World Cup clock: It’s kick-off in Qatar: the ups and downs of the tournament

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Qatar and FIFA (and football)

Qatar’s last-minute decision to ban what was previously agreed beer sale in stadiums was followed by FIFA boss Gianni Infanta‘s bizarre rant that defends the hosts and urges critics to blame him instead. Okay, he’s right: FIFA sucks too. As another example, it was they, not directly Qatar, who scrapped a plan this week that several European teams were set to carry Rainbow Bracelets to support gay rights (rights that do not exist in Qatar). So yes, FIFA is a worthy target – watch it FIFA revealed on Netflix to learn more – and thanks for reminding us.

But soccer fans haven’t let FIFA spoil their own party for a long time. Sure there’s corruption, and for some reason they dragged everyone into the desert over the winter, and there’s so much more to talk about, but while we’ve got all the players here, Let’s just play the damn game. And fortunately that started on Sunday.

The previous story

Four of the eight groups have played their first games at press time and so far there has been one big surprise. In these parts, the big news is the US to rent Wales off the hook and settled for a 1-1 draw after appearing to be the better side for most of the game. England‘s 6-2 growing from Iran was just surprised at how very good England looked and how shocked Iran looked. Perhaps the political situation in Iran had something to do with it; The team all declined to sing the national anthem, which came across as pointed and probably noticed at home. Qatarthe reigning Asian champions, was also eliminated in a 2-0 defeat Ecuador this could have been a lot worse. Plus a good number of their fans went at halftime. Holland2-0 win Senegal was another matter and could have gone either way until two late goals sealed it.

Then came Tuesday when in game one what BetMGM calls the greatest World Cup disruption in history was deemed unloved Saudi Arabia was shocked from behind Argentinawho went unbeaten in a 36-game streak and had a lot of expectations Leo Messi‘s fifth and almost certainly last world championship. The Blanco-Celeste are still fine but they may need wins against Mexico and Poland to progress. These two also played goalless Denmark and Tunisia in group D, with France shrugging an early Australian goal to cruise, 4-1, in style befitting a defending champion.

What’s next

For the remainder of the group stage we see four games per day, with Groups E and F playing on Wednesday, G and H starting on Thanksgiving and then starting everyone’s second games this Friday. Here is the day view.

Wednesday: On paper it looks like an easy day for the favorites – in this case the four European teams, all of whom are very good. But watch out for Japan, a dark horse in a very strong group. I’ll be cheering for our neighbors Canada and Costa Rica but it could be a tough day for them against Spain and Belgium respectively.

Thursday: We take a first look at Brazil, the overall favorites, and the mystery of Group H, where anything can happen. Ghana have ruined the US at several World Cups; You could do the same to Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal.

Friday: The plot thickens as the teams start playing their second games. The US will try to slow down a powerful British attack and avoid becoming a Black Friday joke. Fun fact: England have never beaten the USA in a World Cup. Based on the results of the first game, goal difference can be decisive in this group; If Wales can score against Iran, they will force the USA to do the same in the final. Over in Group A we will see if Ecuador is real and if Qatar will be the first team eliminated from the tournament.

Saturday: Argentina-Mexico was always supposed to be a fun game, but now it’s almost a must for Argentina. It would be sad for Messi to go out so early; Check out the NPR podcast about him, The last cup. Saudi Arabia-Poland is also taking on a different flavor now that the underdogs have taken the first bite. Denmark has already beaten France twice this year; Now they will try to make three peat on the big stage.

Sunday: Circle Spain-Germany as likely the first round marquee matchup. Tough encounters again for our continental colleagues, in games they probably have to win.

Monday: Here, too, the group favorites meet in two games and the outsiders in the others.

Tuesday Friday: Starting Tuesday, each group ends with all four teams playing at the same time. The US probably goes into this game needing a win, and maybe a big win. And watch out; this may be just what Iran needs to wake them up.

The remaining schedule

Note: All times CST. all games on Fox or FS1.


Wednesday 23 Nov

4am: Morocco vs. Croatia (F)

7 a.m.: Germany vs. Japan (E)

10am: Spain-Costa Rica (E)

1pm: Belgium-Canada (B)

Thursday 24th Nov

4 a.m.: Switzerland – Cameroon (G)

7am: Uruguay vs South Korea (H)

10am: Portugal-Ghana (H)

1 p.m.: Brazil vs. Serbia (D)

Friday 25th Nov

4am: Wales vs. Iran (B)

7am: Qatar vs Senegal (A)

10am: Netherlands v Ecuador (A)

13 o’clock: England vs USA (b)

Saturday 26 Nov

4am: Australia vs. Tunisia (D)

7am: Poland vs Saudi Arabia (C)

10 a.m.: France vs. Denmark (D)

1pm: Argentina vs Mexico (C)

Sunday 27 Nov

4am: Japan vs. Costa Rica (E)

7am: Belgium vs Morocco (F)

10 a.m.: Croatia vs. Canada (F)

1 p.m.: Spain vs. Germany (E)

Monday 28 Nov

4am: Cameroon vs Serbia (G)

7am: South Korea vs Ghana (H)

10 a.m.: Brazil vs. Switzerland (D)

1pm: Portugal-Uruguay (H)

Tuesday 29th Nov

09:00 Netherlands-Qatar (A)

9am: Ecuador vs Senegal (A)

1pm: Wales v England (B)

13 o’clock: Iran vs USA (b)

Wednesday 30 Nov

09:00: Tunisia vs. France (D)

9:00 a.m.: Australia vs. Denmark (D)

1pm: Poland vs Argentina (C)

1pm: Saudi Arabia-Mexico (C)

Thursday December 1st

09:00 Croatia vs Belgium (F)

09:00 Canada vs Morocco (W)

1pm: Japan vs Spain (E)

1 p.m.: Costa Rica vs. Germany (E)

Friday December 2nd

09:00: South Korea v Portugal (H)

09:00: Ghana vs Uruguay (H)

1pm: Cameroon-Brazil (G)

1 p.m.: Serbia vs. Switzerland (D)

round of 16

Saturday December 3rd

9 o’clock: 1A vs 2B

1pm: 1C vs 2D

Sunday December 4th

9am: 1D vs 2C

1pm: 1B vs 2A

Monday, December 5th

9 p.m.: 1E vs. 2F

1pm: 1G vs 2H

Tuesday December 6th

9 p.m.: 1F vs 2E

1pm: 1H vs 2G

quarter finals

Fri 9 Dec

9:00 a.m.: 1E/2F vs. 1G/2H

1 p.m.: 1A/2B vs. 1C/2D

Sat 10 Dec

9:00 a.m.: 1F/2E vs. 1H/2G

1 p.m.: 1B/2A vs. 1D/2C

semifinals

Tue, Dec 13

1 p.m.: Friday winners

Wed, Dec 14

1:00 p.m.: Saturday winners

final

Sat, Dec 17, 9 a.m.: third place

Sun., 18.12., 09:00 a.m.: final



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