2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying Matches during the June Window:
Matches Played; Wins-Draws-Losses; Goal Differential; Goals For-Goals Against; Points
Second Round: The Group Runners-Ups from the First Round advanced to the Second Round of Qualifiers. The Top 2 2020-2021 UEFA Nations League Group Winners, who are neither Group Winners or Group Runners-Ups, advanced to the Second Round of Qualifiers, which is comprised of three four team playoff single-elimination semi-finals, with randomized chosen hosts for the semi-final and final. The three final winners of these four playoff semi-finals Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. For the June 2022 window, only Pathway A was still to be decided, with only Wales-Austria Semi-final having been played.
Matches from this Past Window:
Home Team Score Away Team Score:
Scotland 1 Ukraine 3
Wales 1 Ukraine 0
Wales: Wales were fantastic to Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, having beaten Austria 2-1 in March at home in the Path A Semi-finals, and then defeating a good Ukrainian side 1-0 at home in the Path A Final in June. However, despite this victory in June, Wales did not look very good, only winning from an own goal by Ukraine. Ukraine dominated the match outshooting Wales 22 (9) to 10 (3) and holding 68% of the possession. In Wales other matches, in the UEFA Nations League A Group 4, Wales has suffered a terrible June Window! Wales lost to Poland away 1-2, but in an even match where Wales was only out possessed 44% to 56% and outshot 14 (2) to 15 (3). Their next Nations League match saw Wales lose at home in the last moments to the Netherlands. The Netherlands had been leading 1-0 since the 50th Minute, and then Wales scored late in the 90th Minute +2, only for the Dutch to score in the 90th Minute +4 to win 2-1! Wales were better on the shot count 8 (3) to 8 (2) and only lost out on the possession battle 43% to 57%. Wales next match was home to Belgium, and in this match, Wales scored a late goal in the 86th Minute to draw 1-1, outshooting Belgium 14 (2) to 9 (4) and being out possessed 36% to 64%. Wales last match of the June Window saw the Welsh lose an away match against the Netherlands 2-3, again in the dying moments. The Netherlands went up early 2-0 (17th and 23rd Minute), before Wales scored in the 26th Minute to keep the score 1-2. Wales then scored in the 90th Minute +2, only for Memphis Depay to score for The Flying Dutchmen in the 90th Minute +3. The Dutch dominated the stats outshooting Wales 22 (7) to 9 (4) and earning 60% of the possession. Wales currently sit at the bottom of their Group with 1 Point, while the Dutch have 10, Belgium has 7, and Poland has 4. While this is a tough group with all national teams being 2022 FIFA World Cup teams, it does signal that Wales is not a strong team in its current form. But, likewise, this June Window also displays that Wales can hang with any team. The Welsh are good enough to beat and lose to most teams in Group B for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and they will be looking to get more competitive matches in time to play the USA, IR Iran, and England. Wales count on Real Madrid super star Gareth Bale to provide leadership and attacking ability to this Group B as arguably the best player in the Group. This will be only the second time for the Welsh to feature in the FIFA World Cup, their last edition being in 1958. However, Welsh Football predates most national teams and Wales has won the pre-cursor to the World Cup many times, and henceforth, does have a history of being the best football nation in the world on certain years.
Ukraine: Ukraine was the most talented team in Path A, and their elimination from the 2022 FIFA World Cup leaves Ukraine wondering what can their national football program push for next. Ukraine messed up having not won enough in the First Round, finishing 2-6-0. Had Ukraine won some more of those matches, they most likely would have never had to go through this extra qualifier. Ukraine were the better side than Wales, but failed to display it on the scoreboard. Ukraine’s June Window featured a 3-1 away victory over Scotland in which the Ukrainians dominated the shot count and possession, and their 0-1 loss to Wales away in 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers. In the UEFA Nations League B Group 1, Ukraine had a good away victory over the Republic of Ireland 1-0 where the shot count was almost even, and the possession count favored Ukraine. Ukraine followed up this win with a 3-0 thrashing of Armenia with all goals coming in the 2nd Half. Ukraine’s final match in the June Window was a 1-1 home draw in Poland against the Republic of Ireland in which the Irish struck first in the 31st Minute, but the Ukrainians answered back in the 47th Minute. Ukraine dominated the possession, but the shot count was almost completely even. Ukraine sits on top of their Group 1 with 7 Points, followed by Scotland (6), the Republic of Ireland (4), and Armenia (3).
Scotland: Scotland should be disappointed with their loss in the Path A Semi-final, as the Scottish had enough firepower to really win that match but never showed up. Scotland’s loss at home that led to elimination from the 2022 FIFA World Cup was met with a good display in the UEFA Nations League B Group 1. Scotland started off with a 2-0 thumping of Armenia at home, where the Scottish dominated the shot count 27 (6) to 4 (3) and held 72% possession. However, the Scottish probably should have won by more. Scotland’s next match was a 0-3 loss away to the Republic of Ireland, in a match which saw the Scottish dominate possession and total shots. But, the Republic of Ireland were much more efficient dominating shots on target and goals, the most important statistic. Scotland finished out their June campaign with a 4-1 away win over Armenia, where this time, the Scottish were quite efficient as they only had 14 shots and 7 on target, but scored 4 goals. They also held 70% of the possession. Armenia, however, were also better in the attack having 9 shots and 4 on target, and were actually up after the 6th Minute until Scotland scored a 14th Minute equalizer, followed by goals in the 45th +1 Minute, in the 50th Minute, and in the 53rd Minute.
Matches Played; Wins-Draws-Losses; Goal Differential; Goals For-Goals Against; Points
Fourth Round: The Third Round Group A and Group B 3rd Place Teams play each other in a one-off match held in neutral Qatar with the winner advancing to the the Intercontinental Playoff to play the South American Fifth Place for one of the last two Qualification Spots at the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Matches from this Past Window:
Home Team Score Away Team Score:
UAE 1 Australia 2
Australia: Due to Australia having advanced to the Intercontinental Playoff with Peru, we will analyze Australia in the next section.
UAE: The UAE started their June Window at the end of May with a home 1-1 draw against The Gambia. This match was not impressive for the Emiratis who often demand that their nation at least play at a level resembling World Cup level. And this is what the Emiratis delivered against the Aussies in the Fourth Round one-off match in Qatar, where the Emiratis and Australians had been tied for most of the match, barring 4 minutes where Australia led 1-0 (53rd Minute-56th Minute) prior to the UAE’s 57th Minute Goal! The UAE dominated possession 55% to 45%, and the shot count was relatively even, 6 (4) to 8 (4). The UAE played above their level against the Australians, but unfortunately, this was not enough as the Socceroos scored in the 84th Minute to win this match and advance to the Inter-confederation Playoff. The UAE would be eliminated from the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but their hopes to Qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup in the USA, Mexico, and Canada should be rekindled given how good their performance was against Australia, and given that the 2026 FIFA World Cup will be expanded to 48 teams. There is a lot to look forward to for Emirati Football.
FIFA Inter-confederation Playoffs:
The FIFA Inter-confederation Playoffs (also called the Intercontinental Playoffs) featured the Asian Fifth Place Team, Australia, playing the South American Fifth Place Team, Peru, and the North American Fourth Place Team, Costa Rica, playing the Oceanian First Place Team, New Zealand, with both matches happening in neutral Qatar in a one-off match. The Winners of these two matches Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup!
