Sunday 03 April 2022, 17:00

The Final Draw in stats

  • The Final Draw for Qatar 2022 unfolded on Friday

  • We highlight some intriguing stats it threw up

  • Lewandowski, Messi, Scaloni and Van Gaal feature


Lionel Messi (81) and Robert Lewandowski (75), the fifth and joint-11th leading marksmen in international football history, have scored 156 goals for their countries between them. They have never met at international level, but have three times at club level, with both scoring twice in those encounters. The last ended in Lewandowski inspiring Bayern Munich to an earth-shaking 8-2 victory over Barcelona in a UEFA Champions League quarter-final.

SOCCER: Champions League - FC Barcelona vs Bayern Munich - UEFA Champions League Quarter Final - 14/08/2020


Fifty-two places exist between Portugal (8th) and Ghana (60th) on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking – the biggest gap between teams who will meet in the group stage. If Wales qualify, as things stand, there would be only 16 places between the highest- and lowest-positioned nations in Group B: England (5th) and IR Iran (21st).


Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon have a whopping 51 World Cup participations between them. Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland come next on 46. Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal and the Netherlands cumulatively have only 15 participations.


Lionel Scaloni and Tata Martino were both born in Santa Fe and were briefly team-mates 27 years ago, when the former broke into the Newell’s Old Boys first team and the latter was winding down his career. Another native of the Argentinian province knows the Mexico coach well. Martino had Lionel Messi at his disposal while he was in charge of Argentina and Barcelona.


There is 25 years between Senegal’s Aliou Cisse and Louis van Gaal of the Netherlands – the biggest age gap between coaches who will square off in the group stage. Van Gaal, who will turn 71 in August, had already won 16 trophies in charge at Ajax and Barcelona by the time Cisse made his Senegal debut in 1999.


Three groups feature two coaches who went to the World Cup as players. England’s Gareth Southgate (1998 and 2002) and USA’s Gregg Berhalter (2002 and 2006) will compete in Group B, Serbia’s Dragan Stojkovic (1990 and 1998) and Cameroon’s Rigobert Song (1994, 1998, 2002 and 2010) in Group G, and Korea Republic's Paulo Bento (2002) and Ghana’s Otto Addo (2006) in Group H. Senegal’s Aliou Cisse (Group A), Argentina’s Lionel Scaloni (Group C), France’s Didier Deschamps (Group D), Spain’s Luis Enrique (Group E), and Morocco’s Vahid Halilhodzic (Group F) ensure that, surprisingly, every group has a coach who has been to the competition as a player.

FIFA World Cup France 98


Group D comprised two of the earliest nations to reach Qatar 2022: Denmark (3rd) and France (5th). Group H, featuring Portugal, Ghana, Uruguay and Korea Republic, is the only one which doesn’t have at least one side that qualified last year.


Group A , which features Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal and the Netherlands, is the only section in which every fixture will happen for the first time at the World Cup. La Tri, despite playing ten matches in the competition, are set to play against African and Asian opposition for the first time. The six games in Group G, comprising Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon, have between them occurred ten times in the competition.


England-Scotland is the oldest fixture in international football, but none of their 115 clashes over 150 years have occurred in the World Cup. That will change if Scotland get past Ukraine and Wales and qualify from Path A of the European play-offs. The Three Lions will play on the opening day of a World Cup for the first time since 1966, when they drew 0-0 with Uruguay but went on to lift the trophy.