With just two months left before the 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup begins, all the participating teams are busy preparing themselves for the main event. The upcoming September fixtures are the last international window prior to the FIFA World Cup 2022. Therefore, the teams will be focusing on the players to finalize their respective World Cup squads. Here are the 14 significant international football fixtures before the 2022 Qatar World Cup that fans should keep an eye on.
Fourteen must-watch international football fixtures before the 2022 Qatar World Cup
The FIFA World Cup 2022 is scheduled to kick off in mid-November in Qatar. Prior to that, the qualified teams will make an effort to participate in as many international games as they can in order to develop their starting XI and strengthen team chemistry. Here are the 14 important international fixtures prior to the World Cup main event.
Fixtures: Argentina vs Honduras (September 23); Argentina vs Jamaica (September 28)
Argentina’s recent international form has been impressive, winning Copa America 2021 and 2022 Finalissima over the last one year. The Argentine side is in the right shape at the moment and will undoubtedly be one of the hot favourites to lift the World Cup 2022 trophy. They will face Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and Poland in the World Cup group stage. Therefore, the Albiceleste are expected to advance to the Round of 16 with little difficulty.
Argentina’s main obstacle will start in the knockout stages, when they will have to overcome stronger opponents to reach the final. That is why finding the right balance in the squad will be important for the Argentine national side. The two fixtures against Honduras and Jamaica, respectively, will give head coach Lionel Scaloni some idea about the present scenario of the team. Besides, Argentina’s final world cup squad will likely be confirmed after these international fixtures.
Fixtures: Brazil vs Ghana (September 24); Brazil vs Tunisia (September 28)
The world’s no.1 ranked team, Brazil, are the hot favourites to win the 2022 Qatar World Cup this December. With plenty of options available for each position, confirming the final World Cup squad for Brazil will be difficult for head coach Tite. He may prefer players who have been in the roster in recent international fixtures. But that doesn’t mean Tite will not consider picking someone who has played well this season in club football. Therefore, the two friendlies against Ghana and Tunisia will be important for Brazil to finalize their squad.
Brazil will face Serbia, Switzerland, and Cameron as their opponents in the World Cup group stage, which makes it tough for them in their quest for a Round of 16 berth. However, facing difficult teams will make Brazil well prepared for the knockout rounds.
Fixtures: Germany vs Hungary (September 24); England vs Germany (September 27)
The current German side is not as good as they were a couple of years ago. But Germany is a top footballing nation and will start as one of the favourites to win the World Cup 2022. In the group stage, they will face Spain, Costa Rica, and Japan. Germany's main competition in the group phase will be against Spain in their quest to finish top in the points standings.
Germany will play against Hungary and England this September in the Nations League competition. These two fixtures will give head coach Hansi Flick a final chance to test players in order to select Germany’s squad for the World Cup main event.
Fixtures: France vs Austria (September 23); Denmark vs France (September 26)
The reigning champions, France, will once again be favourites to retain the World Cup trophy. But France’s recent performances haven’t been encouraging and they have dropped to fourth position in FIFA’s rankings. The head coach, Didier Deschamps, will be hoping that all of the players will be fit for the World Cup 2022 in order to avoid a selection dilemma.
France will play against Australia, Denmark, and Tunisia in the World Cup group stage. On paper, France should be alright to move to the next round as Denmark could be their only possible threat in the group. However, Tunisia and Australia have the ability to stun big opponents on their day. So, France shouldn’t take any match lightly. France will use its September Nations League games against Austria and Denmark to assess the strength of its roster.
Fixtures: Spain vs Switzerland (September 25); Portugal vs Spain (September 28)
The Spain team has the potential, but will they be able to win the World Cup? Spain's quest to win the 2022 World Cup trophy depends on how they start the tournament. Spanish head coach Xavi Hernandez has a World Cup squad in his mind. But he can still try out some untested players to finally announce the roaster. The Nations League fixtures in September against Switzerland and Portugal will allow Xavi to take a final decision on selecting players.
Spain’s big fixture will be against Germany in the World Cup group phase for finishing in the top spot. Besides, the matches against Costa Rica and Japan will help Spain to be well prepared for the knockout rounds.
Fixtures: Italy vs England (September 24); England vs Germany (September 27)
After 56 years, England can be considered one of the favorites to win the World Cup. Can England finally win a World Cup in the 2022 competition? Head Coach Gareth Southgate’s team has performed well in recent international fixtures. Several slots are up for grabs, and Southgate's final World Cup squad selection will be assisted by two crucial Nations League matches against Italy and Germany.
In the World Cup group phase fixtures, England will take on Iran, Wales and the United States. They should be fine to finish at the top of the group’s points table.
Fixtures: Czech Republic vs Portugal (September 25); Portugal vs Spain (September 28)
Portugal's roster is loaded with talented players, and they should be confident in their ability to win the World Cup in 2022. Portugal will play in group H, which is considered the most difficult group. They will face Uruguay, South Korea and Ghana in the group phase and finishing in the top two is not guaranteed for them.
Portugal’s head coach, Fernando Santos, has been criticized for not properly utilizing the talents of the squad and his tactics. Portugal will play two Nations League matches against the Czech Republic and Spain in September. These two fixtures will be the last chance for the players to impress the coach and find a place in the World Cup 2022 squad.
The upcoming international friendlies in the September window will be extremely important for the nations who are deemed favourites to take home the World Cup title. The top teams will attempt to rectify their weaknesses during these friendlies in order to be more successful and prepared for the main event. The aforementioned 14 international football matches leading up to the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar will be intriguing to watch a result.