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What next for the 2022 World Cup flops?

There have been giant killings at the World Cup. We take a look at five teams who failed to live up to expectations in Qatar and assess where they go from here

David Raum of Germany

It would be fair to say that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar has produced more than its fair share of surprises and there is still time for a few more to occur.

The pre-tournament favourites listed at, Brazil and France, have made it through to the quarter-finals, but several other fancied teams have exited the tournament.

With that in mind, we take a look at five teams who failed to live up to expectations in Qatar and assess where they go from here.


When you have won the World Cup on four previous occasions, two successive group stage exits is guaranteed to spark plenty of debate.

However, unlike 2018, Germany can perhaps count themselves unfortunate not to have at least progressed to the last-16.

They were caught with their pants down against Japan, before taking four points from two games against Spain and Costa Rica.

If they can learn from the handful of mistakes they made at this tournament, expect Germany to be much stronger when they host the 2024 European Championships.


Spain manager Luis Enrique talked a good game before the World Cup, but then oversaw a campaign where some familiar failings came back to haunt them.

The round of 16 game against Morocco summed Spain up to perfection as they had 77 percent of possession and completed 926 passes out of 1,1019 attempted.

Despite their dominance with the ball Spain had just one shot on target – a shocking statistic for a team with designs on winning the World Cup.

Moving forward, Spain must temper their obsession with overplaying by taking more risks to create chances. More failure awaits if they fail to adapt their style.


Belgium were among the favourites with GGBET to finally get their hands on major silverware, but they were unable to get out of their group.

Their so-called ‘Golden Generation’ were lucky to beat Canada in their opening game, before failing to score against Morocco and Croatia in their final two outings,

Bickering between the players did not help their cause, while manager Roberto Martinez’s inability to deviate from his Plan ‘A’ cost them dearly.

With Martinez exiting and several veteran players likely to follow suit, Belgium’s next wave of talent must step up to the plate and prove they are up to the job of winning at the top level.


Mexico are perennial underachievers at the World Cup, but their exit from the group stage in Qatar was still a major surprise.

A third goal against Saudi Arabia in their final game would have sent them through to the last-16, but they were unable to convert their chances.

Mexico had progressed to the knockout stage in each of the last seven tournaments, and they were quarter-finalists on home soil in 1986.

As joint hosts alongside the United States and Canada in four years, Mexico will be keen to improve their fortunes on the world’s biggest stage.


For anyone who believes in karma, Uruguay’s exit from the World Cup at the group stage was undoubtedly a cause for celebration.

After failing to score in their first two matches, Uruguay needed to beat Ghana in their final game and hope for a little help from elsewhere.

The history between the two sides – Luis Suarez’s handball in the 2010 World Cup – added another layer of drama to what unfolded at the Al Janoub Stadium.

A 2-0 victory was not enough to send Uruguay through and their frustration spilled over at the end of the game. It could take them some time to recover from the disappointment.

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