FIFA Inter-confederation Playoffs:
Matches from this Past Window:
Home Team Score Away Team Score:
Australia 0 (5-4 in Penalty Kick Shootouts) Peru 0
Costa Rica 1 New Zealand 0
Australia: Australia must be overjoyed to have Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, with the Socceroos making a 6th straight appearance at a FIFA Men’s World Cup. Despite having to comeback, Australia started off their June Window in dominating campaign defeating Jordan 2-1 in a friendly in Qatar, outshooting the Jordanians 15 (5) to 5 (1) and out possessing their opponents 60% to 40%. While the scoreline may not show it, this match was a really good display by Australia. Australia, however, did not make their Fourth Round easy as the Emiratis dominated possession and kept the shot count almost even. The Australians would score in the 53rd Minute, only for the UAE to score in the 57th Minute. The deciding moment came in the 84th Minute when Ajdin Hrustic scored the match winning goal for the Socceroos who went onto win 2-1. Australia’s last match of the June Window came against Peru in the Inter-confederation playoffs. Australia was picked by most experts to lose and were the clear underdogs. However, despite this, Australia came out firing on all cylinders against their South American opponents. Australia would out shoot Peru 11 (2) to 10 (1), and held 47% of the possession. Australia’s defense and overall play allowed the Aussies to extend the match into Extra Time and then Penalty Kick Shootouts. Australia’s Andrew Redmayne would be subbed in for the Penalty Kick Shooutout as a goalkeeping specialist. This proved to be pivotal as Andrew Redmayne would save the 6th shot from Peru and Australia would Qualify via a 5-4 victory on penalty kick shootouts after a 0-0 result through 120 Minutes. Australia displayed their hunger to keep surviving and advancing in these two World Cup Qualifying one-off matches, as well as their poise. This should serve them well in the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Australia will join France, Denmark, and Tunisia, and given their display in the 2018 FIFA World Cup, and their display in the June Window, Australia should really believe they can finish Top 2 in Group D.
Costa Rica: Costa Rica started off their June Window very suspect, having lost away to Panama 0-2 in the CONCACAF Nations League A Group B. This was payback as Costa Rica took the Inter-confederation spot instead of Panama earlier this year. Panama dominated Costa Rica 15 (4) to 7 (1) on shots, and held 60% possession. This thorough domination by Panama signaled a weakness in Costa Rica. Costa Rica’s next match was a 2-0 win over Martinique, and while it was a win, it was very unimpressive, as Costa Rica and Martinique practically shared the same shot count, and Costa Rica needed a goal until the 87th Minute to secure a 2-0 lead and thus the eventual win. Thus, Costa Rica went into the Inter-confederation Playoff Semi-final with not a lot of confidence from the surrounding supporters. Costa Rica struck first in this match 1-0 via a goal by Joel Campbell in the 3rd Minute. However, after this, the Costa Ricans mainly defended. The Costa Ricans were out shot 4 (3) to 15 (4) and out possessed 33% to 67%. Costa Rica successfully did defend the rest of the match, mostly, and kept the 1-0 lead until the final whistle, as Costa Rica Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup! Costa Rica should look to improve and not become complacent. With their own domestic league, there are plenty of up and coming players and Costa Rica should develop more of these players and not be afraid to start them over the old guard. Costa Rica started off horribly during their 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, but over this last year, Costa Rica has morphed into a super team having lost only one match in 2022, winning 8 of the 9 other matches even if in not so pretty circumstances such as being outplayed by New Zealand. Costa Rica should expect nothing less than to advance out of their Group E, but in reality, Spain, Germany, and Japan will prove very difficult and almost no one besides the Costa Ricans will have Costa Rica advancing to the knockout rounds from this Group, with many probably picking Costa Rica to finish last in Group E.
Peru: Peru had a very bad June Window for the expectations placed on to them following their 5th Place finish in the South American Qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Peru was expected to dominate their June Window, but they did anything but that. Peru would play New Zealand in a friendly in neutral Spain in a match which many would have expected Peru to win by multiple goals in comfortable style, but instead, Peru had to wait until the 69th Minute to go up 1-0, and only won 1-0, with the shot count being 8 (1) to 2 (2) with New Zealand having more shots on target, but Peru dominating the total shots, and with Peru having 63% possession. Peru should have scheduled another friendly but their federation seems to have made a huge blunder, because playing New Zealand was not good enough preparation for Australia, and Australia would defeat Peru in penalty kick shootouts to eliminate Peru from the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Peru should be massively disappointed and from the looks of the supporters, they are! In Peru’s defense, it did look like Australia’s goalkeeper for the shootout had stepped across the line with both feet before Peru’s first miss, while Peru was up, and if this did happen, then a re-kick should have happened. But, on second look, it appears at least one foot stayed on the line. Either way, Peru should have won in regular time.
New Zealand: New Zealand will most likely Qualify for the 2026 FIFA World Cup because next World Cup, with 48 teams, Oceania gets 1 automatic team in the World Cup, plus 1 spot in the Inter-confederation Playoffs. Now, while I do believe Australia should come back to Oceania because that is the continent they are in, it appears that Australia likes the Asian challenge and thus, New Zealand will probably get this top spot. As it is, New Zealand proved very good in their June Window. New Zealand narrowly lost to Peru in neutral Spain, and then tied probably the 7th best team in Asia right now, Oman, 0-0 in neutral Qatar, followed by their narrow 0-1 defeat to Costa Rica, North America’s 4th best team, in the Inter-confederation Playoff. New Zealand will fill robbed to have not tied Costa Rica as they had a goal called off from a VAR check to tie the match at 1-1, and thus would lose 0-1 as a result, eliminating them from 2022 FIFA World Cup. But, New Zealand’s play against these three teams suggests that New Zealand could have been competitive at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which is really of no surprise when you see that their roster includes some Serie A, Turkish Süper Lig, and Premier League players, including one of the best strikers in national team football, Newcastle United’s Chris Wood. And, the last time New Zealand was in the World Cup finals, New Zealand went undefeated and were the only team to do so, as they finished 0-3-0 in 2010.
National Team Updates for the national teams who already Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in the previous windows of Qualifications:
Germany: Germany looks to be a very competitive team for the 2022 FIFA World Cup coming off of a June Window which saw the 4 time World Cup Champions go 1-3-0. Germany was playing in the UEFA Nations League A Group 3. Germany opened up against Italy drawing away, 1-1, having dominating the possession with 68%, and outshooting the Italians 12 (4) to 11 (2). Germany’s next match saw the Germans draw at home 1-1 against England. England dominated the shot count 15 (6) to 10 (6), but the Germans once against dominated possession with 63%. Germany was up from the 50th Minute, until the 88th Minute when England’s Harry Kane scored a penalty kick goal. Germany’s next match was a come from behind draw away to Hungary, where Germany actually was only down for 3 minutes. Hungary scored in the 6th Minute, and then Germany scored in the 9th Minute, and that was it, 1-1. Germany dominated the possession with 68% of it, but did not do much with it, as the Hungarians dominated the shot count 11 (7) to 6 (1), and probably should have won. This Hungarian side is very good right now, and had they played like this from the start of the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers in Europe, Hungary would also be going to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Germany’s last match was a 5-2 home win over Italy where Germany outshot the Italians 17 (9) to 14 (6), and out possessed Italy 66% to 34%. Germany sits in 2nd Place in Group 3 with 6 Points, behind Hungary with 7 Points, and in front of Italy with 5 Points and England with 1 Point. Germany will join Spain, Japan, and Costa Rica in Group E at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and will be favored to advance to the knockout rounds. Depending on their results in September, Germany will either be favored #2 or #1 in the Group, but right now, Spain is probably favored to top Group E.
