After 12 years of preparation, controversy and debate, the 2022 World Cup is just days away.
Can Brazil end 20 years of suffering? Will Lionel Messi finally lead Argentina to world glory in his last dance? Do England have what it takes to go all the way after reaching the semi-finals and then the final of the two most recent major tournaments? And can hosts Qatar create a surprise or two? We are about to find out…
To give you the inside track, Athleticism produced team guides by local experts on the 32 teams competing in Qatar, profiling every manager involved in this World Cup, outlining each team’s strengths and weaknesses, naming each nation’s potential player and explaining exactly how much pressure each team will be under. under the media and the fans at home.
Perhaps most importantly, they’ll tell you which coach always wears a crisp white button-up shirt for good luck, which team has a fan who will cross the desert to Doha, which panicked president of the country tweeted his best wishes to the injuries of his star national team, which group of fans inexplicably revived a pop song from the 1980s on their way to the final, and which goalkeeper is in the Guinness Book of World Records for having the longest throw in the world…
Find the answers to all these questions and more in the 32 team guides below.
For a detailed group-by-group breakdown of each team’s tactics and how they’re set up…
Group A guide: De Jong spins Netherlands and watches Ecuador set pieces
Group B guide: England control and Iran keeper’s javelin throws
Group C guide: Argentina’s quick starts, aging Mexico and timid Poland
Group D guide: France’s high press, Denmark’s inverted wingers and an Australian giant
Group E guide: Spain’s young midfield stars and watch out for Germany’s triangles
Group F guide: Scoreless Belgium, heavy Croatia and cutbacks Canada
Group G guide: Tadic corners, Swiss pressing and a more complete Neymar
Group H guide: Bernardo Silva the orchestrator and Uruguay’s last dance
(Copy illustration: Photos: Getty Images/Design: Sam Richardson. Top image: Getty Images)