On Sunday 20th October 2022, the first game in the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar will take place as the hosts take on Ecuador at 4pm GMT.

Over the next four Mondays, we are going to bring you our specific preview of the tournament, looking at a different facet of the tournament in each of the four weeks, as well as bringing you a full preview of the Group Stages, featuring two groups in each of the four articles.

Here is the schedule of articles ahead:

  • Part One – 24th October – Groups A & B Previewed, History Of The World Cup
  • Part Two – 31st October – Groups C & D Previewed, World Cup 2022 Infrastructure
  • Part Three – 7th November – Groups E & F, Who Will Be Playing/Absent in 2022?
  • Part Four – 14th November – Groups G & H, Who Are The Teams To Back In 2022?

As is always the case, any odds shown will be courtesy of bet366 Sport and will of course be correct at the time of writing but could change at any point in the run up to the start of the World Cup Finals and during the Finals too.

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Let’s now get started with a history of this most famous and coveted of international soccer competitions before we move on to take a look at the first two groups for Qatar 2022.

FIFA World Cup – History

With the success of the Olympic Football tournaments, FIFA president Jules Rimet drove through plans for an international football competition and with Uruguay the official Olympic Champions, they were chosen as hosts of the inaugural World Cup.

The first tournament featured just 13 teams and international travel proved prohibitive in these formative years.

After World War II, the competition reformed and expanded as travel across the world became easier due to improved air travel. Since then, the tournament has grown in stature to now become the pinnacle of international football and the biggest sporting event in the world, eclipsing even the Olympic Games.

Contested every four years, a total of 79 teams have reached one or more of the World Cup Finals, with just eight teams winning the tournament in its 92 year history.

A List of FIFA World Cup Finals

DateWinnerScoreRunner UpVenue
1930Uruguay4-2ArgentinaUruguay
1934Italy2-1CzechoslovakiaItaly
1938Italy4-2HungaryFrance
1950Uruguay2-1BrazilBrazil
1954West Germany3-2HungarySwitzerland
1958Brazil5-2SwedenSweden
1962Brazil3-1CzechoslovakiaChile
1966England4-2 (aet)West GermanyEngland
1970Brazil4-1ItalyMexico
1974West Germany2-1NetherlandsGermany
1978Argentina3-1 (aet)NetherlandsArgentina
1982Italy3-1West GermanySpain
1986Argentina2-1West GermanyMexico
1990West Germany1-0ArgentinaItaly
1994Brazil0-0 (aet) Brazil win 3-2 on penaltiesItalyUnited States
1998France3-1BrazilFrance
2002Brazil2-0GermanySouth Korea & Japan
2006Italy1-1 (aet) Italy win 5-3 on penaltiesFranceGermany
2010Spain1-0 (aet)NetherlandsSouth Africa
2014Germany1-0 (aet)ArgentinaBrazil
2018France4-2CroatiaRussia
2022???Qatar

Best Performing Countries At The FIFA World Cup

Shown below are the performances of all teams to have reached the World Cup Final at least once from 1930 right through to 2018.

  1. Brazil – 5x wins (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002), 2x Runners Up (1950, 1998)
  2. (West) Germany – 4x wins (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014), 4x Runners Up (1966, 1982, 1986, 2002)
  3. Italy – 4x wins (1934, 1938, 1982, 2006), 2x Runners Up (1970, 1994)
  4. Argentina – 2x wins (1978, 1986), 3x Runners Up (1930, 1990, 2014)
  5. France – 2x wins (1998, 2018), 1x Runner Up (2006)
  6. Uruguay – 2x wins (1930, 1950)
  7. England – 1x win (1966), Spain – 1x win (2010)
  8. Netherlands – 3x Runners Up (1974, 1978, 2010)
  9. Hungary – 2x Runners Up (1938, 1954), Czechoslovakia – 2x Runners Up (1934, 1962)
  10. Sweden – 1x Runner Up (1958), Croatia – 1x Runner Up (2018)

FIFA World Cup Finals – Leading Goalscorers, Best Youngster, Player Of The Tournament

DatePlayer Name(s)Team(s)Goals ScoredBest YoungsterPlayer Of The Tournament
1930Guillermo StabileArgentina8N/AN/A
1934Oldrich NejedlyCzechoslovakia5N/AN/A
1938LeonidasBrazil7N/AN/A
1950AdemirBrazil9N/AN/A
1954Sandor KocsisHungary11N/AN/A
1958Just FontaineFrance13Pele (Brazil)N/A
1962Garrincha, Vava, Leonel Sanchez, Florian Albert, Valentin Ivanov, Drazan JerkovicBrazil, Brazil, Chile, Hungary, Russia, Yugoslavia4 eachFlorian Albert (Hungary)N/A
1966EusebioPortugal9Franz Beckenbauer (West Germany)N/A
1970Gerd MullerWest Germany10Teofillo Cubillas (Peru)N/A
1974Grzegorz LatoPoland7Wladyslaw Zmuda (Poland)N/A
1978Mario KempesArgentina6Antonio Cabrini (Italy)N/A
1982Paolo RossiItaly6Manuel Amoros (France)Paolo Rossi (Italy)
1986Gary LinekerEngland6Enzo Scifo (Belgium)Diego Maradona (Argentina)
1990Salvatore SchillachiItaly6Robert Prosinecki (Croatia)Salvatore Schillachi (Italy)
1994Hristo Stoichkov, Oleg SalenkoBulgaria, Russia6 eachMarc Overmars (Holland)Romario (Brazil)
1998Davor SukerCroatia6Michael Owen (England)Ronaldo (Brazil)
2002RonaldoBrazil8Landon Donovan (USA)Oliver Kahn (Germany)
2006Miroslav KloseGermany5Lukas Podolski (Germany)Zinedine Zidane (France)
2010Diego Forlan, Thomas Muller, Wesley Sneijder, David VillaUruguay, Germany, Netherlands, Spain5 eachThomas Muller (Germany)Diego Forlan (Uruguay)
2014James RodriguezColombia6Paul Pogba (France)Lionel Messi (Argentina)
2018Harry KaneEngland6Kylian Mbappe (France)Luka Modric (Croatia)