Denmark: Denmark had a very good June Window going 3-0-1 to lead their UEFA Nations League A Group 1, with 9 Points, followed by Croatia with 7 Points, Austria with 4 Points, and France with 2 Points. Denmark started off with a 2-1 comeback away win over France thanks to 68th Minute and 88th Minute goals by Andreas Cornelius. Denmark, however, was thoroughly outplayed with France dominating the shot count 19 (6) to 8 (5), and holding 60% of the possession. Next, Denmark would defeat Austria away, 2-1, after a late 84th Minute winning goal by Jens Styger Larsen. Denmark, however, was again outshot 17 (1) to 8 (6), and out possessed 55% to 45%. Denmark’s next match was a 0-1 loss at home against defending World Cup Runners-up, Croatia, a match in which Denmark actually outshot Croatia 14 (1) to 9 (2), but Croatia held 52% possession. Denmark’s next match was a 2-0 home win over Austria, their best match yet where Denmark out shout the Austrians 15 (6) to 9 (2) and held 54% possession. Denmark has been playing so well over the last 4 years, advancing to the 2020 UEFA European Championship Semi-finals, having finished 9-0-1 in 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifying for Europe, and now, so far leading their 2022-2023 UEFA Nations League Group. But, these results were not as dominating as they probably should have been. Denmark continues to have good attacking efficiency, minus in their defeat at home to Croatia, but the Danish continue to be outplayed overall. Denmark will be in Group D at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, will they will play defending World Cup Champions France, Australia, and Tunisia. Denmark looks like the clear favorites to not only advance from the Group, but also win the Group. However, their overall match play suggests that these other 3 nations can defeat Denmark, and unlike in the European Championships, only the Top 2 can advance and Denmark will need to play better, especially as France will surely be improved by that time.
France: France did not play well during their June Window as evident from their last place standing in their UEFA Nations League A Group 1, with only 2 Points, behind Austria (4), Croatia (7), and Denmark (9). France is finally not getting all of the 50/50 calls, and with this has seen France struggle to win. In the 2018 FIFA World Cup, France was bailed out by bad calls against Australia in their opening match, and in other matches most notably against Croatia in the Final. These bad calls allowed France’s lack luster play to be enough. But, France should be playing better as they had against a lot of the teams in that 2018 FIFA World Cup, as they had in the 2016 UEFA European Championship, and most recently in the 2020-2021 UEFA Nations League which they won. But, France should not be depending on a penalty kick decision from a referee in order to win or not lose. France should really be winning more of their matches, and in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers and in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers for Europe, we saw that had other nations done better themselves like they should have, France would have had to go through that extra round of qualifiers. France opened up their June Window with their 1-2 loss at home to Denmark. Ironically, France actually did dominate this match, but lost. Their next match was a very even match where the French tied Croatia 1-1 with the shot count being in favor of the Croatians 8 (5) to 7 (5) and the possession being in favor of the French, 52% to 48%, but unlike in year’s past, the Croatians would get a penalty kick call against the French late into the match, and Andrej Kramarić scored the goal from the spot in the 83rd Minute. To be fair, Croatia should have won this match and missed many opportunities, but so did the French as well. Still, the point is the French left the match open until the very end, and one call against them meant a win became a draw. Against Austria away, France then had to comeback down 0-1 from the 37th Minute until Kylian Mbappé scored in the 83rd Minute to tie the match at 1-1. France dominated the possession 60% to 40% and the shot count 15 (7) to 5 (4). Then, in their next match, the French lost to the Croatians for the first time, 0-1, in a home match for the French as well. The Croatians got a dubious penalty kick awarded to them very early and Luka Modrić scored the penalty kick to put Croatia up 1-0. The French had a call then go against them that looked like a clear penalty in the box, and thus, bad officiating decisions on just two calls canceled out a French goal and gave Croatia a goal, almost as bad as the officiating in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final which gave France 2 goals and canceled out a Croatian goal on a bad no call on a penalty in the box for Croatia. Overall, I think the French would take this tradeoff. The French once again dominated the shot count 17 (4) to 4 (3) and the possession 54% to 46%, but they lacked efficiency in the attack! For the French, generally they have ultimate efficiency like the Danish. France will play in Group E at the 2022 FIFA World Cup against Denmark, Tunisia, and Australia. While the French were favored to go 3-0-0 before this June Window, now, the French look like they could go 0-0-3 given how good Denmark, Australia, and Tunisia played in June. The worst thing for the French though, is that they held such a huge psychological battle over the Croatians prior to this 0-1 loss as the French had never lost to the Croatians before, despite Croatia having beaten big name teams like Spain and Germany in UEFA European Championships and FIFA World Cups. This may not seem like a big deal, until you realize that both of France’s World Cup Championships came via a Semi-final victory over Croatia in 1998 and a Final victory over Croatia in 2018. If France meets Croatia in the 2022 knockout rounds, Croatia will be much tougher for France than before.
Belgium: Belgium started off their June campaign horrifically losing to the Netherlands 1-4 at home being outshot 13 (6) to 15 (7) and having equal possession. This loss signaled the greatest weakness for Belgium and that is that Belgium is very reliant on the efficiency of their attack given that their defense is often quite weak, which is usually compounded by their formation that leaves their defense even more vulnerable. Well, the Belgians immediately fixed this attacking efficiency problem and defeated Poland at home, 6-1, dominating the shot count 16 (11) to 6 (2) and the possession 66% to 34%. Belgium’s next match in Wales saw Belgium tie 1-1 in a not so impressive match being outshot 9 (4) to 14 (2) and only having 56% of the possession. Belgium’s next match was also not very impressive, but Belgium did win 1-0 away in Poland with 12 (4) shot to Poland’s 12 (2) shots and 69% possession to Poland’s 31% possession. Belgium displayed a good diversity in wins and draws which is good because it means Belgium is not one dimensional. But, Belgium sits off the pace of their UEFA Nations League A Group 4 with 7 Points, behind the Netherlands with 10 Points, and in front of Poland (4) and Wales (1). Belgium’s goal is to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup, so winning this Group is expected. At the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Belgium will be in Group F with Croatia, Morocco, and Canada. Morocco and Canada did not have good June Windows, but both are still very good, especially Canada who has very good counter-attacking abilities that will test out the often weak Belgium defense. Croatia had a good June Window, but are still not to their 2018 Runners-up level yet, making Belgium and Croatia dual favorites to win Group F as of now.
Croatia: Croatia was spending their June Window in the aforementioned UEFA Nations League A Group 1, where the Croatians has a series of firsts! First, Croatia really started off horribly losing to Austria 0-3 at home in Osijek losing to Austria for the first time in their history having beaten Austria the previous 5 times! Croatia had dominated the possession 61% to 39%, but no the shot count 13 (3) to 14 (8). Croatians were furious because Croatia had looked to finally be getting better following their disastrous 2020-2021 UEFA Nations League campaign. Croatia had not been too impressive these past 4 years, but had done enough to Qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, for the 2020 European Championship, and to stay in the UEFA Nations League A. Croatia followed up this loss with a 1-1 home draw in Split against France, their archenemies. Croatia barely had an advantage in the shot count 8 (5) to 7 (5), but also barely had a disadvantage in the possession 48% to 52%. Overall, it was an even match, which the Croatians probably should have won given some of their chances. Croatia followed up that performance with a 1-0 win away over Denmark, with Mario Pašalić scoring a 69th Minute match winning goal. The Croatians held the possession advantage at 52% just slightly, and the shots on target 2 to 1, but were outshot in total shots 9 to 14. It was a good away win over a nation that the Croatians tend to do well against. Croatia finished June beating France for the first time ever, 1-0 away! Croatia will take this victory with a lot of confidence that should allow Croatia to dream realistically about winning the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Croatia were outplayed by France and did win on dubious circumstances where Croatia got a penalty kick call that probably should have not happened, while France did not on a foul that probably should have led to a penalty kick. Nonetheless, Croatia finally won against the only nation in the world that seems to allude them, minus three South American teams, Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru, one African team, Tunisia, and one European team, Portugal. Croatia now sits in 2nd Place with 7 Points in Group 1, behind Denmark (9), and in front of Austria (4) and France (2). Croatia will expect to close out September by winning Group 1. Croatia’s 2022 FIFA World Cup Group is Group E, with Belgium, Morocco, and Canada. Croatia currently looks like the dual favorites with Belgium, and pending September results, will be expected to advance to the knockout rounds, possibly as the Group Winner. The best news for Croatia is that they beat France. All of the other teams they either know they can beat, or should beat, minus Brazil. Brazil is the only country left that Croatia may have psychological troubles with, but the others Croatia has yet to beat are merely just inconvenient truths than anything else.
