World Cup 2022 draw: Germany to face Spain in Qatar

2 Apr

On April Fools' Day, Germany were left smiling after the 2022 World Cup draw.

Hansi Flick's side were drawn in Group E against Spain, Japan, and whoever wins the interconfederation playoff between Costa Rica and New Zealand. Flick was assistant coach when Germany suffered consecutive defeats to Spain in the 2008 European Championships and the 2010 World Cup, giving him a good understanding of the evolution of the side. Japan is perhaps the surprise team of the group, but ultimately Germany has to feel confident about finishing top.

Belgium, Croatia, Canada and Morocco leave Group F looking like the trickiest to predict. Hosts Qatar were put in Group A with the Netherlands, Senegal and Ecuador.

Critical choice

The tournament in Qatar, the first World Cup ever in the Middle East, has come under heavy criticism and scrutiny since it was awarded back in 2010, with concerns about the country's policies regarding the working conditions of migrant workers. Human Rights Watch recently slammed FIFA's awarding of the tournament to the Gulf country.

FIFA President Gianni Infantino said the tournament would be "the greatest World Cup ever" and that "the world will be united in Qatar." The three remaining spots will be decided in June. In Europe, Wales will play the winner of Scotland vs. Ukraine, a playoff game postponed due to the war in Ukraine. In the inter-confederation playoffs, Costa Rica play New Zealand with the winner taking the final place in Group E. Elsewhere, Australia will take on UAE for the right to play Peru for a spot in Group D with defending champions France.

The 2022 World Cup will start on November 21, when Qatar play Ecuador in the opening game.

 

Author Jonathan Harding

Permalink - https://p.dw.com/p/49Lvp

 

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Opinion: World Cup draw boosts Germany's prospects

 

The 2022 World Cup draw has set Germany up against an old foe, but Group E has also boosted Hansi Flick's chances of delivering a good tournament, DW's Jonathan Harding writes.

 

If we're honest, it could have been a lot worse for Germany. Spain, Japan and either Costa Rica or New Zealand pose challenges of their own, but Hansi Flick must feel good about his chances of guiding Germany into the knockout stages of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. A repeat of the 2018 disaster in Russia looks off the cards.

Spain provides the headline clash. Flick said after the draw that he considers the Spanish a top favorite for the title, calling the draw "a blockbuster." A lot has changed since Joachim Löw's side lost 6-0 to Spain in November 2020. Flick, who was also assistant coach when Germany lost to Spain in Euro 2008 and at the 2010 World Cup, will want to prove that Germany can finish top.

Top or not, a round-of-16 tie against Belgium, Croatia, Canada or Morocco awaits. After that, Brazil in the quarterfinals is a tantalizing prospect. Now that their World Cup path is set, the chances of a strong showing for Germany have increased.

Germany's developing team

The early signs of the Flick era are encouraging. Germany have yet to lose since the former Bayern boss took over, and, with Jamal Musiala flourishing and Kai Havertz the man to lead the line, there is much reason to believe that the tournament in Qatar can be the first step toward future glory.

But right now this squad is short of quality in depth, particularly in defense. David Raum and Nico Schlotterbeck have made encouraging starts, but playing at a World Cup is an entirely different task. Furthermore, the nucleus of this group is still evolving. Veterans such as Manuel Neuer (36), Thomas Müller (32) and Ilkay Gündogan (31) are approaching the final stages of their international careers, and with that another shift beckons.

Though Germany have always gone to a World Cup with the ambition of winning it all, their chances of being crowned champions in Qatar are small. A solid showing, such as reaching the quarterfinals, would be a big step in the right direction for a group in the early stages of a new cycle of development. And the draw has given Germany an excellent chance of doing just that.

 

Author Jonathan Harding

Permalink - https://p.dw.com/p/49MLn


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