Whereas there have been some huge shocks upon the conclusion of the eight respective teams on the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, because the likes of World No.2 Belgium, four-time world champions Germany and Euro 2020 semi-finalist Denmark crashed out a lot sooner than anticipated within the Center East, there have been additionally some shock names within the draw for the spherical of 16.
That mentioned, let’s check out three of the nations who exceeded the bar of expectation at this yr’s World Cup.
Australia have progressed from the group levels of the World Cup on only one earlier event — when their Golden Technology of Tim Cahill, Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka and Mark Schwarzer helped them safe second place behind Brazil in Group F of the 2006 World Cup in Germany, which ended with defeat to Italy within the spherical of 16.
Quick ahead to immediately, and with out a actual family title and ranked 38th on the planet, few would have positioned a wager on World Cup for the Socceroos to make it of the teams for a second time — particularly when it contained defending world champions France and World No.10 Denmark alongside Tunisia.
Nonetheless, they proved they weren’t simply within the Center East to make up the numbers after they took a 1-0 lead towards Les Bleus early on. The Socceroos couldn’t maintain on towards France, ultimately dropping 4-1, however 1-0 victories over Tunisia and Denmark secured an unlikely second.
One other nation you by no means would have predicted to progress from the opening levels, as they have been paired within the ‘Group of Loss of life’ with European powerhouses Spain and Germany, Japan not solely progressed to the spherical of 16 — however they did so in first place towards all the chances.
The Samurai Blue surprised Germany of their opening sport of the group, which was dubbed because the second greatest upset of this yr’s event after Saudi Arabia shocked Argentina with a 2-1 victory simply 24 hours earlier.
However after they misplaced to Costa Rica subsequent day trip, it seemed like that win was nothing greater than a flash within the pan from the Samurai Blue. Nonetheless, Japan have proved themselves as actual darkish horses after getting back from a objective right down to beat Spain 2-1 and prime the group forward of Luis Enrique’s facet.
One other nation who completed prime of their respective group after they weren’t even anticipated to progress, a Hakin Ziyech-inspired Morocco took the No.1 spot in Group F — leaving 2018 finalists Croatia, Belgium and Canada starring up at them in awe.
The Atlas Lions held Croatia to a bore draw of their opening sport — stopping the Blazers from scoring for the primary time of their final 12 World Cup video games — earlier than beating Belgium 2-0, which meant a victory over Canada would see them by means of.
Morocco got here flying out of the blocks at Al Thumama Stadium, Ziyech scoring inside 4 minutes of the primary whistle earlier than Youssef En-Nesyri doubled their lead within the 23rd minute. A Nayef Aguerd personal objective earlier than half-time allowed Canada again within the sport, however Morocco held on for the 2-1 win.