Spain: Spain continues to look very solid for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Their June consisted of matches in the UEFA Nations League A Group 2. The only glaring issue that Spain keeps showing is their inability to close out wins. This issue showed up in their first match in which they dominated Portugal at home, outshooting Portugal 11 (2) to 7 (2) and holding 61% of the possession, as well as having been up 1-0 from the 25th Minute on. But, Portugal scored in the 82nd Minute, and the match finished 1-1. The Spaniards next match saw the Spanish dominate once again, with 80% possession and a shot count of 13 (5) to 3 (2), but Spain had to come back twice away to the Czech Republic with goals in the 45th Minute +3, and in the 90th Minute. This match showed that Spain is beatable, but their mentality to not lose keeps them always with touching distance of a draw if down. Still, for the domination on the ball and in shots, Spain should have won, and but at least 2 goals. Spain’s next match was a 1-0 win over Switzerland away, in match which Spain scored early in the 13th Minute. Spain held 66% possession, and outshot Switzerland barely 7 (3) to 7 (1). This was a good win for Spain because Switzerland is always so consistently difficult to beat. Spain’s final match this June was a comfortable 2-0 win at home over the Czech Republic, with goals coming in the 24th Minute and 75th Minute, with 76% of the possession and a shot count of 9 (4) to 7 (2). This was Spain’s most complete match of June, a solid victory. Spain leads Group 2 with 8 Points, followed by Portugal with 7 Points, the Czech Republic with 4 Points, and Switzerland with 3 Points. Spain will be playing in Group E at the 2022 FIFA World Cup against Germany, Japan, and Costa Rica. Spain is a favorite to advance from this Group with Germany, but I think Spain has to be extra careful in their opening match with Costa Rica. Spain tends to have close matches with teams from the Americas, partly because most of those countries have a history of their country, or at least part of their country being under Spain. It serves as an extra motivator, as a rivalry or derby.
Serbia: Serbia had a mixed bag of a June, starting off losing to Norway 0-1 with Norway’s Erling Haaland scoring the match winning goal. Serbia dominated the match, with 13 (5) shots to Norway’s 4 (2) shots, and Serbia held 67% possession at home. But, Erling Haaland is arguable the best striker in the world, a proposition Serbia will not have to face most likely at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and thus Serbia really had to score to get anything from this match and did not. In Serbia’s next match, Serbia made sure to score this time scoring 4 goals and defeating Slovenia 4-1 at home, with 61% possession and 17 (7) shots to 7 (2) shots. This was a World Cup Semi-finalist level display, and not that Serbia is expecting to get that far, but it really was. Serbia does have the talent to win the World Cup, but it definitely is not an expectation for them too. They also have never really been able to put these matches together in the World Cup, not as Serbia, and not under Serbia and Montenegro or Yugoslavia minus a few exceptions here and there. Serbia then went away to Sweden and got a 1-0 win, followed by a 2-2 draw away against Slovenia. Serbia led the shots on target category against Sweden 4-1, and had 56% of the possession, while against Slovenia, Serbia dominated the shots statistics 14 (6) to 7 (5) and the possession 58% to 42%. Serbia finished 2-1-1 in June, and now sits in 2nd Place in UEFA Nations League B Group 4 with 7 Points, behind Norway (10), and ahead of Sweden (3) and Slovenia (2). Serbia will play in Group G at the 2022 FIFA World Cup against Brazil, Switzerland, and Cameroon. After the June Window, Serbia appear as the clear favorites for the #2 spot in Group G after Brazil, and in front of Switzerland and Cameroon.
England: England had a bad June Window, finishing 0-2-2. England lost to Hungary away, 0-1, with the Hungarians dominated the shots on target 6-4, but England holding the most possession with 58% and shooting the most in total 12-11. This match was seen as an upset, but what was worrying is how Hungary held in tight with England in every category or bested them. England’s next match was a 1-1 away draw with archenemies Germany, a match in which England dominated the shots 15 (6) to 10 (6), but Germany dominated the possession 63% to 37%. It appeared England was back because an away draw against Germany is always considered quite good. England’s next match was a 0-0 home draw against defending European Champions, Italy, where England out shot (12 (4) to 8 (3)) and out possessed (60% to 40%) the Italians. England should have won this match, but did not. England finished out June with a 0-4 loss to Hungary at home, their worst loss since 1928, and a match in which England actually dominated the shots and possession at 10 (2) to 6 (5) and 69% to 31%. This form England is on is the worst type of form for England, because it is a style of play that will eliminate them in the Group Stage at the World Cup. England appears to be able to dominate, but still lose or draw due to inefficiency, and furthermore, are not able to beat the lower tiers of World Cup quality opposition, while being able to play out draws against the top tiers of World Cup quality. England will play in Group B in the 2022 FIFA World Cup against former British Colony the USA, against fellow British Constituent Country Wales, and against IR Iran. England is still probably considered the favorite to win Group B, but their June window would have gotten them eliminated.
Switzerland: Switzerland started off June with a dominating performance against the Czech Republic on the stat sheet with 63% possession to the Czechs 37%, and with 15 (7) shots to the Czechs 8 (3) shots, but the Czechs won 2-1 at home. Switzerland lost a match they should have won, and this plagued the Swiss into their next match away to Portugal where Portugal won 4-0, with 18 (10) shots to 5 (1), and with 55% possession to 45%. Switzerland then lost 0-1 at home to Spain, with Spain dominating the possession 66% to 34%, and slightly ahead on the shot count at 7 (3) to 7 (1). The Swiss’s last match was a 1-0 home win over Portugal which Portugal actually dominated with 20 (8) shots to 5 (2) and with 58% possession. Switzerland sits 1-0-3 with 3 Points in UEFA Nations League A Group 2 in last place, behind the Czech Republic (4), Spain (7), and Portugal (8). The Switzerland June Window taught the Swiss that they can still beat the big name teams, but that they struggle against the lower teams. Switzerland will play in Group G at the 2022 FIFA World Cup against Brazil, Serbia, and Cameroon. Judging based off of June, Switzerland will probably finished 3rd in Group G.
Netherlands: The Netherlands were spectacular in June going 3-1-0 to top Group 4 of the UEFA Nations League A thus far. The Netherlands dominated Belgium 4-0 in an away match followed by a 2-1 late win away in Wales, and a 2-2 draw at home against Poland. In this final match of June, the Netherlands again scored a last minute goal to defeat Wales at home 3-2. The Netherlands will play in Group A at the 2022 FIFA World Cup against Qatar, Senegal, and Ecuador, all matches the Netherlands should win, especially after this June Window. The Netherlands sits in first in Group 4 with 10 Points, followed by Belgium (7), Poland (4), and Wales (1). The Netherlands are a very complete team and are supplemented from a very good domestic league.
