The biggest tournament in soccer, the 2022 FIFA World Cup, kicked off on November 20 in Qatar. Fans worldwide are expected to descend on the Gulf country in huge numbers to witness the gala sporting event that only happens once every four years. Thirty-two qualifying nations will participate in the Middle East’s first-ever soccer World Cup; naturally, anticipation is rising. So, who are the favorites and who are the underdogs? As teams across continents get ready to battle it out and lift the coveted trophy, let’s take a closer look at the World Cup 2022’s latest odds and predictions.
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The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Draw
The 2022 World Cup began on November 20 at Al Bayt Stadium with a match between Qatar — the only team making their debut in the FIFA World Cup — and Ecuador. For the first 12 days of the tournament, the group stage will hold four matches a day. Knockout stages begin on December 3. On Qatar National Day — December 18 — the world will witness the rise of a new champion at the Lusail Stadium in Doha.
The 2022 World Cup starts with 32 teams in eight groups of four. From each group, the top two teams will go through to the knockout rounds, such as the Round of 16, quarterfinals, semifinals, plate match, and final. Here’s the complete list of qualifying teams inside their respective groups:
- Group A: Qatar, the Netherlands, Senegal, and Ecuador.
- Group B: England, Iran, United States, and Wales.
- Group C: Argentina, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and Poland.
- Group D: France, Denmark, Australia, and Tunisia.
- Group E: Spain, Germany, Japan, and Costa Rica.
- Group F: Belgium, Croatia, Morocco, and Canada.
- Group G: Brazil, Switzerland, Serbia, and Cameroon.
- Group H: Portugal, Uruguay, South Korea, and Ghana.
Who Are the Favorites?
Can France become back-to-back champions? Will England repeat their Euro success? Can Lionel Messi help Argentina end their long trophy drought in his fifth and final World Cup? Here are the latest odds and predictions in each group:
- Group A: Netherlands -223, Senegal +400, Ecuador +550, and Qatar +1,600.
- Group B: England -304, USA +600, Wales +550, and Iran +1,800.
- Group C: Argentina -223, Poland +450, Mexico +450, and Saudi Arabia +2,500.
- Group D: France -250, Denmark +275, Australia +2,000, and Tunisia +1,400.
- Group E: Spain -112, Germany +110, Japan +1,200, and Costa Rica +5,000.
- Group F: Belgium –200, Croatia +250, Morocco +1,000, and Canada +1,200.
- Group G: Brazil -250, Switzerland +500, Serbia +600, and Cameroon +1,200.
- Group H: Portugal -154, Uruguay +200, South Korea +1,100, and Ghana +1,100.
Top Favorites To Win the World Cup
Brazil, France, Argentina, and England are currently the top picks to win the World Cup. In fact, speculations are rife that Brazil will defeat England in the final. So which teams are the most likely to meet head-on in Qatar? Let’s find out:
Brazil — 4/1
It’s been 20 years since Brazil — the former five-time champions — became winners at the world’s biggest soccer stage. However, 30-year-old Neymar has the potential to create history in Qatar. With 75 goals in 121 matches, he is the second-highest goal scorer after Pele for the South American country. Brazil, arguably the best defensive team in the world, not only finished the qualifiers undefeated, but they also finished as the top-scoring team with 40 goals in 17 games.
France — 6/1
The reigning champions have the potential to become only the third team in the history of the World Cup to defend their title. After a disappointing Round of 16 exit to Switzerland at Euro 2020, the European powerhouse bounced back to win the 2021 UEFA Nations League. They have Kylian Mbappe, who, at just 23, has become the face of French soccer with his exceptional dribbling abilities. At the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Mbappe won the FIFA World Cup Best Young Player for his role in France’s victory.
