Germany and the Netherlands, main threats to Spain in Doha

Germany and the Netherlands, main threats to Spain in Doha

Luis Enrique's team starts as seeded in the draw for the first World Cup in an Arab country

Ignatius Tyko

“Going to Doha doesn't really appeal to me, but I do want to represent my country. I'm going to experience a draw for a World Cup, something I've never experienced before." That's how sincere the Spanish coach, Luis Enrique Martínez, was after the brilliant win against Iceland achieved on Tuesday at Riazor and that, despite the weakness of some paradoxically tender Vikings, confirms that La Roja is on the right track for Qatar 2022, whose draw for the final phase takes place this Friday at the Convention and Exhibition Center of this capital on the Persian Gulf, starting at 6:00 p.m.

There are still eight months to go before the first World Cup in an Arab country, which will take place from November 21 to December 18, but the draw marks the starting point of the biggest sporting event alongside the Olympic Games. Spain, which has earned one of the eight places as seed, will meet its first three rivals in a tournament under suspicion. FIFA and the different federations will obtain huge benefits, but organizations such as Amnesty International describe this World Cup as the "shameful" one. They argue that Qatar violates human rights, especially of women, and exploits the immigrant workers recruited to undertake the works of the stadiums, with more than 6,500 deaths according to an investigation by 'The Guardian'.

The preparation of the four pots with eight selections are already defined, with only the three teams that will come out as winners of the continental repechages in June to be known and will go to pot 4, that of the theoretical Cinderellas. The pending clashes will face Wales with the winner of the tie between Scotland and Ukraine in the European zone, and also Peru against Australia or the United Arab Emirates and New Zealand as champion of Oceania against Costa Rica, fourth in the European zone. Concacaf.

Brilliant semifinalist with Luis Enrique in the last European Championship, where he fell in extra time with Italy, ultimately champion, and runner-up in the League of Nations, surpassed by France with that controversial goal by Kylian Mbappé, Spain will surely be one of the heads series that no rival wants. Removing Brazil and perhaps France, one step above the rest, equality is maximum and La Roja appears among the candidates. “What I can say is that this team is going to compete with anyone and put anyone in trouble. But let's not make a mistake, anyone can also beat us", sums up Luis Enrique.

The draw will define eight groups of four teams and the path to the final. As three teams from the same continent cannot coincide, Spain knows that if it were lucky for the fearsome Germany or the Netherlands, from pot 2, it would avoid Lewandowski's Poland in pot 3. Even so, there could be a group left from the death formed by Spain, Germany, Senegal (champion of Africa) and Ecuador, for example. Nor would it be easy to measure up to Uruguay, Poland and Cameroon, for example. The two best teams from each group will advance to the round of 16 matches.

2,000 guests

The draw will be attended by 2,000 guests and will be headlined by two-time Women's World Cup champion Carli Lloyd of the United States, former English player of Afro-Caribbean origin Jermaine Jenas and British-Jamaican sportscaster Samantha Johnson. They will be assisted by eight media figures such as the Brazilian Cafu, who will participate in a final draw for the third time after having played three consecutive finals in 1994, 1998 and 2002 and winning two titles; Germany's Lothar Matthäus, who captained Germany to victory in 1990; Nigerian Jay-Jay Okocha, a midfielder who first qualified his country for a World Cup in 1994 and won the Olympic title two years later; Tim Cahill, who represented Australia in the last three editions; Serbian Bora Milutinovic, the only coach who has led five different countries in five World Cups; the Algerian Rabah Madjer, who in 1982 starred in a historic surprise in the victory of his country against the 'Mannschaft'; the Iranian Ali Daei, top scorer for national teams (109) until he was surpassed by Cristiano Ronaldo; and the local idol Adel Ahmed MalAllah, who won silver with Qatar in a youth World Cup and played in the 1984 Olympic tournament.

The Spanish Football Federation (FEF) will be represented by a seven-member delegation, led by President Luis Rubiales, who is also Vice President of the UEFA Executive Committee. As is logical, he will be accompanied by the coach, who is making his debut in an event of this type, as is the sports director José Francisco Molina. to the national team after the abrupt departure of Julen Lopetegui.

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