World Cup 2022 guide: Teams, fixtures, squads, star players, coaches, TV times, odds

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(All kick-off times in GMT)

GROUP A

Qatar

Coach: Felix Sanchez

Star player: Almoez Ali (Al-Duhail)

World Cup best: Debut Qatar won the 2019 Asian Cup but face a major challenge to avoid becoming only the second host nation - after South Africa in 2010 - to be eliminated at the first hurdle. Their entire squad is based domestically and has been training together since June in preparation for a maiden appearance at this level.

Qatar squad: Gk: Al Sheeb, Barsham, Hassan; Def - Miguel, Khidir, Salman, Al Rawi, Khoukhi, Hassan, Al Amin, Gabir; Mid -  Ali Asad, Madibo, Waad, Al Hajri, Meshaal, Boudiaf, Hatim, Ismaeel Mohammad; For - Al Hadhrami, Alaa, Al Haydos, Muneer, Afif, Almoez Ali, Muntari

Fixtures: Qatar v Ecuador (Sun, Nov 20 - 1900) Qatar vs Senegal (Fri, Nov 25 - 1300), Qatar v Netherlands (Tues, Nov 29 - 1500)

Pre-tournament odds: 250/1

Ecuador

Coach: Gustavo Alfaro

Star player: Moises Caicedo (Brighton)

World Cup best: Second round 2006 Ecuador were South American Under-20 champions in 2019 and have a youthful side which is quick, strong and suited to counter-attacking tactics. Argentinian Alfaro, appointed in August 2020, steadied the ship following a turbulent period. While he has toughened up the team defensively, goals have dried up in recent warm-up fixtures.

Ecuador squad: Gk - Dominguez, Galindez, Moises Ramirez; Def - Estupinan, Preciado, Hincapie, Arreaga, Palacios, Porozo, Arboleda, Torres, Pacho; Mid - Caicedo, Cifuentes, Franco, Mendez, Gruezo, Plata, Mena, Preciado, Ibarra, Sarmiento; For - Valencia, Estrada, Reasco, Rodriguez

Fixtures: Qatar v Ecuador (Sun, Nov 20 - 1900) Ecuador vs Netherlands (Fri, Nov 25 - 1600), Ecuador v Senegal (Tues, Nov 29 - 1500) Pre-tournament odds: 150/1

Senegal

Coach: Aliou Cisse

Star player: Sadio Mane (Bayern Munich)

World Cup best: Quarter-finals 2002 In record scorer Mane, the African champions have genuine world-class quality, while Chelsea pair Edouard Mendy and Kalidou Koulibaly are also key performers. Cisse's side qualified by defeating Egypt on penalties, a repeat result of the Africa Cup of Nations final. They agonisingly missed out on a second-round spot in 2018 due to accumulating more yellow cards than Japan.

Senegal squad: GkDieng, Gomis, Eduoard Mendy; DefToure, Cisse, Diallo, Jakobs, Koulibaly, Formose Mendy, Sabaly; Mid - Ciss, Diatta, Gana Gueye, Pape Gueye, Kouyate, Loum, Nampalys Mendy, Name, Matar Sarr; For - Dia, Diedhiou, Dieng, Jackson, Mane, Ndiaye, Ismaila Sarr.

Fixtures: Senegal v Netherlands (Mon, Nov 21 - 1600) Qatar vs Senegal (Fri, Nov 25 - 1300), Ecuador vs Senegal (Tues, Nov 29 - 1500) Pre-tournament odds: 80/1

Netherlands

Coach: Louis Van Gaal

Star player: Virgil Van Dijk (Liverpool)

World Cup best: Runners up 1974, 1978, 2010 The Dutch are back after failing to qualify for Russia. Van Gaal, who led them to third place in 2014, came out of retirement for a third spell in charge but has had limited time to implement his methods. A lack of club action for star striker Memphis Depay is not ideal, while goalkeeper is a position of weakness.

Netherlands squad: Gk - Bijlow, Noppert, Pasveer; Def - Ake, Blind, van Dijk, Dumfries, Frimpong, de Ligt, Malacia, Timber, de Vrij; Mid - Berghuis, de Jong, Klaassen, Koopmeiners, de Roon, Simons, Taylor; For - Bergwijn, Depay, Gakpo, Janssen, de Jong, Lang, Weghorst.

