World Cup Draw Highlights: Matchups allow teams to look forward to November

Credit …David Ramos / Getty Images

Louis van Gaal said it all with a hint of a humorous smile. The Netherlands’ draw for the World Cup was not easy, he said, with its characteristic bluntness, and it was not lucky either. It was, instead, “colorful.” That was a good word. Ecuador’s sun is yellow, Qatar’s rich maroon, Senegal’s deep green and that burning Dutch orange: colorful.

She tried her best to hide her joy. He knew, after all, that the dice fell for him and his team, just as he had predicted – not in graphic and completely serious terms – that it would. Everyone wanted to draw Qatar, the organizers and the gentle prospect of a top seed in a bay. Only his team was selected.

But Van Gaal’s teeth are too long to fool. He also knows that the World Cup draw is not just bombardment and saccharin and time wasted and full of content and Idris Elba; They are chimerical, too. They have a verbal quality. Often, they do not understand what is meant by the first reading.

Consider, for example, Spain and Germany, who were drawn together early in Group E. They will face off at the end of the first week of the tournament; This is the only time among the contestants expected to win the competition, the crown to become the world champion, will be seen in the opening round. They both deal with their confidence as they choose to embark on their play activities.

And then the balls kept rolling and the names kept coming and it was seen that both of them landed on their feet. Japan will not be a pushover, and either Costa Rica or New Zealand who will fill the group will hardly be satisfied to go quietly. But no one has the wealth or quality or the descent of Spain and Germany and both would be confident to make it.

Or look at England, who reached the semifinals in 2018 – and the final of the European Championships last summer – Sweden, against a pale Germany and Ukraine, by winning the regular knockout game.

Its fortunes seem to have been drawn by Iran, the United States, and Scotland, Wales, and Ukraine.

“I would rather put the ball in the net than the flower,” Iran’s Serbian coach Dragan Skosic was asked about meeting the Americans when there was a reference to the two countries exchanging bouquets when they met at the 1998 tournament. “Football transcends political issues,” said his American opponent, Greg Barhalter.

Credit …Kai Fafenbach / Reuters

But the group stage draw is not just a draw for the group stage: it is also a road map for the entire tournament. If England can win – as they believe it can, this time, with more reason than a stopping clock – the trend becomes more steep as the knockout stage begins. Senegal, Africa’s most complete team, have been sent to the tournament for more than a decade, waiting to reach the last 16. Then in the quarter-finals, France could be the reigning champions. What is outside of this may not be immediately relevant.

Of course, there will be some parties who are satisfied with their fate: France must have little trouble with Denmark and Tunisia and Peru, Australia and the UAE. South American rivals Brazil and Argentina will also be confident.

Even the United States should not be too dissatisfied. “We have the youngest team in the World Cup,” Barhalter said. “It simply came to our notice then. The boys are fearless. “England could be a comfortable favorite to win their group, but the United States has no reason to believe – coming back after an eight-year absence – to be in second place.

And of course, there will be teams that have left them for a lot of things. Canada, for the first time since 1986, has swallowed the stage, having a group without a real heavyweight but a bit difficult: Croatia and Belgium finished second and third four years ago, while Morocco went through a difficult African qualification process. .

In the end, though, Van Gaal was right: eight months ago there was no way to know who was lucky and who wasn’t, which was a smooth draw and which was rough. After all the style and circumstance, the video montage and marketing spell, decorated as a mission statement, you can say for sure that it will be colorful when it comes.

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