Portugal: Portugal had a mix bag June, starting off with an away draw to Iberian rivals, Spain, 1-1 in a match which the Spanish mostly dominated. The next match was a 4-0 home win over Switzerland in a very dominating performance for the Portuguese, followed by a 2-0 home win over the Czech Republic in which Portugal again dominated in shots in possession. Portugal’s final match however, was a let down, a Portugal lost away to Switzerland 0-1, with Portugal having the better statistics. Portugal sits in 2nd with 7 Points behind Spain with 10 Points, and in front of the Czech Republic with 4 Points and Switzerland with 3 Points. Portugal will play in Group H at the 2022 FIFA World Cup against Ghana, Uruguay, and South Korea. Portugal and Uruguay are the two clear favorites to advance, while Ghana and South Korea both seem quite a ways a way to advance. After June, this expectation looks to be even more true.
Poland: Poland was a side that needed to show elite play to convince critics they were a favorite to advance out of Group C at the 2022 FIFA World Cup against Argentina, Mexico, and Saudi Arabia. Luckily for Poland, both Mexico and Saudi Arabia did not look great in their June Windows, leaving many people to place Poland as the new #2 team in Group C. However, Poland also looked bad, and thus, no one really knows what to make out of the bottom 3 teams in the Group. Poland opened up UEFA Nations League A Group 4 with a 2-1 home win over Wales, having outshot 15 (3) to 14 (2) and out possessed 56% to 44% the Welsh. But, Poland then would lose 1-6 to Belgium away, where Belgium held 66% possession and had 18 (11) shots to Poland’s 6 (2). This signaled two things. One, Poland can be World Cup quality opposition, but two, Poland can lose big to elite nations. But, the other two nations in Group C both showed these same capabilities in June. Poland then did very well to draw 2-2 away against the Netherlands, a match in which the Polish were up by 2 goals. In their final match, the Polish lost to the Belgians at home, 0-1. Poland appears to have improved throughout June, but not enough to really solidify the expectation to finish #2, especially with how consistent Mexico tends to be in World Cup Group Stage play.
Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup:
Qatar (Hosts): Qatar did not play any matches in the June Window, a strategy not very smart for any side, let alone one which relies on continuity, familiarity, and chemistry within the team for success. Qatar will play in Group A at the 2022 FIFA World Cup against the Netherlands, Senegal, and Ecuador. Qatar appears good enough to defeat the latter two, but are not expected to. Qatar is expected to finish last in Group A.
IR Iran: IR Iran was supposed to play Canada in a friendly, but it got canceled. Therefore, IR Iran only played one match in June and that was against Algeria. Algeria won this match 2-1 in neutral Qatar. IR Iran will play in Group B at the 2022 FIFA World Cup against England, the USA, and Wales. While Wales and England both did not play particularly well in June, IR Iran are still expected to finish last in this Group, especially after their lack of display in June. Algeria is a good team, but a non-World Cup and friendly Algeria not as much.
South Korea: South Korea had a good and bad showing in the June Window, as South Korea hosted 4 friendlies in South Korea against three South American nations and one African nation. All nations were World Cup quality, but only one of the four Qualified. South Korea would play Brazil first, but lose 1-5. Brazil dominated the shot count 25 (9) to 7 (6) and the possession with 60% to 40%. This loss to Brazil signaled that either Brazil is that good, or that South Korea is not capable of playing the big name nations right now. Either way, it was an eye opener for a well-respected nation in soccer. South Korea would win their next match over Chile 2-0 with 11 (3) shots to 7 (1) and with 52% possession. South Korea’s win over Chile and domination of the stats sheet show that South Korea is capable of comfortable wins over non-elite teams at the World Cup. South Korea’s next match was a 2-2 draw against Paraguay. South Korea dominated the possession with 62% and the shot count 11 (2) to 7 (2), but found themselves having to comeback down by 2 goals, scoring the equalizer in the 90th Minute +3. This match displayed that South Korea has the fight to comeback in matches, signaling that South Korea will be a tough nation to beat. South Korea closed out June with a 4-1 win over Egypt, with 69% possession and 10 (5) shots to 7 (1). South Korea’s obliteration of Egypt displayed that South Korea can dominate the lower tier nations in the World Cup, boosting their chances of advancement with good goal differentials. South Korea will compete in the 2022 EAFF E-1 Football Championship in Japan in July next. At the 2022 FIFA World Cup, South Korea is in Group H with Portugal, Uruguay, and Ghana. South Korea is favored to finish #3 in Group H.
Japan: Japan had a very good June Window until their last match. Japan played in two friendly tournaments put together by the Japan Football Association and Kirin Brewing Company located in Japan. Japan’s first two matches were in the Kirin Challenge Cup and second two matches were in the Kirin Cup Soccer. Japan’s National Soccer Team won their first match 4-1 over Paraguay in dominating fashion, with 28 (10) shots to 10 (4), and with 61% possession. This was a display of a World Cup Champion. But, that feeling would quickly evaporate as Japan lost to Brazil 0-1 in the Kirin Challenge Cup Final, with Brazil dominating Japan in every category, such as shots 21 (5) to 7 (0) and possession at 53%. Then, Japan went onto to play Ghana and dominated them 4-1, with 15 (5) shots to 5 (1), and with 61% possession. Japan followed this up in the Kirin Cup Soccer Final and lost, 0-3 to Tunisia, in a match where Japan dominated the possession with 68%, but Tunisia were far more efficient on shooting with 4 shots on target from 8, while Japan had 0 shots on target from 8. Japan’s first three matches suggested Japan would have a high possibility of getting out of their World Cup Group, but after the defeat to Tunisia, experts will not be as high on Japan. Japan plays in Group E at the 2022 FIFA World Cup against Spain, Germany, and Costa Rica. Japan needs more practice against elite opposition to give them a chance against Spain and Germany, while Costa Rica is a task Japan know they can win. Japan plays in the 2022 EAFF E-1 Football Championship in Japan in July next.
Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia had a bad June, but only because of their second match, and that is pending how good that opposition may become this next year. Saudi Arabia played Colombia in Murcia, Spain in their first match in June, losing 0-1, but having dominated possession 52% to 48%, and being outshot 5 (3) to 12 (7). Saudi Arabia probably should have lost 0-2, but nonetheless, showed the ability to play with what many would consider to be an elite team or close to elite team, despite having not Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Saudi Arabia’s next match, also in Murcia, Spain, however, was against a nation that is not considered elite by anyone, a nation that as a World Cup side, you should expect to beat. This side was Venezuela, and Venezuela won 1-0, outshooting KSA 13 (7) to 7 (2), while Saudi Arabia did win the possession battle with 59%. Saudi Arabia needs to get much better between now and the 2022 FIFA World Cup if they want to have any chance of advancing past the Group Stage, because a loss to Venezuela where it should have been a worse scoreline is not acceptable. However, Venezuela sometimes goes through eras where they are really good, and maybe this is one of them and we are being too harsh on KSA. Saudi Arabia will be playing in Group C with Argentina, Mexico, and Poland, and after this June, are expected to finish last in Group C.
Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup:
- IR Iran
- South Korea
- Saudi Arabia
Ghana: Ghana competed in the 2023 African Cup of Nations Qualifying Group Stage in Group E, and defeated Madagascar 3-0 at home in a dominating display, with 23 (5) shots to 5 (2), and with 69% possession. However, Ghana’s next match saw Ghana draw 1-1 away against the Central African Republic, despite controlling 72% of the possession, as both nations have a very even shot count. Ghana finished the second round of matches in first with 4 Points, followed by Angola with 4 Points, the Central African Republic with 1 Point, and Madagascar with 1 Point. Ghana then competed in the Kirin Cup Soccer, losing to Japan 1-4 in dominating Japanese display, but then played Chile, and would go down to 9 men, but despite this, Ghana kept playing taking Chile into penalty kick shootouts which Ghana won 3-1. Despite Ghana being down to 9 men, Ghana actually coped well with 10 (4) shots compared to Chile’s 11 (1) shots, and with 44% possession. Ghana will play in Group H at the 2022 FIFA World Cup against Portugal, Uruguay, and South Korea, will Ghana will be expected to finish last in the Group. And, their thumping loss to Japan and inexplicable draw to the Central African Republic makes Ghana look bad. But, Ghana still is putting up good fights such as against Madagascar and Chile.
