2018 WC: Denmark, France, Australia, Peru; 2022 WC: Denmark, France, Australia/Peru … WTF, FIFA!!
Denmark were yesterday evening handed an extremely familiar-looking World Cup group.
In 2018, they were drawn against France, Australia and Peru, and those exact three teams came out of the hat again for 2022.
The only difference is that Australia and Peru, along with the UAE, are in contention for just one place. The winners of the Asian play-off will play the fifth-placed side in South America in a winner-takes-all game.
The remaining team in the group is Tunisia, the second-highest ranked side in Africa.
Good omen for France
The draw is an excellent omen for France. On the two previous occasions Les Bleus have lifted the trophy, in 1998 and 2018, they faced Denmark in the group stage.
However, Denmark have proved to be something of a bogey side for the French over the years as well.
They knocked them out of Euro 1992 and in 2002 they hammered the final nail into the coffin of what was France’s first title defence.
However, this time they play the French second. First up is Tunisia on November 22, then the French on November 26 and finally the winners of the playoff on November 30.
Ideal timing for French game
Not much has been made of Qatar’s geographical location besides it being far too hot to host a traditional World Cup in the summer.
But the kickoff times of the tournament are clearly confusing the world’s media, with many websites holding off from publishing the exact kickoff times – whose idea was it to hold the draw on Friday evening when most journalists are on the lash?
Qatar is currently just one hour ahead of Denmark, but by the time the World Cup comes along, it will be two hours ahead.
Denmark will accordingly face Tunisia at 14:00 CET, France at 17:00 and the final game at 16:00. The Saturday 17:00 kickoff time is definitely the one to look forward to!
As the tournament progresses, all the knockout games will kick off at either 16:00 or 20:00.
Grudge matches aplenty
Denmark’s group is not the only one with a familiar line-up from 2018, as Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia have been drawn together.
For those two European teams, it will be a repeat of their famous grudge match, when two ethnically Albanian players mimicked that country’s national flag in their celebrations.
Perhaps even more fierce will be Ghana vs Uruguay, a repeat of the 2010 World Cup quarter-final in which Luis Suarez deliberately handballed to prevent a Ghana winner in extra time. Intriguingly, Suarez will be the only survivor from that game.
Elsewhere, the USA have been paired with old adversaries Iran and England, while Germany vs Spain looks like being the pick of the group fixtures. In this tournament, there is no obvious Group of Death.