Spurs legends preview the World Cup - Martin Jol on Group A
Sun 13 November 2022, 09:30|Tottenham Hotspur
The greatest football show on earth kicks-off next weekend as Qatar hosts the World Cup.
The first match sees the hosts up against Ecuador at the Al Bayt Stadium on Sunday week, 20 November (4pm). That begins a run of 48 matches across eight groups until Friday 2 December. The knockout stage begins the next day, 3 December, with the final on Sunday 18 December.
With the tournament looming, we've called on a number of Spurs legends - players and managers - to preview the groups, with an eye on their respective country.
First up, Martin Jol on Holland and Group A...
Qatar, Ecuador, Senegal, Netherlands
20/11 - Qatar v Ecuador; 21/11 - Senegal v Holland; 25/11 - Qatar v Senegal, Ecuador v Holland; 29/11 - Qatar v Holland, Senegal v Ecuador.
Spurs manager from 2004-2007, Martin guided the team back into Europe with fifth place in the Premier League in 2005/06. He played for ADO Den Haag, Bayern Munich, West Brom and Coventry, and after leaving Spurs, managed Hamburg, Ajax, Fulham and won the Egyptian title with Al-Ahly.
"I believe Holland are the strongest team here and will win the group. Okay, Senegal are African champions, and they have some good players like Khalidou Koulibaly, he’s at Chelsea, another centre-back called Abdou Diallo, he’s at PSG and he’s been loaned to Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig, he’s also good. Spurs have a player, Pape Matar Sarr, also Idrissa Gueye, back at Everton from PSG and Cheikhou Kouyate at Forest. Of course, losing Sadio Mane to injury is a big blow, but I believe Holland have better players. I watched Qatar in the Arab Cup against Emirates, and they were 5-0 up at half-time! In that region, they are good, but how good are they? They have some good results, but they also lost recently to Canada. Ecuador, they have a few players at Brighton, Caicedo, Estupinan and Sarmiento. Hincapie is at Bayer Leverkusen. They are a typical South American team who like to play on the transition, but they still are not too productive. Looking at the group, Holland have the best team, but some of our top players aren’t playing, like Stefan de Vrij, who was Serie A best defender (2019/20), but he’s not playing at the moment at Inter. Memphis Depay isn’t playing at Barcelona. The stable one is Virgil van Dijk at Liverpool, also Denzel Dumfries. Daley Blind is one of our best passers of the ball, but there are questions about him. We play with five at the back at the moment, Louis van Gaal has switched to a 3-5-2, sometimes a 3-4-3, like Antonio Conte plays, and he’s unbeaten. So, Senegal could be a threat, they have a strong spine, and I believe Ecuador will be stronger than Qatar, but as I said, I think we will be first in the group."
Next up - Group B - England's group with Iran, USA and Wales - previewed on Monday...