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FIFA World Cup 2022: Round of 16 fixtures confirmed after 28-year-long streak ends in frenetic group stage

FIFA World Cup 2022: Asian and African sides produced stunning results in Qatar one of the most thrilling group stages at a World Cup came to an end on December 2. The Round of 16 fixtures were confirmed after some big names crashed out early.

New Delhi,UPDATED: Dec 3, 2022 03:54 IST

Son Heung-min

South Korea were one of the 3 AFC sides to reach Round of 16 (Reuters Photo)

By India Today Web Desk: The build-up to FIFA World Cup 2022 was all about Qatar and the controversies surrounding the Arab country hosting the showpiece event. However, once the focus shifted to football, it was a non-stop thrill ride. The group stage of the FIFA World Cup was a topsy-turvy ride over 47 matches and it ended with a bang on Friday, December 2.

There were stories of heroics, redemption and upsets before the Round of 16 fixtures were confirmed on the final match day of the group stage. Traditional powerhouses were shaken, Asian sides scripted history while African teams proved they are a force to reckon with in one of the most thrilling group stages in the history of the World Cup.

For the first time since 1994, no team won all three group games. 4-time champions Germany were shown the door even as they did not enter the tournament as favourites.It was the second successive time Germany exited the World Cup in the group stage. Semi-finalists in Russia in 2018, Belgium were ousted as their golden generation flopped at the biggest stage in Qatar.

Qatar were not able to do what Russia did 4 years ago as they became the second host nation to exit in the group stage of the World Cup.

3 AFC SIDES IN ROUND OF 16

For the first time in the history of the tournament, as many as 3 Asian sides (AFC included) – Japan, South Korea and Australia, made it to the knockout stages. USA, who did not qualify for Russia World Cup Finals, showcased they are a much-improved side, joining England to the Round of 16 at the expense of Iran, who fought hard in Qatar despite all the trouble back home.

Saudi Arabia produced the biggest upset of the World Cup in the group stage, shocking Lionel Messi’s Argentina in their opening match. Lionel Scaloni’s men made it out of the group stage but they were not able to lay down an early marker in their superstar’s final World Cup campaign.

JAPAN, MOROCCO TOP GROUPS

Japan lost to Costa Rica but made it to the Round of 16 after topping Group E. They defeated former champions Spain and Germany to flaunt their prowess in Qatar.

Senegal and Morocco flew the African flag high in Qatar, reaching the Round of 16. In fact, Morocco impressed one and all, finishing above 2018 runners-up Croatia and Belgium to win Group F.

PORTUGAL, BRAZIL SHOCKED

And the group stage had a fitting final day. South Korea shocked Portugal 2-1. Uruguay defeated Ghana in a grudge match 2-0 but they were not able to progress to the Round of 16.

Cameroon became the first African team to beat Brazil in a World Cup match while Serbia gave Switzerland a run for their money.

If the knockout stage can live up to the thrill ride that the group stage was, we’re in for a spectacular World Cup in Qatar. Here’s how the Round of 16 fixtures look like.

ROUND OF 16: FIXTURES AT QATAR 2022

  • Netherlands v USA on December 3 at 8:30 pm IST
  • Argentina v Australia on December 4 at 12:30 am IST
  • France v Poland on December 4 at 8:30 pm IST
  • England v Senegal on December 5 at 12:30 am IST
  • Japan v Croatia on December 5 at 8:30 pm IST
  • Brazil v South Korea on December 6 at 12:30 am IST
  • Morocco v Spain on December 6 at 8:30 pm IST
  • Portugal v Switzerland on December 7 at 12:30 am IST




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