The new football club season has got underway across the top leagues of Europe for the 2022/23 campaign. However, by the time the action heats up, the leagues will break up for the unprecedented winter World Cup in Qatar. November might feel like a long way off, but it’s now just over 10 weeks until the World Cup kicks off.
The tournament gets underway with hosts Qatar playing Ecuador on 20th November. However, with all due respect to the Qatari and Ecuadorean teams, it’s not really a fixture to get fans’ blood pumping. In fact, looking through all the Group Stages games, we reckon we can pick out five matches that should pique everyone’s interest.
From a clash between two of the best teams in the world to some long-time political foes, these are 5 of the most interesting matches you’ll see at the World Cup this year.
Spain vs Germany – 27th November
The undisputed top pick of games from the Group Stage. Both Spain and Germany are listed among the favorites in the latest online betting markets for the World Cup, and both have a real chance of success this term. This will be the second fixture for both teams in Group E, so the stakes could be super high if either slips up in the first round of fixtures (Germany will play Japan, Spain will tackle South Korea). Nonetheless, we expect both teams to qualify for the knockout phase. But this will give us a taste of what’s to come with a meeting of footballing heavyweights.
USA vs Iran – 29th November
This one is intriguing not for football reasons, but for political ones. Iran and the USA don’t have formal diplomatic relations at the moment (for a variety of reasons), so it’s going to be interesting to see how the teams – and fans – react when they clash at the World Cup. There is, however, precedence for this. Iran played USA at the 1998 World Cup (Iran won 2-1), and there was barely a foul in a match played in the right spirit. But relations have deteriorated further in recent years. This match will be fascinating.
France vs Denmark – 26th November
A clash that has all the hallmarks of a banana skin for the current world champions. Whisper it: but the hugely-talented France squad has been a bit rubbish of late, and the bad run of results has been compounded by rumors of problems between players. Denmark, meanwhile, might just be the most underrated team in the tournament. The betting odds will have France as favorites to win, but Denmark might surprise everyone by taking the scalp of the champions, possibly denting Les Bleus’ hopes of making the knockout phases.
Brazil vs Serbia – 24th November
We have nothing against Serbia (and they may enjoy a fine World Cup), but the reason we picked this one is that it’s Brazil’s opening game, and everyone will be keen to see how the tournament favorites get on. The current Brazil squad is packed with talent, so much so that many big names might be left out of the squad. Brazil can make a statement here, showing that they are ready to lift their first World Cup in 20 years.
Argentina vs Poland – 30th November
This match should read, Lionel Messi vs Robert Lewandowski. The man who was king at Barcelona, and the man who has now replaced him as top dog. Anyway, leaving aside the performances of two of the best players of this generation, we want to see how Argentina will get on against tricky opposition. The South Americans will be full of confidence given their Copa America win last summer, so can they offer every neutral football fan what they really want – A World Cup Final win for Messi before he retires? A test of mettle against Poland and Lewandowski will tell us how realistic those hopes are.