The showpiece of international soccer is fast approaching, with the World Cup scheduled to kick off at the end of November in Qatar. There has been plenty of controversy surrounding this event but we are now getting closer to the start of one of the most popular competitions in sports.
More than one online betting website has named Brazil as the favorite to win the World Cup this year. But it does seem as though this is one of the most open competitions in the history of the tournament. Here’s a quick guide to some of the teams who are fancied to do well.
It is very rare that Brazil doesn’t go into a World Cup as one of the main favorites – and this year is no different. The South Americans were the first nation to qualify (after the hosts) and are the most successful team in the history of the competition. Victory in Qatar would mean a sixth star incorporated onto their jerseys.
It has been 20 years since Brazil last lifted the trophy but the Selecao managed to get through qualifying without losing a single game. They actually haven’t lost any fixture since the Copa America final against Argentina in July 2021. A relatively easy group should give Brazil the perfect start in Qatar.
France is the current World Cup holder after its victory over Croatia at Russia 2018. Didier Deschamps’ side has also been fortunate with the group draw and should not have too many problems finishing in the top two against Australia, Denmark and Tunisia.
But there are a few worrying question marks for France. Paul Pogba is struggling with an injury that has seen his return to the Juventus starting eleven delayed and his vision and passing ability would be sorely missed. The current Nations League campaign has also been a disaster and an upturn in form is desperately needed.
England’s fans have been desperate for something to celebrate since winning the World Cup on home soil in 1966. There is a feeling in the country that the nation that gave soccer to the world has been overtaken in the rankings. But a runners up spot at the Euros, after getting to the last four of World Cup 2018 did inspire hope.
That feeling has ebbed away slightly in recent months though. Gareth Southgate’s honeymoon period as head coach looks to be well and truly over, after another poor Nations League campaign saw the Three Lions lose to Hungary twice and only draw with Germany and Italy.
Figure 2 Could Messi finally win the World Cup?
With some of the top European sides experiencing a poor 2022 so far it could be one of the South American nations that come away from Qatar victorious. Most eyes will be on Brazil but Argentina has just as much chance. Lionel Messi won his first ever international trophy when Argentina captured the Copa America last year and a World Cup triumph would be the perfect send off.
The team has not lost a single game since the 2019 Copa America and looked very impressive in its 3-0 defeat of Italy in the Finalissima in June. The group stage should cause little trouble and from there Argentina can mount a serious attempt on claiming its third World Cup – and a first since 1986.
It seems as though there are a number of nations that are falling away at just the wrong time. Belgium has been the number one team in the world for years but does not feature in as many favorites lists now. Spain, on the other hand, could be on its way back after a dismal spell in the last few years.
Luis Enrique has been on a rebuilding quest since his appointment in 2019 and he now oversees one of the youngest squads in Qatar. After losing the last Nations League final to France, Spain has steadily improved and looks to be in just the right space to cause what would probably be an upset this year.