World Cup: Round of 16 fixtures
By Peter Ochieng
Group matches of the 2022 edition of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar are over, with the stage set for round 16 matches starting Saturday evening.
Hosts Qatar, Ecuador, Wales, Iran, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Denmark, Germany, Costa Rica, Belgium, Canada, Uruguay, Ghana, Cameroon and Serbia are out of the tournament after the going got tough.
Sixteen (16) teams among them two African representatives proceed to the round of 16 stage.
They are the Netherlands, USA, Argentina, Australia, France, Poland, England, Senegal, Japan, Croatia, Brazil, South Korea, Morocco Spain, Portugal and Switzerland.
No team, not even 5-time champions Brazil or defending champions France came out of the group stage with maximum 9 points.
Brazil and France lost to African representatives Cameroon and Tunisia respectively by a solitary goal in the last group encounters.
In fact, only Netherlands, England and Morocco head to the round of 16 with unbeaten record, after two wins and a draw in group matches, as Qatar 2022 proves to be World Cup of upsets.
France and Brazil topped group D and G at the expense of Australia and Switzerland, courtesy of a better goal difference. The four teams amassed 6 points each from the group stage.
The round of 16 matches will be staged starting Saturday evening up to Tuesday next week, with two matches on the cards every day as follows:
Saturday, December 03, 2022
Netherlands vs USA – 6pm
Argentina vs Australia – 10pm
Sunday, December 04, 2022
France vs Poland – 6pm
England vs Senegal – 10pm
Monday, December 05, 2022
Japan vs Croatia – 6pm
Brazil vs South Korea – 10pm
Tuesday, December 06, 2022
Morocco vs Spain – 6pm
Portugal vs Switzerland – 10pm
France’s Kylian Mbappe, Alvaro Morata of Spain, Cody Gakpo from the Netherlands, England forward Marcus Rashford and Ecuador’s Ener Valencia are the top scorers so far with 3 goals apiece.
The four, apart from Valencia are still active in the tournament.
Portugal midfielder Bruno Fernandes and Argentina captain Lionel Messi are among the players to have scored two goals, so far.