Fixtures: Senegal v Netherlands (Mon, Nov 21 - 1600) Netherlands vs Ecuador (Fri, Nov 25 - 1600), Netherlands vs Qatar (Tues, Nov 29 - 1500) Pre-tournament odds: 10/1

GROUP B

England manager Gareth Southgate
England manager Gareth Southgate

England

Coach: Gareth Southgate Star player: Harry Kane (Tottenham) World Cup best: Winners 1966 Semi-finalists in 2018 and Euro 2020 runners-up, England should be full of confidence. But the road to the Middle East has been littered with setbacks: six games without a win, five without a goal and relegation in the Nations League. Southgate has come in for criticism but is unlikely to deviate from a handbrake-on approach or drop under-performing regulars. England squad: Gk - Pickford, Ramsdale, Pope; Def - Trippier, Alexander-Arnold, Walker, White, Maguire, Stones, Dier, Coady, Shaw; Mid - Rice, Bellingham, Phillips, Henderson, Gallagher, Mount; For - Kane, Wilson, Rashford, Sterling, Saka, Foden, Grealish, Maddison Fixtures: England v Iran (Mon, Nov 21 - 1600) England vs USA (Fri, Nov 25 - 1900), Wales vs England (Tues, Nov 29 - 1900) Pre-tournament odds: 17/2

Iran

Coach: Carlos Queiroz

Star player: Sardar Azmoun (Bayer Leverkusen)

World Cup best: First round 1978, 1998, 2006, 2014, 2018 Well-travelled former Manchester United assistant Queiroz was reappointed in September, having led Iran to the 2014 and 2018 tournaments. Each of those campaigns ended with group-stage elimination. Avoiding a hat-trick of early exits under Queiroz appears unlikely. Iran are rank outsiders with bookmakers and lack the star names of their group rivals.

Iran squad: Gk - Beiranvand, Hosseini, Niazmand, Abedzadeh; Def - Rezaeian, Jalali, Kananizadegan, Khalilzadeh, Pouraliganji, Hosseini, Sadegh Moharrami, Milad Mohammadi, Hajisafi; Mid - Ezatolahi, Nourollahi, Karimi, Cheshmi, Amiri, Mehdi Torabi, Jahanbakhsh, Gholizadeh, Ghoddos; For - Azmoun, Ansarifard, Taremi.

Fixtures: England v Iran (Mon, Nov 21 - 1600) Wales vs Iran (Fri, Nov 25 - 1000), Iran vs USA (Tues, Nov 29 - 1900) Pre-tournament odds: 500/1

United States

Coach: Gregg Berhalter Star player: Christian Pulisic (Chelsea) World Cup best: Third 1930 Berhalter is blessed with one of the most talented pools of players in US history. Many of his squad operate in Europe's top leagues and expectation back home is they will make it out of the group. The US have done so four times since 1990, including in 2010 - the last time they were drawn alongside England. USA squad: GK - Horvath, Johnson, Turner; Def - Carter-Vickers, Dest, Long, Moore, Ream, Robinson, Scally, Yedlin, Zimmerman; Mid - Aaronson, Acosta, Adams, de la Torre, McKennie, Musah, Roldan; For - Ferreira, Morris, Pulisic, Reyna, Sargent, Weah, Wright Fixtures: USA v Wales (Mon, Nov 21 - 1900) England vs USA (Fri, Nov 25 - 1900), Iran vs USA (Tues, Nov 29 - 1900) Pre-tournament odds: 100/1

Wales

Coach: Robert Page Star player: Gareth Bale (Los Angeles FC) World Cup best: Quarter-finals 1958 Wales ended a 64-year wait for a second World Cup outing by overcoming Ukraine in a play-off. No other nation has gone so long between appearances. The fitness of talismanic captain Bale is central to their hopes, while a satisfactory draw provides reason for optimism. Few other countries can match Page's squad for spirit and togetherness. Wales squad: Gk - Hennessey, Ward, Davies; Def - Davies, Cabango, Lockyer, Rodon, Mepham, Ampadu, Gunter, Williams, Roberts; Mid - Thomas, Allen, Smith, Levitt, Wilson, Morrell, Williams, Ramsey, Colwill; For - Bale, Moore, Harris, Johnson, James. Fixtures: USA v Wales (Mon, Nov 21 - 1900) Wales vs Iran (Fri, Nov 25 - 1000), Wales vs England (Tues, Nov 29 - 1900) Pre-tournament odds: 150/1

GROUP C

Argentina's Lionel Messi and teammates celebrate winning the Copa America
Argentina's Lionel Messi and teammates celebrate winning the Copa America

Argentina

Coach: Lionel Scaloni Star player: Lionel Messi (PSG) World Cup best: Winners 1978, 1986 Messi has won everything possible at club level and, with the 2021 Copa America, finally lifted international silverware. Now aged 35, Argentina's most-capped played and record scorer has one last shot at football's ultimate prize. He is surrounded by an industrious and gifted team. Argentina are 35 games undefeated and confidence is sky high.

