As eyes in the footballing world turn firmly towards Qatar 2022™ and interest surges in the FIFA World Cup™ Official Hospitality Packages, we take a look at the form of some of the favourites and weigh up their chances of lifting the trophy as victors.
For some time now European teams have dominated the latter stages at the FIFA World Cup™ with an all European semi-final line-up in Russia and European winners for the past 4 editions. And it seems that Europe is still the powerhouse in terms of early predictions, with France currently running as favourites despite their poor showing at the Euros.
But with the final of the Copa America having at last given Messi a much deserved international trophy in Argentina’s 1-0 win over Brazil, it’s clear to most football aficionados that the strongest threat to European dominance will come from these two South American teams, both of them serial winners.
We took a closer look at the current favourites in order (according to pundits world-wide)
2018 winners and hungry for more, France failed to turn up at this year’s Euros crashing out in the round-of-16 and yet they still remain favourites to retain their trophy at Qatar 2022™. With a stellar squad including Pogba, Griezman, Benzema, Kanté and Mbappe, Didier Deschamps’ team have youth and talent on their side and now have a point to prove to the world after a disappointing summer in 2021. It feels like it may not be talent, but togetherness that may stand in their way, plus Deschamps’ sometimes cautious approach.
Galacticos for sure, members of the current Brazil team grace squads among the world’s elite clubs, yet so far they cannot seem to transfer that potential into silverware, why? Brazil’s last triumph in a FIFA World Cup™ was in 2002 and the ignominy of a 7-1 thrashing to Germany in their home edition in 2014 remains a highly sensitive experience. The current squad including Alisson, Ederson, Marquinhos, Neymar, Casemiro and Fabinho to name but a few have the winning mentality and experience to take Qatar 2022™ by storm yet are still to gel into the winning outfit they could be, most recently losing 1-0 to Argentina in the Copa America.
55 years since it last ‘came home’, England fans are still waiting for an international trophy since their 1966 FIFA World Cup™ success. But with a Semi-
Final in 2018 and pulling up agonisingly short at the Euros this year against Italy, there are signs that it might just ‘come home’ at some point. With the youngest squad out there and an embarrassment of attacking riches with the likes of Sterling, Saka, Sancho, Grealish and talisman, Harry Kane, it feels like manager, Gareth Southgate just needs to ease his hand off the leash a little more and the Three Lions might really roar into life at Qatar 2022™. But his cautious approach has taken them a long way, only conceding once in the whole of this year’s Euros tournament before that agonising loss to Italy on penalties.
It has to happen right? The maestro has to end his truly stellar career by lifting the biggest prize of them all,
the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™? It would be a cruel twist of fate if possibly the world’s greatest player never crowned his achievements with the FIFA World Cup™. Ronaldo got his taste of glory with Portugal’s Euros victory and nobody in football would begrudge Messi his moment in the sun. Their success at the Copa America over Brazil will bring belief but it feels like now or never for this squad as age is not on their side. Messi is 34 and Sergio Aguero, Angel Di Maria and Nicolas Otamendi are all 33 which makes this Argentina team one of the oldest in contention and may well cost them in terms of fitness and stamina over the course of a month of intense games.
Perhaps surprise winners of this year’s Euros, Italy once again proved that you count them out of big tournaments at your peril. The combination of a rock solid defence with veterans Chiellini and Bonucci in the centre and a man mountain goalkeeper in Donnarumma, they had the foundation for their flair players to open up teams. Verratti, Immobile and Insigne have the better of most opposition. Led by excellent coach, Roberto Mancini, while they may currently be fifth in the predictions for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ most likely winners, you only have to look back to their four previous
FIFA World Cup™ titles to rank them as very serious contenders.
As form, injury and qualification battles shape over the coming months this ranking may well change and Expat Sport will continue to keep a sharp eye on all the runners and riders for our readers.
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