World Cup 2022 Playoffs and Predictions
Netherlands Versus The United States
The Netherlands qualified for the Round of 16 with a strong performance in Group A. The Dutch scored 5 goals in total. 3 goals came off the back of Cody Gakpo. The Dutch showed their strength in defense, only allowing 1 goal. Ultimately, winning their group with 2 wins and 1 draw.
The United States qualified for the Round of 16 with a middling performance. The United States scored just 2 goals, but only allowed 1 goal. The United States drew against Wales and England. Before winning over Iran. The United States qualified by finishing 2nd in the group.
Argentina Versus Australia
Argentina started the tournament with a massive scare, losing 1-2 to Saudi Arabia in a major upset. However, the Argentinians bounced back, rattling off 2 wins. While not allowing a goal, which allowed them to finish 1st in the group.
Australia was the statistically worst-performing team to qualify for the Round of 16. Australia started rough, losing 1-4 to France. The Australians responded with two shocking 1-0 wins over Tunisia and Denmark, allowing the Australians to sneak into the Round of 16 with a 2nd place finish.
Japan Versus Croatia
Japan seemingly can play up to the opponent’s level. Slaying the soccer giants in Spain and Germany, but struggled against a weaker team like Costa Rica. Ultimately, Japan won Group E. Their giant slaying will be tested once again as they face off against the 2018 World Cup runners-up in Croatia.
Croatia has been middling this tournament. 1 win and 2 draws saw them finish 2nd in Group F. A plus for this team is their defense, only allowing 1 goal in the group stage. This is a far cry from 2018, which saw them rack up 3 wins.
Brazil Versus South Korea
Brazil came into the tournament as the best team in the world. They won the first 2 games before losing the last game to Cameroon. Their defense was strong, allowing only 1 goal while scoring only 3 goals. Brazil won their group on goal differential. Their striker Richarlison did have what is likely to be the goal of the tournament with his bicycle kick volley.
South Korea’s chances of qualifying looked bleak after the first two games, drawing the first one and suffering a loss to Ghana. However, a victory over Portugal saw them placed at 4 points, in a tie with Uruguay. Uruguay failed to score enough goals in their victory over Ghana. Both were at 4 points and had the same goal difference. The next tiebreaker was goals scored. South Korea scored a total of 4 goals, while Uruguay scored only 2. This saw South Korea advance to the Round of 16.
France Versus Poland
France started strong in the tournament scoring 6 goals in the first two games, resulting in 2 wins. Before a loss to Tunisia in the final game. The star in those first two games was the PSG superstar Kylian Mbappé. Mbappé scored 3 of the 6 goals. Ultimately, helping France win the group on goal difference over Australia.
Poland won 1 game, drew 1 game, and lost 1 game. That span only saw 2 goals and 2 goals allowed. Not a strong performance for a team with one of the best strikers in the game. However, Mexico failed to win their final game by enough goals, which sent Poland to the Round of 16 over them.
England Versus Senegal
England did not disappoint in Group B. The Three Lions scored 9 goals while allowing just 2 goals. This gave them the best goal differential in the entire tournament. The man to highlight is Marcus Rashford, who is tied for the most goals in the tournament with 3 goals. This might be England’s World Cup.
Senegal started slowly with a 0-2 loss to the Netherlands. They came back with 5 goals in 2 games and racked up 2 wins, which saw them advance to the Round of 16 over Ecuador.
Morocco Versus Spain
Morocco was the most unexpected 1st place team in the tournament, winning a group with 2 of the best teams in the world. A draw to Croatia and 2 wins against Canada and Belgium. Morocco was defensively strong, allowing just 1 goal while slotting 4 goals.
Spain started strong, winning 7-0 over Costa Rica, before drawing with Germany and then losing to Japan, securing 2nd in Group E on goal difference. The biggest question for this team was their offense, and they showed in the first game that it had been addressed.
Portugal Versus Switzerland
Portugal won Group H, but it was not as easy as they thought. Portugal won the first 2 games before dropping the last one to South Korea. A hole in Portugal seems to be their defense, allowing 4 goals in total.
Switzerland won its first game over Cameroon before dropping the next one in a 0-1 loss to Brazil. The Swiss rebounded and defeated Serbia 3-2 to secure 2nd place in Group G.