With two rounds in the book at the 2022 World Cup, 27 nations still have something to play for going into the final round of games. For some, qualification for the knockout stages might only need rubber stamping. Others might require a miracle. Either way, it is a welcome aspect of this tournament that no group is wrapped up with a set of games left to play.
Unsurprisingly, those who are already through — Brazil, France and Portugal, the only teams to win both their games so far — occupy lofty positions in our power rankings, which assess the most likely teams to win it all on Dec. 18. As such, some teams such as Uruguay and Germany occupy rather high placings even though they have plenty of work to do in the final round of games, reflecting the fact that if they can make it through, they could be a real menace, particularly as a probable second seed who could play havoc with the bracketology.
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Neither of the two teams who have already exited the competition were particularly expected to make a great impact, but Qatar will wonder if they could have given a better account of themselves on home soil instead of seemingly freezing under the lights. As for Canada, they might end up being one of the most impressive teams ever to be eliminated with a game to spare. Only France, Germany and Brazil had more shots through two games than Canada, the only side to have faced two of the four semifinalists from 2018 in those games. Gone too soon but not forgotten, we shall always have that Alphonso Davies header.
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