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Games not to miss in QATAR 2022 WORLD CUP

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is scheduled to take place in Qatar from 21 November to 18 December 2022. 

Below are some of the matches not to miss in QATAR 2022 WORLD CUP

Brazil v Serbia - Thursday November 24

There are fewer countries on the planet who take the World Cup as seriously as Brazil. Their first outing in Qatar will no doubt be watched by tens of millions in the feverish South American country, all of whom will be dreaming of a first World Cup triumph in two decades. Serbia represent tricky opponents for Brazil. 

They topped their qualification group, with six wins and two defeats from their eight matches, and sealed their spot in style, beating Portugal to secure an automatic berth and consign Cristiano Ronaldo's side to the dreaded play-offs.

The Serbians, who have failed to get out of their group on their last three World Cup appearances, boast the likes of Sergej Milinkovic-Savic in their ranks. The Lazio midfielder could be a Premier League player by the time competition in Qatar kicks-off.

For Brazil, who also went unbeaten in qualifying, Neymar will spearhead the front-line, with Liverpool's Alisson, regarded as one of the best goalkeepers in the world, leading the rearguard action for the five-time world champions

Portugal v Uruguay - Monday November 28

While Ronaldo and Edinson Cavani will almost certainly not be Manchester United team-mates by the time of this crunch Group H contest, it will nonetheless see two greats of the game go head-to-head on the grandest stage.

The fact both Portugal and Uruguay's lines will be led by players with a combined age of 72 says more about Ronaldo and Cavani's longevity, and ability to perform at the highest level, than a lack of depth within the two nations.

It will be fascinating to see if they can both return to the peak of their powers one last time in the often dreary world of international football when they meet in the second round of matches. It is also likely to be both Ronaldo and Cavani's last appearance at the World Cup.

Also in their group are Ghana - more on them later - and South Korea, so this game will have considerable influence on who finishes where in one of the harder sections of the competition to call.

Bruno Fernandes is also set to line up against Cavani, who scored both goals when his side knocked Portugal out in the round-of-16 four years ago, in another United reunion.

Iran v USA - Tuesday November 29

To say their last World Cup meeting was politically-charged would be an understatement.

When the two nations were drawn against one another for the 1998 World Cup in France, there were all sorts of fears and concerns over the fixture due to the enmity between them.

Iran won 2-1 but the result, for some, was irrelevant. The match itself was a diplomatic triumph that facilitated a second game, a friendly in California 18 months later which ended in a 0-0 draw.

This will be just the third time the two countries, whose relations soured again under former US President Donald Trump, have shared a football pitch.

Expect FIFA to make the most of a public relations opportunity to portray football as a tool to bring people together when they clash for the first time in 22 years at the Al Thumama Stadium.

On the pitch, the US will be seeking their first win over Iran. The Iranians have only ever beaten one other team at the World Cup - Morocco in 2018 - and will be aiming for another victory against the Americans.

Spain v Germany - Sunday November 27

This titanic clash between two footballing powerhouses is arguably the biggest in the entire group stage and needs little introduction. Put simply, 2010 winners Spain will take on the team who took their crown four years later.

It is a repeat of the 2010 semi-final, which Spain won 1-0, and the final of the 2008 European Championship, where the Spaniards triumphed by the same scoreline. The match in Qatar will be their third World Cup meeting.

Germany will be out to avenge the 6-0 hammering they suffered at the hands of Spain in the Nations League in their last encounter in 2020, a result which will no doubt be on the minds of the players when they face off in the Gulf nation.

The Germans have won eight of their last nine games since the thrashing by Spain, who, at the time of writing, are fourth favourites with the bookies behind England, France and Brazil.

The game could go some way to determine who will top Group E and, in theory, get a kinder draw in the round-of-16.

Poland v Argentina - Wednesday November 30

Perhaps not the most glamorous of ties on this list but it will involve two of the world's best - Poland's Robert Lewandowski and Argentina star Lionel Messi.

The two players, who have scored a staggering 1,189 combined club goals in their glittering careers to date, have been jostling for the world's top individual honours in recent years.

Messi pipped Lewandowski - who has been linked with a move to Messi's boyhood club Barcelona in recent weeks - to the Ballon d'Or last year before the Polish striker beat the Argentinian to the FIFA Best award for 2021.

The World Cup encounter will be the continuation of their individual rivalry on the pitch, with Lewandowski on the winning side the last time they were on the field together - Bayern Munich's crushing 8-2 win over Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the 2019-2020 Champions League.

Away from the Messi-Lewandowski plot, Argentina will go into the match as favourites and could clinch top spot in the group by beating Poland, who are likely to be contesting second place with Mexico.

Croatia v Belgium - Thursday December 1

This Group F encounter sees 2018 runners-up Croatia take on - according to FIFA at least - the second best team in the world.

Few would argue that the group stage draw did not throw up too many matches of this stature and fans will have to wait until the penultimate day of the group stage for these European heavyweights to go toe-to-toe.

While both teams should have qualified for the knockout rounds by the time they meet at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, it will nevertheless be an intriguing contest involving the likes of Luka Modric and Kevin de Bruyne.

Croatia's best days are perhaps behind them, while there is a belief among some fans that maybe - just maybe - that it might be the year Belgium's golden generation turn their undeniable quality into world glory.

The match at the Ahmed bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan will be the first fixture between these two sides at a major tournament, incidentally.

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