have battled France for first place on paper. The head-to-head clash demonstrated that the Danish Dynamite could compete with the best, but they lacked the explosive outlets up top to find the back of the net. A good goalie, a robust backline, and a diversified midfield proved to be strong pillars, but they all crumbled as soon as they hit the final third, much like the nation in the World Cup.
One would think that a frontline of Luis Surez, Edinson Cavani, and Darwin Nez, combined with midfielders Federico Valverde and Rodrigo Bentancur, would be lively in front of goal, but Diego Alonso’s setup and tactics were completely shocking. This has been a long time coming for Uruguayan fans, who have grown accustomed to Alonso handicapping his star forwards throughout the qualifying rounds and international friendlies, but he didn’t change a thing in Qatar, and his team is now out.
Uruguay entered Matchday 3 with zero goals, and despite scoring two against Ghana, South Korea knocked the team down to third place in Group H and out of Qatar on guess what?! scored goals (four to two difference).
as soon as the final whistle against Saudi Arabia blew That sums up Mexico’s experience in Qatar and Martino’s tenure as manager of El Tri.
Mexico, like Uruguay, appeared to be a shadow of its former self in World Cup qualifying activity, with Martinos’ squad call-ups and starting lineups befuddling. His choice to rest Javier Chicharito Hernndez, Santiago Gimnez, and Diego Lainez once again lost his squad the ability to regularly generate opportunities and score once they went into the final third.
Mexico, like Uruguay, began their Group C match against Saudi Arabia with no goals. Despite scoring two goals and taking all three points, Poland stayed second behind Mexico due to, guess what?! goal difference (zero to minus-one). El Tri will also need to rebuild with new legs and more youthful talent coming through the ranks because they will be one of three hosts in 2026.
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