Senegal: Senegal had a not very impressive June. Senegal played Benin in the 2023 African Cup of Nations Qualifying Group Stage winning 3-1 at home, with 61% possession and 24 (10) shots to 6 (2). Sadio Mané scored all these goals. Then, away against Rwanda, Senegal barely won 1-0 with a 90th Minute +8 Penalty Kick goal from Sadio Mané. Senegal is currently first in 2023 African Cup of Nations Qualifying Group Stage Group L with 6 Points, followed by Mozambique (4), Rwanda (1), and Benin (0). The dependency on Sadio Mané makes Senegal more vulnerable and their lack of good opposition leaves open the question of how can Senegal win. Senegal will play in Group A at the 2022 FIFA World Cup with the Netherlands, Qatar, and Ecuador. As of right now, Senegal is expected to finish #2.
Tunisia: Tunisia is breakout team of the June Window starting off playing in the 2023 African Cup of Nations Qualifying Group Stage Group J. Tunisia opened up defeating Equatorial Guinea at home, with all goals coming in the second half. Tunisia outshot Equatorial Guinea 17 (7) to 3 (1) and out possessed Equatorial Guinea 70% to 30%. Tunisia’s next match was not as impressive as they tied 0-0, away in Botswana. The shot count slightly favored Tunisia (12 (3) to 10 (3)) and the possession also favored Tunisia (58% to 42%), but the scoreline and overall match was even. This was the only blemish on Tunisia’s record for June, as Tunisia would next play in the Kirin Cup Soccer in Japan. Tunisia’s first match in the Semi-finals of the friendly competition, saw Tunisia outplayed by Chile on the stat sheet (15 (4) to 9 (4); 62% to 38%), but Tunisia win 2-0! This was a massive victory for The Carthage Eagles because in the FIFA World Cup, most likely, Tunisia will have to fight against better nations, and will have to be more efficient in order to end up on top on the score board. This type of play will come in handy in Group D at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, where Tunisia will play France, Denmark, and Australia. This June Window has made this Group much more even, as Denmark is still doing well, Australia and Tunisia are doing much better, and France is struggling, but they still have the most talent in Group D. Tunisia closed out their June Window with a massive 3-0 victory in the Kirin Cup Soccer Final over Japan. Despite the Japanese holding 68% of the possession, the Tunisians were more efficient once again with their shots, 8 (4) to 8 (0). Tunisia now has gone from the second weakest nation at the World Cup from Africa, to the strongest right now. Tunisia leads Group J for 2023 African Cup of Nations Qualifiers too, with 4 Points, followed by Equatorial Guinea (3), Libya (3), and Botswana (1).
Morocco: Morocco played poorly against their only World Cup opposition in June, losing in a friendly away to the USA, 0-3. However, despite this loss, Morocco’s stats were good with 47% possession and 22 (8) shots to the USA’s 11 (10). Morocco’s loss signaled that Morocco was not as strong as previously thought. Many people expected Morocco to be turning a corner whereby The Atlas Lions would be battling for the Round of 16 in their fierce Group F at the 2022 FIFA World Cup with Belgium, Croatia, and Canada, and ironically, they probably will be but more so because of the other nations’ performances in June or their recent performances, not as much because of Morocco’s June performance. Morocco followed up this friendly rather quite well with a 2-1 comeback home win over South Africa scoring the match winning goal in the 89th Minute, and outshooting the South Africans 29 (10) to 5 (1), and holding onto 64% possession. The Moroccans followed up this match with a 2-0 away win over Liberia, played in Morocco as well. The Moroccans only shot 8 (2) times to Liberia’s 4 (0), and held onto 67% of the possession. Morocco’s goals in this match came in the 56th and 57th minutes. Morocco leads Group K at the 2023 African Cup of Nations Qualifying Group Stage with 6 Points, while South Africa has 0 and so does Liberia. Zimbabwe has been disqualified and were originally the other nation in this Group. Morocco’s performances seemed wasteful and unimpressive mostly, even though they finished 2-0-1 during June. The expectations are higher than 2 minutes of brilliance against Liberia, and comeback wins against South Africa, in Morocco, but nevertheless, South Africa is a respectable side, so that was a good win. Against the USA, Morocco did not play efficient or very good, but they still have time to fix things with a friendly against Colombia in September, scheduled to be played in France.
Cameroon: Cameroon’s June Window was very strange as they only played one match, in the 2023 African Cup of Nations Qualification Group Stage Group C, against Burundi in Tanzania. The match was considered an away match, and Cameroon dominated Burundi on everything but the scoreboard, with 18 (4) shots to Burundi’s 3 (1) and with 63% possession. However, Cameroon’s inefficiency led to just a 1-0 win for The Indomitable Lions, putting Cameroon temporarily at the top of Group C with 3 points, followed by Burundi with 1 Point, and Namibia with 1 Point. Kenya was disqualified, but were supposed to play in Group C, and were the nation Cameroon was supposed to play first. Cameroon did finish 1-0-0, but it just was not very convincing, and in order to advance out of their very difficult Group G at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, they will need efficient attacking against Brazil, Serbia, and Switzerland. Currently, Cameroon is expected to finish last in Group G, and this June Window did not change this expectation. Burundi is not a horrible side, and technically, could feature Kevin De Bruyne if he would have chosen Burundi to play for, but he did not, so Burundi should not be this difficult of a side for any World Cup team to beat.
Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup:
North America (CONCACAF):
Canada: The 1 time Olympic Gold Medalists Canadians were expected to do much better in their June Window, but a debacle within the federation between the players and the Canada Soccer Association, meant two friendlies were cancelled against IR Iran and Panama. Canada, therefore, only competed in their CONCACAF Nations League A Group C matches. Canada played Curaçao at home and defeated them 4-0! This was a very good win which saw Canada dominate with 22 (9) shots to 5 (0) and 55% possession to 45%. Curaçao is a very good side in CONCACAF and is often at the level of a very low tier World Cup side, however, lately, Curaçao does appear a bit weaker than this. Still, it was a convincing win for the Canada National Soccer Team. Next match, however, was a 1-2 loss against Honduras, away, in a match with a very tough to play on pitch as Central America and the Caribbean had been experiencing lots of rain making a lot of the pitches very muddy. Canada did out possess Honduras 62% to 38% and did outshoot Honduras 9 (2) to 6 (3), but were less efficient. For Canada, this was a match in which Honduras played like Canada is expected to in the World Cup, which is to rely on the counter-attack and less possession to win matches. Honduras is usually a World Cup quality side, and have been minus their 2022 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers where they played very bad. So, in Canada’s defense, they do have the toughest group in the 2022-2023 CONCACAF Nations League. Nonetheless, Canada should be winning their Group, but sit in 2nd with 3 Points, ahead of Curaçao, also with 3 Points, and behind Honduras with 6 Points. Canada does have match in hand though with Honduras and Curaçao. For Canada, we needed to see more and thus, their cancellation of friendlies, and the fact that no matches are scheduled for September as of now, is very worrying for their preparations. Canada will play in Group F at the 2022 FIFA World Cup against fellow Francophone nations, Belgium, Morocco, and Croatia (technically, but not really anymore). This Group appeared wide open, but after June, Belgium and Croatia are once again expected to the top the Group, and mostly because Morocco and Canada did not play as well as expected. In Canada’s defense though, playing away against most Central American opposition, especially in these conditions is almost an impossible task, and so if Canada would have tied or won, this June Window outside of the friendly cancellations would be seen as a success.
