World Cup 2022 preview: Group G

We take a closer look at Group G, featuring favourites Brazil, hipsters' choice Serbia, dependable Switzerland and wildcard Cameroon.

By Alex Bowmer Published: 18 November 2022 - 2.50pm
Neymar

All eyes will be on Brazil in Group G as Tite looks to guide the nation to a first World Cup title in 20 years.

But Serbia, after an impressive qualification campaign, and a typically competitive Switzerland side shouldn't be ignored.

Both could give Brazil a headache, while Cameroon are more than capable of producing an upset too.

Here's how each team reached the finals, as well as insight into their best players, manager and strengths and weaknesses.

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Group G

Brazil

Brazil

FIFA ranking: 1st

Squad's top scorer: Neymar - 75 goals / 121 apps

World Cup qualifying position: 1st (CONMEBOL)

Best World Cup finish: Winners (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)

Route to qualification:

Possibly one of the most impressive qualifiers of all, Brazil scored 40 goals and conceded just five in 17 qualifying games, winning 14 and drawing the other three. 

Star man:

Neymar is in sensational form for Paris Saint-Germain and arrives at the tournament following a ludicrous World Cup qualifying campaign on a personal level in which he produced 16 goal involvements (eight goals, eight assists) in just 10 games.

He continues to be the figurehead for Tite's Brazil and has a wealth of talented team-mates around him. The time for world title number six is now. 

Manager:

Tite has been in charge since 2016 and has a 2019 Copa America title to his name, although that crown slipped from their head when Argentina defeated them in the 2021 final. 

Strengths:

Quite simply, their depth is astonishing. It's a close-run thing between Alisson and Ederson in goal, the likes of Marquinhos, Thiago Silva and Eder Militao are all amazing centre-back options and Fabinho, Bruno Guimaraes, Fred and Casemiro are all vying for a holding midfield spot, while Neymar plays ahead of an attacking three of Antony, Lucas Paqueta and Vinicius Junior (with Richarlison, Gabriel Jesus, Rodrygo, Raphinha and Gabriel Martinelli all available to come on off the bench). 

Weaknesses:

You could argue that Fred and Fabinho are possible weak links given their inconsistent form at club level, while injury to Danilo will leave Tite relying on 39-year-old Dani Alves. 

TURIN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 15: (L-R) Neymar Jr of Brazil and Dani Alves of Brazil during the Brazil Training Session at Juventus Training Center on November 15, 2022 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Stefano Guidi/Getty Images) 2022 Stefano Guidi
Neymar & Dani Alves - Brazil

Serbia

Serbia

FIFA ranking: 21st

Squad's top scorer: Aleksandar Mitrovic - 50 goals / 76 apps

World Cup qualifying position: 1st in Group A (UEFA)

Best World Cup finish: Group Stage (2010, 2018)

Route to qualification:

Serbia were mightily impressive in pipping Portugal to top spot of their qualifying group as the two met on the final matchday, with Aleksandar Mitrovic scoring a dramatic 90th-minute winner to leapfrog their rivals and complete the comeback in Lisbon. 

Star man:

Mitrovic, as the chant goes, has been on fire for both club and country over the last 15 months. He has the ability to help out in both boxes and can even relieve pressure by carrying the ball up the pitch, while his link-up play has also come on leaps and bounds. Of course, it's his heading, predatory finishing and strength for which he's most known. Expect to see all those attributes in Qatar. 

Manager:

Under Dragan Stojkovic, Serbia have earned promotion to Nations League A, seeing off Erling Haaland's Norway in the process, while qualifying for their second successive World Cup. Serbia has never qualified for the knockout stage of the tournament as a separate nation. It's hard to imagine them having a better chance. 

Strengths:

With Mitrovic carrying an injury heading into the tournament, Stojkovic can call on precocious 22-year-old Dusan Vlahovic to shoulder the goalscoring burden. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has been one of the best creators in Europe this season, while Filip Kostic possesses a wicked delivery from the left.

Weaknesses:

Mitrovic has five of Serbia's last nine goals. Despite Vlahovic's capabilities, losing the country's record goalscorer would undoubtedly be a blow.

Aleksandar Mitrovic - Serbia

Switzerland

Switzerland

FIFA ranking: 15th

Squad's top scorer: Xherdan Shaqiri - 26 goals / 109 apps

World Cup qualifying position: 1st in Group C (UEFA)

Best World Cup finish: Quarter-finals (1934, 1938, 1954)

Route to qualification:

Switzerland leapfrogged Italy on the final matchday by beating Bulgaria 4-0 to finish the campaign unbeaten, while the Azzurri drew 0-0 in Northern Ireland. 

Star man:

Granit Xhaka's redemption story at Arsenal has been remarkable, and the national team captain's newfound attacking prowess along with his midfield tenacity will be an asset to Murat Yakin.

Manager:

Yakin recently presided over a Nations League of two halves, with three losses on the bounce followed by three wins, against Portugal, Spain and the Czech Republic. 

Strengths:

Manuel Akanji is a reassuring presence at centre-back, while Xhaka and Remo Freuler are an effective midfield partnership. Breel Embolo is also in a rich vein of form for new club Monaco and should provide Yakin's men with some cutting edge. 

Weaknesses:

Despite exciting young attacking players like Embolo and Ruben Vargas, Switzerland can be a tad conservative at times, with a lack of creativity often the reason for the odd poor result. 

Granit Xhaka - Switzerland

Cameroon

Cameroon

FIFA ranking: 43rd

Squad's top scorer: Vincent Aboubakar - 33 goals / 90 apps

World Cup qualifying position: Third round play-off winners against Algeria (CAF)

Best World Cup finish: Quarter-finals (1990)

Route to qualification:

After seeing off Ivory Coast to finish top of their group, Cameroon then looked to be heading out of qualifying in agonising fashion as Algeria scored in the 118th-minute goal to move 2-1 ahead on aggregate in their play-off.

However, there was a further twist in the tail when Karl Toko Ekambi popped up to net in the fourth minute of added time in extra time. Madness. 

Star man:

Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa's ability to glide forward with the ball and turn defence into attack is a key component of this Cameroon side. The midfielder is in superb form for an unbeaten Napoli outfit in Serie A and will be massively important to the Indomitable Lions. 

Manager:

Toni Conceicao was sacked as Cameron's head coach in March on the orders of the country's president, Paul Biya. The man to take Conceicao's place? Rigobert Song, who was promoted from a role coaching the country's U23s. 

Strengths:

Vincent Aboubakar was on fire as this year's AFCON, easily finishing as top scorer with eight goals, while Toko Ekambi, excelling at Lyon, bagged five at the tournament. Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is arguably in the form of his life at Bayern Munich, while Bryan Mbeumo is enjoying life at Brentford. A potentially very potent front four. 

Weaknesses:

The left side of Cameroon's defence, comprising Nicolas Nkoulou and Nouhou Tolo, looks like an area for opposition wingers to target.

YAOUNDE, CAMEROON - JANUARY 17: VINCENT ABOUBAKAR of Cameroon during the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 group A match between Cape Verde and Cameroon at Stade d'Olembe in Yaounde on January 17, 2022. (Photo by Visionhaus/Getty Images) Visionhaus 2022
Vincent Aboubakar - Cameroon