Argentina squad: Gk - Armani, Martinez, Rulli; Def - Acuna, Foyth, Martinez, Molina, Montiel, Otamendi, Pezzella, Romero, Tagliafico; Mid - De Paul, Fernandez, Gomez, Mac Allister, Palacios, Paredes, Rodriquez; ForAlvarez, Correa, Dybala, Di Maria, Gonzalez, Martinez, Messi.

Fixtures: Argentina vs Saudi Arabia (Tues, Nov 22 - 1000), Argentina vs Mexico (Sun, Nov 26 - 1900), Poland vs Argentina (Wed, Nov 30 - 1900)

Pre-tournament odds: 11/2

Saudi Arabia

Coach: Herve Renard

Star player: Salem Al-Dawsari (Al-Hilal)

World Cup best: Second round 1994 The Green Falcons cruised through qualifying but make the short trip to Qatar as one of the major underdogs. They picked up their first tournament win since 1994 by defeating Egypt in their final group game in Russia and have greater fight, discipline and belief since the appointment of Frenchman Renard.

Saudi Arabia squad: Gk - Al-Owais, Al-Aqidi, Al-Yami; Def - Al-Shahrani, Al-Bulaihi, Al-Amri, Madu, Tambakti, Al-Ghanam, Al-Breik, Abdulhamid; Mid - Al-Faraj, Sharahili, Al-Hassan, Kanno, Al-Malki, Al-Najei, Otayf, Al-Dawsari, Al-Aboud, Al-Dawsari, Bahebri; For - Al-Abed, Asiri, Al-Shehri, Al-Buraikan

Fixtures: Argentina vs Saudi Arabia (Tues, Nov 22 - 1000), Poland vs Saudi Arabia (Sat, Nov 26 - 1300), Saudi Arabia vs Mexico (Wed, Nov 30 - 1900) Pre-tournament odds: 750/1

Mexico

Coach: Gerardo Martino

Star player: Edson Alvarez (Ajax)

World Cup best: Quarter-finals 1970, 1986 Mexico hold a remarkably consistent World Cup record, having suffered last-16 exits at the last seven tournaments. Emulating that modest achievement may prove tricky. Many Mexican fans - dismayed by three successive defeats to rivals the USA in 2021 - feel pessimism towards Martino's ageing side, the core of which remains from past World Cup campaigns.

Mexico squad: Gk - Ochoa, Talavera, Cota; Def - Sanchez, Kevin Alvarez, Araujo, Vasquez, Moreno, Montes, Arteaga, Gallardo; Mid - Guardado; Herrera, Rodriguez, Gutierrez, Chavez, Edson Alvarez, Pineda, Romo; For - Vega, Lozano, Jimenez, Alvarado, Antuna, Martin, Mori

Fixtures: Mexico vs Poland (Tues, Nov 22 - 1600), Argentina vs Mexico (Sat, Nov 26 - 1900), Saudi Arabia vs Mexico (Wed, Nov 30 - 1900) Pre-tournament odds: 100/1

Poland

Coach: Czeslaw Michniewicz Star player: Robert Lewandowski (Barcelona) World Cup best: Third place 1974, 1982 Striker Lewandowski has settled in seamlessly at Barcelona following his switch from Bayern Munich and will be critical to Polish hopes at what will almost certainly be his final World Cup. Michniewicz secured qualification in just his second match following the shock resignation of Paulo Sousa. Poland's last knockout match was in 1986.

Poland squad: Gk - Dragowski, Skorupski, Szczesny; Def - Bednarek, Bereszynski, Cash, Glik, Gumny, Jedrzejczyk, Kiwior, Wieteska, Zalewski; Mid - Bielik, Frankowski, Grosicki, Kaminski, Krychowiak, Skoras, Damian Szymanski, Sebastian Szymanski, Zielinski, Zurkowski; For - Lewandowski, Milik, Piatek, Swiderski.

