Qatar – Ecuador: the opening of the festivities (November 20, 5 p.m.)
The poster may not be the most attractive on paper, a World Cup opening match remains unmissable. For his pre-match show first, which should be provided by Jungkook, from the South Korean group BTS. Then for the atmosphere in the stadium, which could be a good indicator of local enthusiasm for the competition. And finally, it will be above all the opportunity to see the players of Qatar at work against opponents of an international caliber, they who remain on four victories in a row against minor nations (Albania, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala ).
France – Denmark: the shock for the Blues (November 26, 5 p.m.)
Lucas Hernandez and the France team can expect a first match ” complicated “ against Australia (November 22, 8 p.m.), the clash of Group D remains the match between them and Denmark. Semi-finalists of the last Euro, Christian Eriksen’s teammates easily disposed of the Blues in the League of Nations (2-1, 2-0) and are strong contenders for the head of the group. In 2018, the two teams had already met in the group stage, this time on the last day. Both already qualified, they had played with the brake, giving birth to the only 0-0 of the competition.
Christian Eriksen and his family have defeated the Blues twice in the League of Nations. (F. Faugère/The Team)
Spain – Germany: duel of champions (November 27, 8 p.m.)
This is the big poster of the first round, the only one between two former world champions. On the one hand, Germany and its four stars (1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014), eliminated in the group stage in 2018 after a defeat against South Korea which shook the selection. On the other, Spain, winner in 2010, semi-finalist of the last Euro and eliminated against Russia in 8th in 2018 in a match which it dominated beyond measure. The two nations have a lot to be forgiven for and will absolutely want to finish first in their group to avoid Belgium from the 8th, which appears to be the favorite of group F.
The cumulative number of World Cups won by Germany and Spain.
Portugal – Uruguay: the revenge of 2018 (November 28, 8 p.m.)
Portugal finds its executioner of 2018 from the group stages. Eliminated by Uruguay and a double from Edinson Cavani in the round of 16 in Russia (2-1), Cristiano Ronaldo’s teammates will have a taste of revenge against an aging Celeste. Contenders to the final title with a very dense workforce in all positions, the Portuguese would have every interest in winning and finishing at the top of group H. The second will indeed face the first of group G, a place to which Brazil seems promised is a favorite and appears to be the scarecrow to avoid in 8th.
Cavani opened the scoring against Portugal in 2018. (F. Faugère / L’Équipe)
“It’s just a World Cup game. »
Iran – USA: diplomacy invites itself to Qatar (November 29, 8 p.m.)
Between Iran and the United States, the rivalry goes beyond sports. Since 1980, diplomatic relations between the two countries have been broken and an embargo is still in force against Tehran. Sport remains one of the only fields where the dialogue is not broken. In 1998, the two nations had already faced each other in Lyon. The Iranians had won (2-1) but it was above all the pre-match that went down in history, since they had offered the Americans white flowers. An episode that Gregg Berhalter, the current coach of the USA, put into perspective. ” It’s from the pasthe tempered after the draw. The flowers were a nice gesture but everyone moved on. It’s just a World Cup match. »
Iranian players offer white flowers to Americans. (FEVRE/The Team)
England – Wales: 100% British opposition (November 29, 8 p.m.)
For its second participation in the World Cup, the first for 70 years, Wales will face its English neighbor. In 8 games, the Welsh have never won against their rival and are not starting favorites in Qatar either. But the rivalry could transcend Gareth Bale’s teammates, who argued the Welsh are “ prouder to wear the jersey than the English”. While 9 of the 26 Welshmen selected were born in England, the contrast between Wales, historically poorer, which denounces a superiority complex among the English, should be felt in the stands. The two nations are indeed among those who have sent the most supporters to Qatar.
Croatia – Belgium: the unfortunate podium of 2018 (December 1, 4 p.m.)
The vice-world champion against the third of the last edition. The poster has something to dream about and the fate of group F could be played out on the last day. In a raised hen (Morocco and Canada), the two cadors of European football will not have the right to misstep under penalty of gambling their survival in a “final”. Eliminated by France in 2018, the two nations are entering a period of transition. Their golden generations are probably playing their last major competition and, by extension, their last card to snag a world title. This clash will therefore look like the last dance for two contenders for the final title.
Uruguay – Ghana: memories of 2010 (December 2, 4 p.m.)
It was one of the defining images of the South African World Cup. At the end of extra time, Luis Suarez fended off a header from Dominic Adiyiah on his line and deprived Ghana of a semi-final, the first for an African team. Sent off, in tears, the striker saw Asamoah Gyan’s penalty hit the crossbar and his team qualify on penalties (1-1, 4-2 on pens). A memory that, 12 years later, still haunts Ghanaians. “No African player would have done that”Plague John Pantsil, player of the time. “It’s very hard to forgetcontinues the captain and former Rennes player John Mensah. Every time I see the images, it’s very painful. »
Luis Suarez has just stopped Dominic Adiyiah’s head with his hand. (S. Mantey/The Team)