Asia will have more representatives than South America in the Round of 16 of the World Cup in Qatar.
With Japan, South Korea and Australia, the AFC has three teams at the start of the second round, an unprecedented number.
After four years with none of their teams making it past the first round, Africa will count Morocco and Senegal among the 16 survivors.
It can be emphasized that there is a certain global balance. Europe monopolized 10 of the 16 places in Russia four years ago. This time, in the first World Cup in the Middle East, the distribution was as follows: eight from Europe (without Germany for the second tournament in a row), two from South America (Brazil and Argentina are always present), one from North America (as new, Mexico did not enter ), the three from Asia and the two from Africa.
No one has been able to achieve complete victories in the group stage. Only five teams are undefeated – Netherlands, England, USA, Morocco and Croatia.
Certainly, this World Cup in Qatar is very open.
Notably, this was the end of the 32-team format, which debuted at France 1998. The 2026 event – hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada – will host 48 teams. The format hasn’t been confirmed yet, but one of the ideas being thrown is 16 sets of three.
A look at the quarter-finals of 16 crosses in the championship does not give rest.
Netherlands – USA (Khalifa International Stadium)
The duel of the teams that missed out on Russia 2010. It will be their first official clash, although they have five friendlies on their record – the Netherlands won the first four and the United States the last, 4-3 in Amsterdam in 2015. Led by Louis van Gaal, Orange They are looking to reach the Final Four and establish themselves once and for all after the runners-up in 1974, 1978 and 2010. The United States is trying to reach the quarter-finals for the second time since 2002, the year they left the road to Mexico at eighty.
argentina vs. Australia: (Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium)
The first confrontation in the World Cup finals between the two-time champions and the Socceroos, who for the second time in their history reached the top 16 in the tournament. After a debut setback, the Albiceleste side are once again in collective chemistry, with Lionel Messi looking to turn his first goal into a defining World Cup example. He has a total of eight in the first round of the five World Cups. Australia – one of the three Asian teams in the draw – will try to make a difference in their passing game.
France vs. Poland: (Al Thumama Stadium)
The defending champions have outstanding accounts to settle with Poland since their first and only World Cup crossing. In Spain 1982, the Poles beat the Blues 3-2 in the match for third place. The Polish team’s defensive tactic did not work against Argentina and could prove fatal against the French attack led by Kylian Mbappe.
England – Senegal (Al Bayt Stadium)
With coach Gareth Southgate, the English are trying to qualify for the quarter-finals of a major tournament for the third time in a row. England have never faced Senegal, but they are undefeated by African teams. Despite losing superstar Sadio Mane due to injury, Senegal stunned by tying their group by beating Ecuador 2-1 in the last date.
Japan-Croatia (Al Janoub Stadium)
The Japanese boast a group victory in which they finished ahead of two world champions, Spain and Germany, with a 2-1 victory after trailing on the scoreboard. They have never made it past the round of 16. They got stuck in 2002, when they co-hosted, losing to Turkey. Four years ago, they lost to Belgium, a match they won 2-0 through 69 minutes. The Croats and the Japanese have met twice at the World Cup. Croatia won 1-0 at France 1998 and drew 0-0 at Germany 2006. At 37, Luka Modric continues his role as a driver for Croatia who finished second in Russia.
Brazil-South Korea (Stadium 974)
Will Neymar play? It is the great unknown for Brazil towards the second round. Brazil decided to come on as substitutes at the end of the group stage and lost 1-0 to Cameroon, after a 17-match winning streak at that point which dated back to a 2-1 loss to Norway in 1998. Sur finished second in the group after a painful introduction that left Uruguay out. Son Heung-min as their mascot, they attempted to repeat their impressive 2002 campaign, in which they reached the semi-finals as co-hosts.
Morocco vs. Spain (Education City Stadium)
A surprising leader in its region – Nigeria is the only precedent for an African team in this position – Morocco has more wins in one World Cup than any other national representative. They have not progressed past the group stage since Mexico 1986. Spain, the 2010 champions, made a huge impact with their prolific appearance against Costa Rica, but dropped several decibels until losing 2-1 to Japan.
Portugal – Switzerland (Lusail Stadium)
Switzerland is appearing in the round of 16 for the third consecutive time. They have lost on the last two occasions, both 1-0: against Argentina in Brazil 2014 and then against Sweden in Russia 2018. Against Portugal, they will attempt to reach the quarter-finals for the first time since they hosted the 1954 World Cup. Cristiano Ronaldo, at 37, will have a chance. Another for his first world title in what could be his last attempt. They met twice in June this year for the UEFA Nations League. Portugal won 4-0 at first (two goals from Cristiano) and Switzerland won 1-0 the next day.
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