Fixtures: Mexico vs Poland (Tues, Nov 22 - 1600), Poland vs Saudi Arabia (Sat, Nov 26 - 1300), Poland vs Argentina (Wed, Nov 30 - 1900) Pre-tournament odds: 100/1

GROUP D

Kylian Mbappe France World Cup Jul18
Kylian Mbappe France World Cup Jul18

France

Coach: Didier Deschamps Star player: Kylian Mbappe (PSG) World Cup best: Winners 1998, 2018 Les Bleus are bidding to become only the third nation - after Italy and Brazil - to retain the trophy. Deschamps has a squad packed with talent, including Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Karim Benzema, and enviable strength in depth. Key midfielders Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante are out injured but the defending champions are among the favourites. France squad: Gk - Areola, Lloris, Mandanda; Def - Hernardez, Hernandez, Kimpembe, Konate, Kounde, Pavard, Saliba, Upamencano, Varane; Mid - Camavinga, Fofana, Guendouzi, Rabiot, Tchouameni, Veretout; For - Benzema, Coman, Dembele, Giroud, Griezmann, Mbappe, Nkunku. Fixtures: France vs Australia (Tues, Nov 22 - 1900) France vs Denmark (Sat, Nov 26 - 1600), Tunisia vs France (Wed, Nov 30 - 1500) Pre-tournament odds: 13/2

Australia

Coach: Graham Arnold

Star player: Mathew Ryan (FC Copenhagen)

World Cup best: Second round 2006 Expectations for the Socceroos are low following an underwhelming qualifying campaign, which ended with a surprise penalty shoot-out success over Peru. The golden generation of Tim Cahill, Mark Viduka and Harry Kewell is a distant memory, with few of the current crop playing in major leagues. A herculean effort is required to make it out of a tough group.

Australia squad: GK: Ryan, Redmayne, Vukovic - Def: Behich, Degenek, Deng, King, Atkinson, Karacic, Souttar, Rowles, Goodwin - Mid:  Mooy, Irvine, Hrustic, Wright, Devlin, McGree, Baccus - For: Mabil, Leckie, Boyle, Maclaren, Cummings, Duke, Kuol

Fixtures: France vs Australia (Tues, Nov 22 - 1900) Tunisia vs Australia (Sat, Nov 26 - 1000), Australia vs Denmark (Wed, Nov 30 - 1500) Pre-tournament odds: 400/1

Denmark

Coach: Kasper Hjulmand Star player: Christian Eriksen (Manchester United) World Cup best: Quarter-finals 1998 Denmark won nine of 10 games in qualifying, scoring 30 goals and conceding just three. Eriksen's return following his cardiac arrest at Euro 2020, where the Danes reached the last four, is both miraculous and a major boost. The 1992 European champions have a strong team ethic and will hope their influential playmaker can provide the spark.

Denmark squad: Gk - Schmeichel, Oliver Christensen, Ronnow; Def - Kjaer, Andersen, Maehle, Andreas Christensen, Kristensen, Larsen, Nelsson, Wass, Bah; Mid - Delaney, Jensen, Eriksen, Hojbjerg, Skov, Norgaard; ForOlsen, Lindstrom, Cornelius, Braithwaite, Dolberg, Damsgaard, Wind, Poulsen.

Fixtures: Denmark vs Tunisia (Tues, Nov 22 - 1300), France vs Denmark (Sat, Nov 26 - 1600), Australia vs Denmark (Wed, Nov 30 - 1500) Pre-tournament odds: 30/1

Tunisia

Coach: Jalel Kadri

Star player: Wahbi Khazri (Montpellier)

World Cup best: First round 1978, 1998, 2002, 2006, 2018 Tunisia qualified by defeating Mali in a play-off. Coach Kadri has only been in charge since March after being promoted from an assistant role following the sacking of Mondher Kebaier. The 2004 African champions are tactically cautious and have never made it beyond the group stage. A 5-1 warm-up thrashing by Brazil emphasised the enormity of their task.

Tunisia squad: Gk - Dahmen, Ben Said, Hassen, Mathlouthi; Def - Abdi, Bronn, Drager, Ghandri, Ifa, Kechrida, Maaloul, Meriah, Talbi; Mid - Romdhane, Chaalali, Laidouni, Mejbri, Sassi, Skhiri; For - Slimane, Jaziri, Jebali, Khazri, Khenissi, Msakni, Sliti.

