World Cup 2022 final draw is finally completed and the result is somehow full of repeat, reunion plus the clash of Messi vs Lewandowski. It is as quoted from de Oranje manager, Louis Van Gaal, ‘a colourful draw’ despite the non existence of group of death.
At this group stage, at least two groups are bound to have the repeat of 2018 preliminary clash. The defending champion, France is seeded in group D with Denmark once more, Tunisia and the winner of intercontinental playoff between CONMEBOL representative, Peru and the winner of intercontinental pre-playoff, Australia vs UAE. Ricardo Gareca’s side is the favorite to advance in the final round. So, it would be group C in Russia 2018 all over again when France, Denmark and Peru were joined plus Australia.
Another repeat from four years ago takes place in group G. The favorite Brasil is once again included in the same pool with Serbia and Switzerland. It was the same one as group E in 2018. The only difference is that they shall get tougher opposition this year with Cameroon as their contender instead of the not-in-form Costa Rica in the previous edition.
The current draw result also leads to the reunion of two mega stars and their former bosses. In group C, Lionel Messi will be facing off Mexico with Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino at the helm Raul Jimenez and Co. Martino and Messi worked together in Barcelona 2014 and Albiceleste afterwards till 2016 when Argentina lost to Chile again in Copa America Centenario 2016 final in the same way as the 2015 one, on penalties. Such defeat was so devastating for La Pulga that he retired from international games temporarily while Tata soon left the post.
Meanwhile, in group H, his counterpart, Cristiano Ronaldo is set to encounter his former boss in EURO 2012 and World Cup 2014, Paulo Bento, the current head coach of Korea Republic. His spell in Selecao das Quinas did not end well as they headed to the exit too early at the preliminary round in Brasil 2014 after reaching semi finals in European Championship two years earlier. The former Sporting Lisbon manager was immediately dismissed. It was one of the shocking results in that edition providing CR7 was still at his peak, in spite of his injury prior to the tournament.
Last but not least, brace for the notable duel on matchday three between two footballers who had been competing against each other in last year’s Ballon d’Or and FIFA Best Player accolade, Leo Messi v Robert Lewandowski. Argentina is drawn into group C alongside Poland, Mexico and Saudi Arabia. This would be their first meeting in international fixture.
On the team level, another classic clash is set to take place on matchday two in group E between Spain and Germany. Hans Flick’s side are expected to inspire Die Mannschaft’s top form after the humiliating 6-0 loss in their last match versus La Furia Roja in UEFA Nations League 2020.