Group G of the men’s football World Cup 2022 sees a usual favourite in the competition surrounded by three nations with the ability to surprise, of which two of them will be very familiar from four years ago.
Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia reunite in the group stages, this time joined by the returning Cameroon.
The most successful national team in World Cup history, Brazil enter the tournament as one of the favourites and the clear top seed in Group G.
Amends for a quarter-final shock loss to Belgium in Russia 2018 will provide strong motivation for the “Seleção” to do better.
The qualifying campaign through a tough South American competition saw the Brazilians sail through unbeaten, winning 14 of their 17 games with a goal difference of +35.
Head coach Tite boasts one of the most frightening attacks in the world, with the likes of Neymar Jr., while their aging defensive core still relies on the leadership of captain Thiago Silva.
Behind the outfield, they can trust the pair of Alisson and Ederson in goal.
Star Player: PSG superstar Neymar Jr. has been the ace of the “Canarinho” since his debut in 2010 and can make history by passing Pele’s tally of national team goals (77 v 75).
His last World Cup performance in Russia failed to showcase his ability, but with a current run of sparkling form at club level, Neymar looks set to star at the biggest stage once more.
Serbia arrive in Group G, seeking redemption for Russia 2018 after a last-minute loss to Switzerland at the same stage which dumped them out.
A fateful chance for Dragan Stojkovic’s men has matched them against the Swiss and Brazil, just as four years ago.
They made the tournament automatically after a dramatic group battle over Portugal in the qualifiers, decided by a last-minute Aleksandar Mitrovic winner on the final matchday in Lisbon.
A side filled with physical presences such as Mitrovic, Dusan Vlahovic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, they are one of the hardest teams to match up against and can cause problems far into the tournament.
Though concerns over the fitness of Vlahovic and Mitrovic can be a fatal factor, the potential is high here.
Star Player : In a side of strong attacking presence, the deciding factor is captain Dusan Tadic, who serves as the main creative force. The Ajax playmaker has been a part of the side for a long time, yet still is capable of weaving magic with his left foot. The 34-year-old brings leadership, experience and creativity to a side growing in strength.
“La Nati” arrive to the World Cup with more eyes on them than before, on the back of some giant-killing performances.
After stunning reigning world champions France in the Euros, Switzerland clinched automatic qualification from the noses of reigning European champions Italy, dooming them to miss a second straight World Cup.
The core led by Granit Xhaka, Xherdan Shaqiri and Manuel Akanji has remained mostly the same from recent tournaments, though with Murat Yakin at the helm in place of Vladimir Petkovic.
The steady, well-organised style has remained through the change, with the addition of young talents like Noah Okafor and Fabian Rieder to bring freshness and spark to the side.
Star Player: In the midst of Switzerland’s quarter-final run in Euro 2020, Yann Sommer’s quality shot-stopping came to light. The Borussia Mönchengladbach keeper has starred when in a national jersey, but question marks remain over his fitness.
Back from missing the 2018 cup, Cameroon face a tough group with hopes of a better performance compared to their past.
While regularly qualifying since 1982, the “Indomitable Lions” have only made it past the groups once (quarter-finals in 1990) and recent performances have disappointed.
Cameroon qualified after a dramatic away goal victory against Algeria, yet struggled in games since against opposition they would expect to beat.
There are some quality names leading the way, with captain Vincent Aboubakar, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Brentford’s Bryan Mbuemo spearing the attack, while Andre Onana stands in goal.
All-time international cap leader Rigobert Song manages the team, in his second stint after a period in 2017-18.
Star Player – Franck Andre Anguissa
A key cog in Napoli’s exciting side, Franck Andre Anguissa takes his place at the heart of the Cameroonian midfield in the best form of his life. The ex-Fulham midfielder is a threat going forward and his combination of strength and technique is vital to Cameroon’s hopes of a run to the knock-outs.
Expected Group Outcome
Follow the Sports section of the SW Londoner for more coverage of the World Cup 2022.
Featured image credit: copa2014.gov.br via https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?search=brazil+world+cup&title=Special:MediaSearch&go=Go&type=image