FIFA World Cup Factfile

  • The Highest Scoring World Cup Finals game came in the 1954 World Cup when Austria defeated neighbours Switzerland 7-5.
  • The biggest win in a World Cup Finals tournament came in the 1982 Finals in Spain when Hungary defeated El Salvador 10-1.
  • Only Brazil have appeared in every World Cup Finals since the first in 1930.
  • Lothar Matthaus of Germany appeared in the most World Cup Finals matches appearing in 25 from 1982 through to the 1998 World Cup Finals in France.
  • Miroslav Klose of Germany has scored the most goals by a single player across multiple World Cup Finals, scoring 16 goals in 24 appearances for Germany from 2002 to 2014.
  • Geoff Hurst of England remains the only player to have scored a hat-trick in a World Cup Final, doing so against West Germany in 1966.
  • Although 1250 players have scored a goal at a World Cup Finals, only 97 players have scored five or more goals in World Cup Finals tournaments since the first World Cup Finals in 1930.

That’s a neat statistical breakdown of the history of the World Cup, so let’s now move on to the 2022 World Cup Finals in Qatar and start with a look at the first two of eight groups in the first round of the tournament.

Qatar 2022 World Cup Finals – Group Preview

Group A

  • Qatar (Hosts)
  • Ecuador
  • Senegal
  • Netherlands

Group A Fixtures

20th Nov – Qatar v Ecuador – Al Bayt

21st Nov – Senegal v Netherlands – Al Thumama

25th Nov – Qatar v Senegal – Al Thumama

25th Nov – Netherlands v Ecuador – Khalifa International

29th Nov – Ecuador v Senegal – Khalifa International

29th Nov – Netherlands v Qatar – Al Bayt

Predicted Results

  • 20th Nov – Qatar v Ecuador – Al Bayt – Draw
  • 21st Nov – Senegal v Netherlands – Al Thumama – Netherlands Win
  • 25th Nov – Qatar v Senegal – Al Thumama – Senegal Win
  • 25th Nov – Netherlands v Ecuador – Khalifa International – Netherlands Win
  • 29th Nov – Ecuador v Senegal – Khalifa International – Draw
  • 29th Nov – Netherlands v Qatar – Al Bayt – Netherlands Win

Final Standings Prediction

Group A – 1st Netherlands, 2nd Senegal, 3rd Ecuador, 4th Qatar

Players To Watch

Qatar – Mohammed Muntari (Att), Abdelkarim Hassan (Def), Almoez Ali (Att)

Ecuador – Enner Valencia (Att), Moses Caicedo (Mid), Pervis Estupinan (Def)

Senegal – Kalidou Koulibaly (Def), Sadio Mane (Att), Ismaila Sarr (Att)

Netherlands – Virgil van Dijk (Def), Memphis Depay (Att), Frenkie de Jong (Mid)

Group B

  • England
  • Iran
  • United States
  • Wales

Group B Fixtures

21st Nov – England v Iran – Khalifa International

21st Nov – United States v Wales – Ahmad Bin Ali

25th Nov – Wales v Iran – Ahmad Bin Ali

25th Nov – England v United States – Al Bayt

29th Nov – Wales v England – Ahmad Bin Ali

29th Nov – Iran v United States – Al Thumama

Predicted Results

  • 21st Nov – England v Iran – Khalifa International – England Win
  • 21st Nov – United States v Wales – Ahmad Bin Ali – Draw
  • 25th Nov – Wales v Iran – Ahmad Bin Ali – Wales Win
  • 25th Nov – England v United States – Al Bayt – England Win
  • 29th Nov – Wales v England – Ahmad Bin Ali – Draw
  • 29th Nov – Iran v United States – Al Thumama – Draw

Final Standings Prediction

Group B – 1st England, 2nd Wales, 3rd United States, 4th Iran

Players To Watch

England – Phil Foden (Mid), Harry Kane (Att), Jude Bellingham (Mid)

Wales – Gareth Bale (Att), Aaron Ramsey (Mid), Daniel James (Att)

United States – Christian Pulisic (Att), Ricardo Pepi (Att), Brenden Aaronson (Mid)

Iran – Sardar Azmoun (Att), Mehdi Taremi (Att), Saman Ghoddos (Mid)