- There have been some spectacular ends in qualifying for Qatar 2022
- Some shock standouts emerged in on both facet of the Atlantic
- Read on for perception and evaluation from the previous week
The massive boys may be crushed
Although a number of favourites nonetheless recorded comfy wins, most notably Japan’s 14-0 triumph in Mongolia, a number of matches threw up shocking outcomes.
Few would have predicted that the Netherlands would lose 4-2 to Turkey of their opening World Cup qualifier. Having seemed unstoppable after their 6-0 rout of Germany within the UEFA Nations League final autumn, Spain toiled to safe a 1-1 draw with Greece, earlier than solely beating Georgia 2-1 because of an damage-time winner.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup™ finalists had maybe essentially the most stuttering begin of all, with Russia 2018 runners-up Croatia struggling a 1-0 defeat to Slovenia of their first qualifier, whereas reigning champions France dropped two factors with a 1-1 house draw in opposition to Ukraine.
Most surprisingly of all, 4-time winners Germany slumped to a 2-1 loss to North Macedonia in Duisburg. Joachim Low’s males had already proven indicators of weak point of their 1-0 win in Romania, and this newest shock setback suggests they haven’t but overcome the problems that led to their heavy 6-0 defeat by the hands of Spain final autumn.
The variety of World Cup qualifiers Germany went unbeaten, together with victories of their final 18 video games, earlier than dropping to North Macedonia.
Concacaf sides hitting new heights
Europe will not be the one place the place the sport’s “minnows” appear more and more effectively geared up to trigger issues for greater groups, as ongoing growth work additionally appears to be paying off in different areas.
British abroad territory Montserrat, house to only below 6,000 individuals, held overwhelming favourites El Salvador to a 1-1 draw and are nonetheless unbeaten in qualifying, whereas Puerto Rico additionally shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw with former World Cup members Trinidad and Tobago. Observers attribute this enchancment in efficiency to elements such because the Concacaf Nations League, which presents extra alternatives for groups to develop in aggressive situations.
“I’m very proud of this group. We’ve talked a lot about not playing with fear. The takeaway from this is: we’re a young team that has great potential,” mentioned Puerto Rico coach Dave Sarachan. “We’re not happy we drew, but we’re pleased that we were prepared, and that the group competed. It keeps us in the hunt.”
Denmark rotating their method to success
Denmark coach Kasper Hjulmand has adopted a coverage of whole rotation in the course of the Scandinavians’ opening three World Cup qualifiers. After starting their marketing campaign with a 2-0 win over Israel, he modified all ten outfield gamers for the match in opposition to Moldova, with solely goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel making a second successive begin.
His transfer paid off with a free-scoring 8-0 win from a Danish staff that’s usually extra assault-minded than that of his predecessor Age Hareide. But did this document-breaking end result earn anybody a spot within the beginning line-up for the subsequent recreation in opposition to Austria? Not a little bit of it – Hjulmand as soon as once more rotated all ten outfield gamers en path to a 4-0 victory in Vienna.
- Matches: 3
- Wins: 3
- Goals scored: 14
- Goals conceded: 0
- Players used: 21
- Goalscorers: 11
Spain have Pedri… and a striker downside
The checklist of supertalented Spanish children appears limitless. Just a 12 months after Ansu Fati’s heralded arrival onto the world stage, all eyes are Barcelona’s 18-12 months-outdated midfielder Pedri, who featured for his nation in all three of their World Cup qualifiers, making two begins alongside the best way, and already seems to be a key a part of Luis Enrique’s plans for the nationwide facet.
A well-known downside additionally appears to have re-emerged for the Spanish. While their possession and passing is as spectacular as ever, they lack the required aggression and penetration in entrance of aim. What’s extra, there doesn’t look like any signal of a prolific attacker who can constantly capitalise on the obvious dominance of Enrique’s staff.
Curaçao daring to dream below Hiddink
He guided Korea Republic and the Netherlands to World Cup semi-finals and received the UEFA Champions League. Now Guus Hiddink has been appointed nationwide staff coach of the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao, inhabitants 150,000.
He has made a flying begin together with his new facet, recording a 5-0 victory over St. Vincent and the Grenadines adopted by a 2-1 win over Cuba.
“If people ask: ‘Are we going to the World Cup?’ then I say: ‘Yes, we’re going to the World Cup.’ What else can I say? We are going to do everything we can. The ambition is there and it would be fantastic if Curaçao makes it to the World Cup,” mentioned Hiddink.