Fixtures: Denmark vs Tunisia (Tues, Nov 22 - 1300) Tunisia vs Australia (Sat, Nov 26 - 1000), Tunisia vs France (Wed, Nov 30 - 1500) Pre-tournament odds: 400/1

GROUP E

Luis Enrique
Luis Enrique

Spain

Coach: Luis Enrique

Star player: Pedri (Barcelona)

World Cup best: Winners 2010 Enrique is developing a talented young team as Spain attempt to finally emerge from the shadow of the all-conquering squads which won the 2010 World Cup either side of successive European Championship triumphs. A run to the Euro 2020 semi-finals renewed belief after La Roja failed to win a knockout match at the previous three major tournaments.

Spain squad: Gk: Simon, Sanchez, Raya; Def - Azpilicueta, Carvajal, Garcia, Guillamon, Torres, Laporte, Alba, Gaya; Mid - Busquets, Hernandez, Gavi, Soler, Llorente, Pedri, Koke; For - Torres, Nico, Pino, Morata, Asensio, Sarabia, Olmo, Fati.

Fixtures: Spain vs Costa Rica (Wed, Nov 23 - 1600), Spain vs Germany (Sun, Nov 27 - 1900), Japan vs Spain (Thurs, Dec 1 - 1900)

Pre-tournament odds: 9/1

Costa Rica

Coach: Luis Fernando Suarez

Star player: Keylor Navas (PSG)

World Cup best: Quarter-finals 2014 The final nation to secure a spot in Qatar overcame a dismal start to qualifying. Many of the veterans who helped eliminate England and Italy in 2014 remain, with the ageing core supplemented by a host of inexperienced youngsters. Navas is among the world's best goalkeepers but the draw has not been kind to the Central Americans. Costa Rica squad: GK - Navas, Alvarado, Sequeira; DEF - Calvo, Vargas, Waston, Duarte, Chacon, Fuller, Martinez, Oviedo, Matarrita; MID - Tejeda, Borges, Salas, Wilson, Torres, Lopez, Bennette, Zamora, Hernandez, Aguilera, Ruiz; FOR - Campbell, Contreras, Venegas (Alajuelense) Fixtures: Spain vs Costa Rica (Wed, Nov 23 - 1600), Japan vs Costa Rica (Sun, Nov 27 - 1000), Germany vs Costa Rica (Thurs, Dec 1 - 1900) Pre-tournament odds: 750/1

Germany

Coach: Hansi Flick

Star player: Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich)

World Cup best: Winners 2014 (West Germany were champions in 1954, 1974, 1990) Aside from the hosts, Germany were the first country to qualify but travel with relatively subdued expectations. They suffered the ignominy of finishing bottom of their group four years ago and still appear to be lacking in key areas. That said, the in-camp mood is much more buoyant than at the end of the Joachim Low era.

Germany squad: Gk - Neuer, Ter Stegen, Trapp; Def - Ginter, Ruediger, Suele, Schlotterbeck, Kehrer, Raum, Klostermann, Kotchap, Guenter; Mid - Gundogan, Hofmann, Goretzka, Gnabry, Sane, Musiala, Kimmich, Mueller, Brandt, Goetze; For - Havertz, Moukoko, Fuellkrug, Adeyemi

Fixtures: Germany vs Japan (Wed, Nov 23 - 1300), Spain vs Germany (Sun, Nov 27 - 1900), Costa Rica vs Germany (Thurs, Dec 1 - 1900)

Pre-tournament odds: 10/1

Japan

Coach: Hajime Moriyasu

Star player: Daichi Kamada (Eintracht Frankfurt)

World Cup best: Second round 2002, 2010, 2018 Japan will appear at their seventh consecutive finals. Moriyasu, who prefers a quick-passing, hard-running game, has 19 World Cup debutants in his squad. Arsenal's Takehiro Tomiyasu, former Liverpool player Takumi Minamino and Brighton's Kaoru Mitoma have been included, while attacking midfielder Kamada hit five goals to help Eintracht Frankfurt win last season's Europa League. Japan squad: Gk - Kawashima, Schmidt, Gonda; Def - Sakai, Yamane, Itakura, Tomiyasu, Yoshida, Taniguchi, Hiroki Ito, Nagatomo; Mid - Junya Ito, Doan, Endo, Morita, Tanaka, Kamada, Kubo, Minamino, Mitoma, Shibasaki, Soma; For - Asano, Maeda, Ueda, Machino

Fixtures: Germany vs Japan (Wed, Nov 23 - 1300), Japan vs Costa Rica (Sun, Nov 27 - 1000), Japan vs Costa Rica (Thurs, Dec 1 - 1900)

Pre-tournament odds: 250/1

GROUP F

Kevn de Bruyne Romelu Lukaku Belgium Oct21
Kevn de Bruyne Romelu Lukaku Belgium Oct21

Belgium

Coach: Roberto Martinez

Star player: Kevin De Bruyne (Man City)

World Cup best: Third place 2018 Bronze medallists four years ago, Belgium cruised through qualifying. Yet their much-heralded golden generation is past its best and has one final chance to turn potential into silverware. De Bruyne is arguably at the peak of his powers but Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku have endured prolonged struggles at club level.

