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2022 World Cup Predictions — Groups A & B: Sadio Mané, Matthijs de Ligt in focus

Sadio Mané and Senegal head the way in the tournament’s first two groups — and what will become of the Americans?

Iran v Senegal - International Friendly Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt - AMA/Getty Images

In this series, BFW staff writers take you group-by-group — plus the Knockouts — through our competing predictions for how the 2022 Men’s World Cup will shake out. The darkest timeline? The dankest timeline? Nailed-on accurate? You decide!

Groups A & B | Groups C & D | Groups E & F | Groups G & H

Group A

RIPLT: Netherlands, Senegal, Qatar, Ecuador

The Netherlands are just too good and are way better than the rest of their groupmates. Senegal will finish behind The Oranje because they are comparatively superior to Qatar and Ecuador, who will finish third and fourth respectively.

zippy: Netherlands, Senegal, Ecuador, Qatar

Senegal will face an uphill climb without Bayern Munich’s Sadio Mané to start, but have plenty of serious talent besides. The defending African champions make short work of Ecuador and Qatar to slot in behind a high-flying Dutch side under Louis van Gaal — just in time for Mané to attempt a sensational but frighteningly early return in the Knockouts.

Group B

RIPLT: England, USA, Wales, Iran

England are 100% finishing first, followed by the United States, Wales, and Iran. The Three Lions’ quality will sweep all before them, while the USA will just about squeeze through ahead of Wales and Iran. The latter two teams will give England and the USA a run for their money, but they’ll ultimately fall short. LAFC star Gareth Bale’s golf clubs won’t be enough, unfortunately.

zippy: England, Wales, USA, Iran

England have their issues under Gareth Southgate, and the exclusion of Brentford’s Ivan Toney will be a topic of discussion every time they don’t score. Those discussions will have to wait, though, as they power through Group B with few issues. The USMNT prove to be a notch off-kilter, their stars too out of form and under too heavy a burden of expectations. That trademark American pluck isn’t enough this time. Afterwards, USA Soccer decides there probably needed to be more MLS players.

Stay tuned next time for Groups C & D!

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