Argentina — 11/2
Argentina comes in as the huge favorite to win the World Cup. The two-time world champions remain unbeaten in their past 35 competitive matches. In addition, they arrive at the 2022 World Cup after winning the 2021 Copa America final against Brazil. Argentina has a pattern and a style, and they are high on confidence. In addition, they have Lionel Messi. As a result, there is a growing sense that a glorious finale could be in the cards as Messi, who has scored 90 international goals in 164 games for Argentina, plays his last World Cup.
England — 7/1
England — the 2021 European Championship runners-up — is young but talented and looks to secure their first major trophy since 1966. Harry Kane, England’s striking talisman and captain, was instrumental in the Three Lions reaching the 2018 World Cup semifinals. The 28-year-old, one of the world’s best strikers, led his country to a third-place finish in the inaugural UEFA Nations League in 2019. He also scored 12 goals in eight games during qualification for EURO 2020. Though the team lost the match to Italy on penalties, it hasn’t shortened their odds when it comes to the 2022 World Cup.
Top Underdogs To Win the World Cup
If not Brazil, then France, Argentina, England, Spain, Germany, and Portugal could stand a chance of winning the FIFA 2022 World Cup. Here’s why:
Germany — 10/1
One of the most successful teams at the FIFA World Cup — winning the title four times — Germany is perhaps the strongest underdog in Qatar. They have a solid defense, can keep possession of the ball throughout the game, and score goals in crucial moments. The 2014 World Cup champion’s squad has most of the leading Bayern players, including Manuel Neuer, Joshua Kimmich, and Thomas Muller. Next month in Qatar, they are expected to play to equal five-time world champions Brazil as record FIFA World Cup winners.
Portugal — 14/1
Though they have appeared in the finals of the FIFA World Cup on seven occasions, Portugal has never won the World Cup. However, their side this year is led by 37-year-old Cristiano Ronaldo, who has won seven league titles, five UEFA Champions Leagues, and the UEFA European Championship. Ronaldo finished as the top scorer at the 2020 European Championship with five goals, despite Portugal’s Round of 16 exit. Since he is also playing his last World Cup and it is his last chance to win the coveted title, Portugal comes in as a favorite to become the champions.
Spain — 15/2
The 2010 World Cup winner could surprise everyone in Qatar. Álvaro Morata, Spain’s knight in shining armor, is often compared with Fernando Torres and Fernando Morientes due to his playing style. Before the team lost the 2021 UEFA Nations League final to France, Morata’s late goal helped Spain beat Portugal. Luis Enrique’s side is full of talented youngsters and will be looking to cause an upset at this year’s World Cup.
Who Can Win the Golden Boot?
With 16 goals in 24 matches, German striker Miroslav Klose holds the record for most FIFA World Cup goals in history. There are many players in the 22nd edition of the competition who may not break the record but can potentially win the coveted Golden Boot. Here are the top four:
Lionel Messi — 10/1
Messi has set records by winning the Ballon d’Or award seven times and earning six European Golden Shoes. The Argentine skipper is the country’s all-time leading goal scorer (90), holds the record for most goals in La Liga (474), and has already scored seven goals in 12 games in the 2022-23 season.
Cristiano Ronaldo — 17/1
The Portuguese superstar has won five Ballon d’Or awards and four European Golden Shoes. With more than 100 goals, the Manchester United forward is also the nation’s all-time top goal scorer. The most accomplished European goal scorer of all time, Ronaldo won the Golden Boot at the Euro 2020 as well.
Harry Kane — 7/1
The Tottenham Hotspur striker and the England national team captain, Kane has scored 51 goals in 75 games for his country. Kane, who led England to the runner-up position at UEFA Euro 2020, won the Golden Boot at the 2018 FIFA World Cup — the first English player to win the award since 1986. In addition, the talented soccer player scored back-to-back first-half hat-tricks in the 2022 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, which helped England enter the competition.
Kylian Mbappe — 8/1
The 20-year-old PSG forward is one of the fastest soccer players around. The youngest player to score 35 Champions League goals, Mbappe has scored 28 goals in 59 games for France. He finished as the Ligue 1 top scorer for four seasons.