USA: The USA played very well in their June Window, opening up with friendlies against Morocco and Uruguay, both World Cup teams with high quality talent. The USA defeated Morocco at home, 3-0, playing very efficiently and accurately having 10 shots on target from 11 total shots, verse Morocco’s 8 shots on target from 22 total shots. The USA also held the possession at 53%. The USA followed up this 3-0 win with a 0-0 home draw against Uruguay, a team on fire that has not lost in 2022, and a team with superior talent to most nations right now. The USA dominated possession with 54%, and had 9 (3) shots to Uruguay’s 12 (4). The match could have gone either way, but USA’s Sean Johnson played very well at goalkeeper, a position that appears to be an issue for the Americans for the first time in quite a while heading into a World Cup. The USA’s next matches were in the CONCACAF Nations League A Group D. The USA played Grenada at home in match which the USA was expected to win by a lot, but only won 5-0. This was a slight disappointment for the Americans, but still, 5-0 over any side, especially one at this level in CONCACAF is impressive. The USA had 25 (10) shots to 3 (0) and 68% possession to 32%. The USA needs to be more efficient to safely advance out of their World Cup Group. The USA’s next match was a difficult one at one of the hardest national team stadiums to play at in the world, the Estadio Cuscatlán in El Salvador. Due to Central America’s and the Caribbean’s extreme rain during that week, USA and El Salvador played on a very rough and muddy pitch, and the Salvadorans did not make life any easier for the Americans with a very rough match, ending with both sides getting a red card. El Salvador went up first, 1-0, due to great awareness to take a shot outside the box on the wing while USA’s goalkeeper, Ethan Horvath, was out of position. However, the USA kept pushing back and in the 90th Minute +1, Jordan Morris scored to level the match up at 1-1. While it was disappointing for the Americans not to win, a draw away to El Salvador is usually a good result given how hard it is to play there, and given how good El Salvador usually is, like right now. The USA currently sit in 2nd place with 4 Points behind El Salvador with 5 Points and in front of Grenada with 1 Point. The USA has a match in hand with both of these sides. The USA will play in Group B at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, against England, Wales, and IR Iran. All of these matches resembled these matches, as Uruguay and England are relatively at the same level, Wales and IR Iran and Morocco are all supposed to be at the same level, and a match away to El Salvador is supposed to simulate the physical and defensive play of El Salvador. With the June window, the USA leaves it with very good experienced gained, and a 2-2-0 record, but one they can improve upon, as against Uruguay and El Salvador, the USA could have won with more chances converted. If the USA can improve, or simply find a better in form striker, and maybe they did with Jordan Morris who has been mostly playing well in wing, the USA will be plenty prepared to win all 3 matches in Group B. As it is, this June Window suggests a 1-2-0 (5 points) finish for the USA, and a top spot in Group B, given how poorly England played, as well as Wales and IR Iran. The USA is trying to schedule some more matches for September against World Cup quality opposition to continue to fine tune their team in time for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Mexico: Mexico played poorly in their June Window, especially for what is supposed to be a Top 10 nation, and a Round of 16 nation. Mexico lost to Uruguay in a friendly in the USA, 0-3, but actually had better or nearly equal stats with 10 (2) shots to Uruguay’s 10 (4) shots, and with 51% possession to Uruguay’s 49% possession. Then, Mexico played Ecuador in a friendly in the USA, and tied 0-0 with 9 (2) shots to Ecuador’s 9 (1) shots, and with 52% possession to Ecuador’s 48% possession. These were Mexico’s two June matches against World Cup opposition, and it appears Mexico is very inefficient right now. Mexico actually played well in terms of stats. Mexico’s next two matches were in the CONCACAF Nations League A Group A. Group A is actually quite tough and features 3 World Cup level nations when two of these nations feature their best players (they usually do not). These two nations are Jamaica and Suriname who would be quality sides if their best players via Jamaican and Surinamese birth, plus diaspora, always came to play. Recently, Suriname and Jamaica have been seeing a lot of these players come, and in the June Window, Suriname and Jamaica both featured a lot of these players. Mexico would play at home against Suriname defeating them 3-0, having dominated the match with 22 (9) shots to 6 (2), and 59% possession. Mexico then played Jamaica away in very tough conditions with due to the heavy rains experienced in the Caribbean and Central America that week. Mexico went down early from a goal from Aston Villa’s Leon Bailey in the 4th Minute, but in the 45th Minute +3, Mexico scored from CF Monterrey’s Luis Romo. Mexico dominated the match with 18 (7) shots to Jamaica’s 8 (3), and had 63% possession. However, in efficiency plagued Mexico and Mexico would only draw 1-1. Mexico sits in 2nd in Group A with 4 Points, behind Jamaica (5), and in front of Suriname (1). Mexico has a match in hand with both Jamaica and Suriname. While it is true Jamaica tends to be very good, Jamaica did just come off of a 0-6 loss away to Catalonia, a non-FIFA member, but a really good one nonetheless. This happened in May, but it is tough to tell if that is representative of Jamaica, or really one just to write off like Brazil’s 1-7 loss to Germany. Overall, Mexico’s performance was not a confidence builder. Mexico will play in Paraguay next at the end of August in the USA, but surely, more matches are needed for this Mexican side to play in to their Top 10 level form. Mexico will play in Group C at the 2022 FIFA World Cup, against archenemies (along with USA) Argentina, Poland, and Saudi Arabia. Given the other nations results, ironically, Mexico probably played well enough to finish 1-1-1 (4 Points) and might have done enough to advance. They also should have gone 3-0-1 in June Window and if that had happened, or even just 2-1-1 instead of 1-2-1, I think Mexico would have played an equivalent to a 2-0-1 record given their Group. Mexico is therefore still probably the expected #2 team, but it is more because of how bad the other nations did in the June Window, than how good Mexico did. Mexico has a lot to improve upon and needs more matches, because this was poor play and they still look like a Round of 16 team given the contexts. Imagine if they improve, how good they can look creating more confidence to go further.
Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup:
- Costa Rica
South America (CONMEBOL):
Brazil: Brazil played two friendlies over the June Window in Asia, against South Korea in South Korea, and against Japan in a friendly tournament called the Kirin Cup Challenge in Japan. Brazil defeated South Korea 5-1 in dominant fashion with 25 (9) shots to South Korea’s 9 (6) and with 60% possession. Against Japan, Brazil only won 1-0 with only 53% possession, but still dominated the shot count 21 (5) to 7 (0). Brazil’s two matches in June show that Brazil is truly the #1 team in the world right now, but also that they can improve. While Japan and South Korea are both good nations, Brazil gave up too many shots against them in both matches for how good Brazil is. Furthermore, Brazil should have controlled the Japan match more, as they only held 53% possession, and only scored 1 goal from a penalty kick in the 77th Minute. Therefore, Brazil needs to be more efficient, and better with passing having only completed 454 passes. Brazil, however, did take home a friendly trophy, the Kirin Cup Challenge. Brazil will play in Group G at the 2022 FIFA World Cup against Serbia, Switzerland, and Cameroon. Brazil’s form of having won 5 and drawn 1 in 2022 suggest Brazil will win all of these matches in Group G, and Brazil is expected to win Group G and advance! Brazil is also predicted to be the favorite to win the World Cup, and with extra friendlies/sort of World Cup Qualifiers coming up in September against Argentina and IR Iran, a continuation in this form will only improve Brazilian confidence. Brazil just needs to warn against complacency.
