There isn’t long to go until the start of the FIFA World Cup 2022. For the first time in history, the competition will be held in the Arab world, and it will only be the second time that the World Cup has been held in Asia. It will be a competition unlike anything that we have seen previously, as it will be played across November and December for the first time due to the heatwave in Qatar over the summer months.
That means that leagues across Europe will be paused mid-season for the World Cup this year, which adds only further intrigue when it comes to the leading contenders to claim success. But, who are among the early front-runners to win the World Cup this year, according to the Betway odds?
It has been 20 long years since Brazil last got their hands on the World Cup, with their most recent success coming in 2002 following a 2-0 win against Germany. However, as of June 27, Betway currently has Brazil as the 5/1 favourites to win a sixth World Cup honour. Brazil has reached at least the quarterfinal stage in each of the previous seven editions of the competition, which includes their run to that stage in 2018.
The national side faced no issues in securing their place at the competition later this year during qualification, as they finished top of the CONMEBOL standings with 14 wins from 17 games. They boasted the best attacking and defensive records, but the biggest tests will come in Qatar.
Brazil has so often come up short when coming up against the best national teams on the planet in previous editions of the competition, but there is a sense that they have the strongest squad coming into the World Cup this year, and the temperatures are also likely to be a key factor in their favour.
You’d be hard-pressed to find a squad as deep as France’s coming into the World Cup later this year, and that strength in depth could be key to their chances in Qatar. The reigning world champions easily qualified for the World Cup finals, and have also added Nations League success since winning this competition four years ago. However, memories of the European Championships are still very fresh for the French, as they could only reach the round of 16 before they were eliminated on penalties by Switzerland.
France’s record in the World Cup has also been extremely sketchy since the turn of the millennium, as they have been knocked out at the group stage on two occasions. However, their dominance in the previous World Cup was clear for all to see. They should face a few issues in reaching the knockout round this year after being drawn alongside Australia, Tunisia, and Denmark, but their first big test could come in the first knockout round against England.
That leads nicely onto the third choice in the betting, as England is currently a 7/1 chance to win their second World Cup honour. There is little doubt that the Three Lions are building something special under Gareth Southgate, as few nations have the quality young players boasted by England. However, whether Southgate is the man to lead England to second major honour remains up for debate.
England has had excellent chances in the previous two competitions, which includes their third-place finish at the World Cup four years ago. The Three Lions came up short once again at EURO 2020, as they were beaten on penalties by Italy, despite leading 1-0 early in the game.
England had been the favourites to win the World Cup before the most recent international break, but a pair of defeats against Hungary and underwhelming performances against Germany and Italy has led to some believing that this may not be their chance to end their long wait for a major honour. However, there is always a chance that England can win the World Cup this year given the excellent quality in the forward areas that the Three Lions boast. But, defensively, there are certain issues that need addressing.
It will be the last opportunity for Lionel Messi to end his career with a World Cup later this year, and the Argentinean is certainly a key factor behind his national side being the fourth choice in the betting. It has been an excellent 12 months or so for Argentina, as they claimed success in the Copa America in 2021 to showcase that they have all the required trademarks to go far in the World Cup this year. However, you’d have to go all the way back to 1986 for their second, and most recent, success in the World Cup.
They reached the final of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, but they were agonisingly beaten in extra time by Germany. Their performances at the previous World Cup were less inspiring, as they narrowly avoided a group stage exit before eventually being dumped out by France after a classic in the round of 16. Still, with Messi at the forefront of their forward line, it’s hard not to see Argentina making a bold bid for World Cup glory this year.
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