Belgium squad: Gk - Courtois, Mignolet, Casteels; Def - Vertonghen, Alderweireld, Faes, Theate, Debast, Meunier, Castagne; Mid - De Bruyne, Tielemans, Onana, Witsel, Vanaken, Dendoncker, Carrasco, Thorgan Hazard; For - Eden Hazard, De Ketelaere (AC Milan), Trossard (Brighton), Mertens, Doku, Lukaku, Batshuayi, Openda.

Fixtures: Belgium vs Canada (Wed, Nov 23 - 1900), Belgium vs Morocco (Sun, Nov 27 - 1300), Croatia vs Belgium (Thurs, Dec 1 - 1500) Pre-tournament odds: 16/1

Canada

Coach: John Herdman

Star player: Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich)

World Cup best: First round 1986 After years of international anonymity, Canada return from the wilderness for only a second World Cup appearance, having finished pointless and goalless in 1986. Herdman's side topped their qualifying group ahead of 2026 tournament co-hosts Mexico and the United States and produced some scintillating football along the way.

Canada squad: Gk - Borjan, St Clair, Pantemis; Def - Vitoria, Johnston, Laryea, Miller, Adekugbe, Waterman, Cornelius; Mid - Hutchinson, Osorio, Eustaquio, Fraser, Piette, Kaye, Kone, Wotherspoon; For - Davies, David, Larin, Ugbo, Cavallini, Buchanan, Hoilett, Millar.

Fixtures: Belgium vs Canada (Wed, Nov 23 - 1900), Croatia vs Canada (Sun, Nov 27 - 1600), Canada vs Morocco (Thurs, Dec 1 - 1500) Pre-tournament odds: 250/1

Morocco

Coach: Walid Regragui

Star player: Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea)

World Cup best: Second round 1986 Morocco fired Vahid Halilhodzic a matter of months before the big kick-off. The Bosnian fell out with star man Ziyech, who was overlooked for the duration of qualifying. The Atlas Lions have won only two of 16 previous World Cup games. Regragui is tasked with injecting positive energy into a side with a history of flattering to deceive.

Morocco squad: Gk - Bounou, Mohamedi, Tagnaouti; Def - Hakimi, Mazraoui, Saiss, Aguerd, El Yamiq, Dari, Attiat-Allal, Benoun; Mid - Amrabat, Amallah, Ounahi, Sabiri, Jabrane, Bilel El. ForZiyech, En-Nesyri, Ezzalzouli, Cheddira, Harit, Chair, Boufal, Hamdallah

Fixtures: Morocco vs Croatia (Wed, Nov 23 - 1000), Belgium vs Morocco (Sun, Nov 27 - 1300), Canada vs Morocco (Thurs, Dec 1 - 1500) Pre-tournament odds: 200/1

Croatia

Coach: Zlatko Dalic Star player: Luka Modric (Real Madrid) World Cup best: Runners up 2018 Results have been mixed since the Croats stormed to the final in 2018. That achievement will be hard to replicate, albeit they remain a dangerous proposition, as evidenced by June's 1-0 win over world champions France. Midfield remains their strongest area, where veteran skipper Modric, Marcelo Brozovic and Mateo Kovacic form a formidable backbone. Croatia squad: Gk - Livakovic, Ivusic, Grbic; Def - Vida, Lovren, Barisic, Juranovic, Gvardiol, Sosa, Stanisic, Erlic, Sutalo; Mid - Modric, Kovacic, Brozovic, Pasalaic, Vlasic, Majer, Jakic, Sucic; For - Perisic, Kramaric, Petkovic, Orsic, Budimir, Livaja Fixtures: Morocco vs Croatia (Wed, Nov 23 - 1000), Croatia vs Canada (Sun, Nov 27 - 1600), Croatia vs Belgium (Thurs, Dec 1 - 1500) Pre-tournament odds: 50/1

GROUP G

Neymar Jr in action for Brazil
Neymar Jr in action for Brazil

Brazil

Coach: Tite Star player: Neymar (PSG) World Cup best: Winners 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002 Defensively rock-solid and with an exciting array of new attacking options easing the burden on talisman Neymar, the competition's most-successful nation have been installed as the pre-tournament favourites. They are looking to make their first World Cup final since winning the last of their five titles 20 years ago. Brazil squad: Gk - Alisson, Ederson, Weverton; Def - Alves, Danilo, Sandro, Telles, Bremer, Militao, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva; Mid - Guimaraes, Casemiro, Ribeiro, Fabinho, Fred, Paqueta; For - Antony, Jesus, Martinelli, Neymar, Pedro, Raphinha, Richarlison, Rodrygo, Vinicius Jr Fixtures: Brazil vs Serbia (Thurs, Nov 24 - 1900), Brazil vs Switzerland (Mon, Nov 28 - 1600), Cameroon vs Brazil (Fri, Dec 2 - 1900) Pre-tournament odds: 4/1

Serbia

Coach: Dragan Stojkovic

Star player: Dusan Tadic (Ajax)

World Cup best: First round 2010, 2018 (Yugoslavia finished fourth in 1930 and 1962) Former playmaker Stojkovic, appointed just before the qualification campaign, insists on attacking football and has the talent to follow the philosophy, including Aleksandar Mitrovic, Tadic, Dusan Vlahovic, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Luka Jovic. He has fostered a strong team spirit. An insecure defence is perhaps cause for concern.

Serbia squad: Gk - Dmitrovic, Rajkovic, Vanja Milinkovic-Savic; Def - Stefan Mitrovic, Milenkovic, Pavlovic, Veljkovic, Mladenovic, Erakovic, Babic; Mid - Gudelj, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, Lukic, Grujic, Kostic, Racic, Maksimovic, Ilic, Zivkovic, Lazovic; For - Tadic, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Vlahovic, Duricic, Jovic, Radonjic

Fixtures: Brazil vs Serbia (Thurs, Nov 24 - 1900), Cameroon vs Serbia (Mon, Nov 28 - 1000), Serbia vs Switzerland (Fri, Dec 2 - 1900)

Pre-tournament odds: 80/1

Switzerland

Coach: Murat Yakin

Star player: Granit Xhaka (Arsenal)

World Cup best: Quarter-finals 1934, 1938, 1954 Switzerland impressively topped their qualifying group ahead of European champions Italy. A memorable 18 months in which they were also a penalty shoot-out away from the semi-finals of Euro 2020 gives them realistic hopes of reaching the quarter-finals for the first time since they hosted the tournament 68 years ago. Switzerland squad: Gk - Kobel, Kohn, Omlin, Sommer; Def - Akanji, Comert, Elvedi, Rodriguez, Schar, Widmer; Mid - Xhaka, Fernandes, Frei (Basel), Freuler, Jashari, Rieder, Shaqiri, Sow, Steffen, Zakaria; For - Embolo, Fassnacht, Okafor, Seferovic, Vargas. Fixtures: Switzerland vs Cameroon (Thurs, Nov 24 - 1000), Brazil vs Switzerland (Mon, Nov 28 - 1600), Serbia vs Switzerland (Fri, Dec 2 - 1900) Pre-tournament odds: 80/1

Cameroon

Coach: Rigobert Song

Star player: Vincent Aboubakar (Al Nassr)

World Cup best: Quarter-finals 1990 The Indomitable Lions are Africa's most frequent World Cup visitors but have not won a match at the finals for 20 years. Ex-defender Song replaced Portuguese coach Toni Conceicao in February after his former team-mate Samuel Eto'o became president of the Cameroonian Football Federation. Song's squad is in transition and may struggle to end the long wait for victory.

Cameroon squad: Gk - Epassy, Ngapandouetnbu, Onana; Def - Castelletto, Ebosse, Fai, Mbaizo, Nkoulou, Nouhou, Wooh; Mid - Hongla, Kunde, Ntcham, Ondoua, Oum Gouet, Zambo Anguissa; For  - Aboubakar, Bassogog, Choupo Moting, Marou, Mbeumo, Ngamaleu, Ngom, Nkoudou, Nsame, Toko Ekambi.

Fixtures: Switzerland vs Cameroon (Thurs, Nov 24 - 1000), Cameroon vs Serbia (Mon, Nov 28 - 1000), Cameroon vs Brazil (Fri, Dec 2 - 1900) Pre-tournament odds: 250/1

GROUP H

Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal
Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal

Portugal

Coach: Fernando Santos Star player: Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United) World Cup best: Third place 1966 Santos has been in charge since 2014 and led Portugal to Euro 2016 glory. Credit in the bank from that success has almost been exhausted due to poor performances in recent tournaments. His squad is brimming with mercurial talent, such as Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes, while 37-year-old Ronaldo remains the most reliable source of goals.

Portugal squad: Gk - Costa, Sa, Rui Patricio, Def - Dalot, Cancelo, Pereira, Pepe, Dias, Antonio Silva, Mendes, Guerreiro; Mid - Palhinha, Neves, Bernardo Silva, Fernandes, Joao Mario, Nunes, Monteiro, Vitinha, Carvalho; For - Silva, Ronaldo, Ramos, Joao Felix, Leao, Horta

Fixtures: Portugal vs Ghana (Thurs, Nov 24 - 1600), Portugal vs Uruguay (Mon, Nov 28 - 1900), South Korea vs Portugal (Fri, Dec 2 - 1500) Pre-tournament odds: 14/1

Ghana

Coach: Otto Addo

Star player: Thomas Partey (Arsenal)

World Cup best: Quarter-finals 2010 Ghana bounced back from the humiliation of finishing bottom of their Africa Cup of Nations group by upsetting Nigeria on away goals in a qualifying play-off. Interim coach Addo has a hungry, young crop of players but has enjoyed just one win in 90 minutes since being appointed. The Black Stars are the lowest-ranked team in the tournament.

Ghana squad: Gk - Nurudeen, Ibrahim, Ati Zigi; Def - Odoi, Lamptey, Seidu, Amartey, Aidoo, Djiku, Salisu, Baba, Mensah; Mid - Andre Ayew, Partey, Owusu, Samed, Kudus, Kyereh; For -  Afriyie, Sowah, Fatawu, Bukari, Williams, Semenyo, Jordan Ayew, Sulemana.

Fixtures: Portugal vs Ghana (Thurs, Nov 24 - 1600), South Korea vs Ghana (Mon, Nov 28 - 1300), Ghana vs Uruguay (Fri, Dec 2 - 1500)

Pre-tournament odds: 250/1

Uruguay

Coach: Diego Alonso Star player: Luis Suarez (Nacional) World Cup best: Winners 1930, 1950 The two-time winners are very much in a transitional phase. Alonso took over late last year after Oscar Tabarez's record-breaking 15-year reign ended with the sack. The ex-Inter Miami coach must find the right blend between old and new generations, with Diego Godin, Suarez and Edinson Cavani preparing for final hurrahs.

Uruguay squad: Gk - Muslera, Rochet, Sosa; Def - Araujo, Caceres, Coates, Gimenez, Godin, Olivera, Rodriguez, Varela, Vina; Mid - Bentancur, De Cruz, Pellistri, Torreira, Ugarte, Valverde, Vecino; For - Suarez, Nunez, Gomez, Cavani, Canobbio, De Arrascaeta, Torres.

 

Fixtures: Uruguay vs South Korea (Thurs, Nov 24 - 1300), Portugal vs Uruguay (Mon, Nov 28 - 1900), Ghana vs Uruguay (Fri, Dec 2 - 1500) Pre-tournament odds: 40/1

South Korea

Coach: Paulo Bento Star player: Son Heung-min (Tottenham) World Cup best: Fourth place 2002 South Korea are set for a 10th consecutive World Cup campaign, an enviable record only bettered by Brazil, Germany, Spain and Argentina. Qualification was straightforward but they are perhaps overly dependant on captain Son. The Tottenham forward, who has 35 international goals in 104 caps, is touch-and-go for the tournament due to a fractured eye socket.

South Korea squad: Gk - Kim Seung-gyu, Jo Hyeon-woo, Song Bum-keun; Def - Kim Min-jae, Kim Jin-su, Hong Chul, Kim Moon-hwan, Yoon Jong-gyu, Kim Young-gwon, Kim Tae-hwan, Kwon Kyung-won, Cho Yu-min; Mid - Jung Woo-young, Na Sang-ho, Paik Seung-ho, Son Jun-ho, Song Min-kyu, Kwon Chang-hoon, Lee Jae-sung, Hwang Hee-chan, Hwang In-beom, Jeong Woo-yeong, Lee Kang-in; ForHwang Ui-jo, Cho Gue-sung, Son Heung-min

Fixtures: Uruguay vs South Korea (Thurs, Nov 24 - 1300), South Korea vs Ghana (Mon, Nov 28 - 1300), South Korea vs Portugal (Fri, Dec 2 - 1500)

Pre-tournament odds: 250/1

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