Argentina: Argentina continued their spectacular form defeating Italy 3-0 in the 2022 Finalissima or CONMEBOL–UEFA Cup of Champions in neutral England at Wembley Stadium. This was a one-off match between the current South American Champions and current European Champions. Argentina’s dominance in the match with 56% possession and dominating the shooting 17 (10) to 7 (3) suggests that Argentina may be back to an attacking juggernaut at the elite level, and a very good defensive team. This was an official trophy and cup competition, a super cup like event too, so it was a good competitive match for the Argentinians. Argentina shoed a diversity in goal scorers too, with Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martínez scoring in the 28th Minute, PSG’s Ángel Di María scoring in the 45th Minute +1, and Juventus’s Paolo Dybala scoring in the 90th Minute +1. This is very good news for Argentina who in the past, has depending on Lionel Messi too much to score, even with the rest of the side they had that was often loaded with talent. However, in the next match, PSG’s Lionel Messi displayed that he could still put Argentina’s team on his back scoring 5 goals against Estonia in a 5-0 friendly victory in neutral Spain with 24 (10) shots to 4 (2) and with 79% possession. Oddly enough, despite Estonia being one of the worst sides in UEFA, Estonia had a good June Window in their UEFA Nations League D Group 2, with a 2-0 home win over San Marino and a 2-1 away victory over Malta, plus a 0-0 friendly draw against Albania. So, Argentina’s 5-0 win over Estonia should not be taken as the reason Argentina is the #2 favorite according to many experts to win the World Cup, rather that should be Argentina’s 3-0 win over Italy and 5-1-0 form in 2022, but it should not be completely overlooked. Still, Argentina needs more quality matches and as of now, has their technically rescheduled FIFA World Cup Qualification match against Brazil in September, that sort of acts as a friendly given the strange circumstances. Argentina should probably schedule one more match against high quality opposition before the 2022 World Cup in addition to Brazil. Argentina will play in Group C at the 2022 FIFA World Cup against Mexico, Poland, and Saudi Arabia, all matches Argentina is expected to win. However, Argentina are rivals with Mexico, Poland and Argentina are sort of rivals due to the amount of Polish people in Argentina, and Saudi Arabia borders the host nation and will almost be like secondary hosts. So, while Argentina should win all three matches, it may prove more difficult than expected. Nonetheless, Argentina is expected to win Group C and advance. In addition, Argentina are seen as the #2 favorites for the 2022 FIFA World Cup as of right now, especially given the poor play of other nations most notably in Europe.
Ecuador: Ecuador had a successful June Window, but a little underwhelming too. Ecuador played 3 friendlies against Nigeria, Mexico, and Cape Verde. Nigeria barely missed out on the World Cup due to the antiquated away goals rule against Ghana, while Cape Verde barely was eliminated in the second to last round of Qualifiers by Nigeria, losing out on points 11 to 13 due to Nigeria’s 2-1 comeback win away against Cape Verde earlier in that round’s Group C. Many people may not know that like basketball, Cape Verde is becoming very good in football, and have finished 7th, 11th, and 15th respectively at the 2013, 2015, and 2021 African Cup of Nations. It is true Cape Verde failed to qualify in 2017 and 2019, but before 2013, Cape Verde had never Qualified for the African Cup of Nations. Nigeria does not need any more introductions of course, having been one of Africa’s best and most consistent teams for a long time now. Ecuador’s other opponent was Mexico, who also Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, and is historically North America’s best nation, and despite a recent poor form, is still a top team in North America. Ecuador played all of these matches in neutral USA. Ecuador won their first match against Nigeria, 1-0, in a very even match with Ecuador having 51% possession and 12 (5) shots to Nigeria’s 14 (4). Ecuador went up in the 4th Minute and held onto the led the whole match, a very impressive feat against quality opposition in Nigeria. Ecuador’s next match was a 0-0 draw against Mexico that was also very even, with both having 9 shots, but Mexico having 2 on target verse Ecuador’s 1 on target, and Mexico having 52% possession. Ecuador’s last match in June against Cape Verde saw Ecuador win 1-0 via a penalty kick goal in the 38th Minute. Ecuador was not efficient enough in this match, having 16 (7) shots to Cape Verde’s 3 (1) shots, and holding 61% possession. While this match was Ecuador’s best, it should have been and Ecuador should have won by more. Ecuador will play in Group A at the 2022 FIFA World Cup against the Netherlands, Senegal, and Qatar. Most people expect the Netherlands to finish #1, and Senegal to finish #2, however, most people expect this #2 position to be tightly contested. After June’s window, now, it is even expected to be more tightly contested leaving many to believe there is no clear #2 in Group A. Ecuador was smart too, because each match simulated one of their matches in Group A, with Nigeria simulating Senegal and Qatar (mostly Senegal), Cape Verde simulating Senegal and Qatar (mostly Qatar), and Mexico simulating both the Netherlands in terms of skill, and Qatar in terms of atmosphere. Mexico has immense home support in the USA and effectively acts as a host nation. However, Nigeria is not quite as good as Senegal, and maybe not even as good as Qatar, and neither is Cape Verde, and then Mexico is not quite as good as the Netherlands right now. With these results in June, Ecuador probably would have gone 2-0-1 in Group A and advanced as the #2 team. Ecuador still needs more practice though and Ecuador is the type of team that plays well against elite opposition, so more elite opponents would be best for Ecuador prior to the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Uruguay: Uruguay is on unbelievable form having gone 6-1-0 in 2022! Outside of Argentina and Brazil, Uruguay is the third hottest team right now in national team football. Uruguay played 3 friendly matches in June, all against North American opposition. Uruguay’s first match was a 3-0 win against Mexico in neutral USA, although it is not really that neutral to play Mexico in the USA because Mexico has lots of fans there. Uruguay did not dominate this match in stats though with the shot count 10 (4) to 10 (2) in favor of Uruguay, but the possession 51% to 49% in favor of Mexico. Uruguay still won though due to their attacking efficiency. In their next match away against the USA, the Uruguayans settled for their first and only non-win of 2022 thus far, a 0-0 draw, where the teams were very equal to one another, with Uruguay dominating the shot count 12 (4) to 9 (3), but the USA dominating possession 54% to 46%. Given that Uruguay is sort of the Atlético Madrid of national teams except Uruguay scores a lot, this lack of possession and shooting advantage is not too much of a worry, rather the results really do matter most even when analyzing stats. Uruguay’s last match of June was a 5-0 win over Panama, a match in which Uruguay outshot Panama 20 (6) to 7 (1) and out possessed Panama 66% to 34%. This match was a very good win for Uruguay because they beat Panama better than how they should have, resembling a 2018 England, heck, a 2018 Uruguay. However, this was Panama’s effective B team, hence the poor display like in the 2018 World Cup when Panama faced many injuries. Still, Uruguay’s recent form and June Window suggests a 2-1-0 (7 Points) Group Stage record. Uruguay will play in Group H at the 2022 FIFA World Cup against Portugal, South Korea, and Ghana, and will be expected to finish #1 or #2 with Portugal and advance to the knockout rounds. Uruguay did not even have their best player through this June Window as Atlético Madrid’s Luis Suárez did not play with Uruguay in June. Group H is expected to come down to goal differential, and it appears Uruguay has their shooting boots on even without their best striker and player. But, Portugal is a scoring juggernaut too, so Group H will be difficult and most likely will come down to a rematch of the 2018 Round of 16 match between Portugal and Uruguay to see who wins Group H. Uruguay won this match 2-1.
Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup:
No teams had previously Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup prior to the Inter-confederation Playoffs so this section is left blanked.
Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup:
- No OFC Teams Qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup