Football’s biggest global event returns this week as the 2022 FIFA World Cup gets underway in Qatar.
Ahead of the tournament we’ve previewed each of the competing sides, here are the nations in Group G – Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon.
- FIFA Ranking: 1
- Previous best: Winners (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)
- Manager: Tite
- Key player: Neymar
- Odds to be crowned champions: 7/2
Brazil are always regarded among the contenders for the World Cup, but arrive in Qatar with a justified tag as favourites. Qualification proved a breeze despite South America’s notoriously difficult route, as Tite’s side went unbeaten in 17 games, scoring 40 times and conceding just five goals.
Their squad is talented and balanced, with perhaps full-back the only area of concern. There is enough talent elsewhere to compensate however, with a spine of Alisson, Marquinhos, Casemiro and Neymar as strong as any competing in Qatar.
Brazil's attack at the World Cup is DIFFERENT 🤩🇧🇷 pic.twitter.com/9lnmhIt942
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 15, 2022
It’s been two decades since Brazil were last crowned champions, but confidence is high this winter. Neymar continues to score prolifically for the national side and could eclipse Pele’s all-time goal record at the tournament, but there is less reliance on the Paris Saint-Germain superstar than past tournaments. Vinicius Junior has blossomed into a game-changing talent at Real Madrid, while Brazil’s supporting cast of attacking talent includes Raphinha, Gabriel Jesus, Richarlison and Antony.
South American sides have traditionally excelled at tournaments staged outside of Europe and the stage is set for a sixth World Cup success in the Middle East.
- FIFA Ranking: 21
- Previous best: Group Stage (2010, 2018)
- Manager: Dragan Stojković
- Key player: Dusan Tadic
- Odds to be crowned champions: 80/1
Serbia have been viewed as dark horse to upset the odds in Qatar, following a qualification phase that saw Dragan Stojković’s side top a group containing Portugal in unbeaten fashion.
Serbia have failed to progress from the group stage since becoming an independent nation, but have an abundance of attacking talent and bold front-footed philosophy to end that run this time around.
Aleksandar Mitrovic has been a prolific presence for club and country, shedding an unfair tag as a second-tier bully in English football with a blistering start to the Premier League campaign at Fulham. His nation’s record goalscorer, he scored his 50th goal for Serbia in September, taking just 76 caps to reach that total.
🥵 Aleksander Mitrovic scored his 50th international goal for Serbia last night on his 76th cap, reaching the milestone quicker than Cristiano Ronaldo and Leo Messi pic.twitter.com/8fDmyG6H8q
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) September 28, 2022
He is joined at centre-forward by Dusan Vlahovic, in a combination of power and potency. With the brilliant Dusan Tadic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic carving out the chances, Serbia have enough talent to trouble even the best sides in Qatar.
- FIFA Ranking: 15
- Previous best: Quarter-finals (1934, 1938, 1954)
- Manager: Murat Yakin
- Key player: Granit Xhaka
- Odds to be crowned champions: 100/1
Switzerland have made progress in recent tournaments and achieved their best ever finish at the European Championship in 2020. Their run to the last eight included eliminating world champions France, with Yann Sommer saving from Kylian Mbappe as the Swiss progressed on penalties.
It was the fourth consecutive major tournament that Switzerland have reached the knockout rounds, with the nation now regulars on this stage. Having reached just one World Cup between 1970 and 2006, the Swiss have now qualified for five in succession.
2010 (FC Basel)
2018 (Stoke City)
2022 (Chicago Fire)
Xherdan Shaqiri is going to his fourth World Cup after being selected by Switzerland—each time he has played for a different club 🇨🇭 pic.twitter.com/krm0yfncTh
— B/R Football (@brfootball) November 9, 2022
Qualification for Qatar was assured after topping a group containing European champions Italy, holding the Azzurri to draws in both meetings.
Murat Yakin’s side contains a blend of experience with Granit Xhaka set to captain the side. The midfielder is enjoying the best spell of his career this season having been a key part of Arsenal’s strong start to the campaign. He has flourished in a more advanced role, with the Gunners top of the Premier League table.
- FIFA Ranking: 43
- Previous best: Quarter-finals (1990)
- Manager: Rigobert Song
- Key player: Vincent Aboubakar
- Odds to be crowned champions: 250/1
Cameroon arrive at the tournament with no plans to just make up the numbers, the rallying cry from back home – championed by Samuel Eto’o – is that The Indomitable Lions can be crowned champions on Qatar.
That seems unlikely, but Cameroon will head to the World Cup with bold ambitions. The first African team to reach the last eight in 1990, no side from the continent has ever gone further and hopes are high that Rigobert’s Song side can upset the odds and do so.
Samuel Eto'o gives his prediction for the World Cup final 🔮 pic.twitter.com/qe11EVqlOr
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) November 9, 2022
Cameroon are stronger than the side that reached the semi-finals of the AFCON earlier this year, with Nicolas Nkoulou back from an international exile and Brentford forward Bryan Mbuemo having declared his international allegiance to the side. At club level, André-Frank Zambo Anguissa has been in sensational form for a Napoli side who lead Serie A and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting has been on a brilliant goalscoring run at Bayern Munich.
Vincent Aboubakar will captain the side and is set to lead the line, having finished as the leading scorer at the AFCON. He scored eight goals to win the Golden Boot and now trails only Samuel Eto’o (56) and Roger Milla (43) for Cameroon goals (33).