The FIFA World Cup hosted in Qatar features a host of superstar studded national teams that will be posing threats for other national teams in a bid to be crowned ‘World Champions’. Of course there are teams participating that are said to be favourites to lift the trophy in Qatar, ranging from a whole lot of teams that feature many stars while others are headlined by a significant star that may just lead them to glory. Check out our top 5 favourites to be crowned champions:
- Brazil – South America
One of the heavy favourites to win the tournament is Brazil with all the players they boast in all on-field departments. Brazil have an attack that could give any defence issues, an attack spearheaded by PSG star, Neymar. The Brazilians are record holders of the competition, winning it an impressive 5 times since it was first launched. Their last win of the tournament came in 2002 and the closest they’ve come since then was back in the 2014 edition when they were famously knocked out by Germany (beaten 7-1) in the semi-finals, at the same time being hosts of the competition. Brazil finished first in the South American qualifiers standings with 45 points from 17 games, brilliant performances from them throughout the whole qualifiers leading to many people claiming them as favourites. Now with a seemingly rejuvenated squad and a deadly looking attack, it wouldn’t seem out of reason for someone to rule in Brazil as on of the favourites of the World Cup, and their heritage with football has proven time and time again that you can never rule them out. Danger players: Fowrads – Neymar, Vinicius, Gabriel Jesus, Rodrygo, Richarlison, Midfielders – Casemiro, Lucas Paqueta, Fabinho, Defenders – Thiago Silva, Marquinhos and Dani Alves.
- France – Europe
France are the reigning champions of the world following their triumph in Russia in 2018, beating Croatia 4-1 in the final. A large part of the footballing community is expecting France to retain their crown in Qatar, however their muscle in the midfield might have just taken a huge blow with the absence of N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba to injury. Even so, the 2-time World Cup winners are expected to cause trouble for lots of teams participating in the tournament. Les Bleus finished top of their World Cup qualifiers group D without a single loss to their record (5W, 3D), in all 8 games, scoring a total of 18 goals and conceding only 3. The potential combination of Balon d’Or winner Karim Benzema and young PSG star Kylian Mbappe has the potential of causing huge disasters for any defence they might come up against in the tournament, and that alone makes France heavy favourites to retain their crown. While the ‘World Cup winners curse’ lingers over them where defending champions have been knocked out in the group stages, a tradition that has dated back to France since the 2002 World Cup (Brazil being the only exception). France won 1998 WC then exited in the group stages in 2002, Italy won 2006 WC then followed same trend in 2010, Spain won 2010 WC and exited in the group stages in 2014, Germany wins it in 2014 and couldn’t make it past the group stages in 2018, now it only remains to be seen if France can break a trend that arguably started with them. Danger players : Forwards – Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema, Ousmane Dembele, Midfielders – Edouardo Camvinga, Aurelien Tchoumeni, Defenders – William Saliba, Jules Kounde, Raphael Varane.
- Argentina – South America
Another team from South America has been touted as favourites to lift the World Cup trophy, the Albiceleste, Lionel Messi’s Argentina is searching for their first triumph since Maradona last won it for them in 1986 World Cup. There is a feel-good atmosphere in the Argentinian camp since winning the Copa America against Brazil in 2021, and with a very cherished smile on Lionel Messi’s face that inspires a surge in confidence for his teammates. Argentina fell short of winning the tournament in 2014 when they lost 1-0 to eventual winners Germany in the final, which seemed to crush their confidence as they lost back-to-back Copa Americas in the years to follow. Lionel Messi and co. actually feel like they have a very good chance at winning the tournament this year and that confidence seems to have rubbed onto his followers and football experts alike, including Argentina in the bracket of favourites to lift the trophy. The South Americans had a very unsuccessful 2018 World Cup campaign, exiting in the Round of 16 after being defeated by France 4-3. Argentina however had a near-dominant World Cup qualifying campaign as they finished 2nd in the qualifier standings with 39 points from 17 games, a record of 11 wins and 6 draws to their name, a solid qualifying campaign to put themselves up as favourites for the World Cup. Danger players : Forwards – Lionel Messi (5th WC participation), Angel Di Maria, Lautaro Martinez, Paulo Dybala, Midfielders – Leandro Paredes, Rodrygo De Paul, Alejandro Gomez, Alexis Mac Allister, Defence – Lisandro Martinez, Nahuel Molina, Cristian Romero.
- Netherlands – Europe
The Netherlands are also a team that has been overlooked by most people in the race for the World Cup gold medal. The Dutch have failed to ignite the World championship stage since their 1-0 final loss to Spain in the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, eliminated in the semi-finals in 2014 by Argentina and not qualifying for the 2018 edition. They completed their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign with only 1 loss in their 10 games, scoring a total of 33 goals in the process, with a new look squad and under Louis Van Gaal who was head coach back in 2014. It will be easy for people to over look Netherlands’ credibility as favourites for the competition, but one certainty is the fact that they can’t be ruled out completely in this year’s edition especially since they’ll want to reinstate their status as one of the top teams in the world after missing out on 2 major international tournaments between the 2016 Uefa EUROs and the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The Dutch nationals hold the record for playing the most World Cup finals without ever lifting the trophy, finishing as runner-ups in 1974, 1978 and 2010 World Cups, losing to West Germany, Argentina and Spain respectively. They would be believing that this is their year to finally get their hands on the trophy they have come really close to lifting. Danger players : Forwards – Memphis Depay, Steven Bergwijn, Luuk De Jong, Midfielders – Frenkie De Jong, Teun Koopmeiners, Cody Gakpo, Steven Berghuis, Xavi Simons, Defenders – Virgil Van Dijk, Matheus de Ligt, Nathan Ake, Denzel Dumfries, Stefan de Vrij.
- Germany – Europe
Die Mannschaft have won the 2nd most World Cup titles in history with their 4 triumphs (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014), and so which makes them a constant deadly figure to contend with at the World Cup finals. Germany had a disappointing 2018 World Cup campaign, being knocked out of the group as defending champions, however they have had a strong qualifying campaign, winning 9 of their 10 games and only losing 1 of them, finishing with a total of 27 points. They also crashed out of the UEFA EUROs 2020 in the round of 16 after a defeat to finalists England, who later were beaten by Italy on penalties. The Germans will be wanting to re-establish themselves as a powerful footballing nation as per the perspective of their historic feats, and they really do believe, as well as pundits alike, that they can re-assert themselves as serious challengers. The 2014 World Cup winners pack a different squad from their championship winning squad, and with new manager Hansi Flick, who won a sextuple in his first full season with Bayern Munich, Die Mannschaft cannot be faulted for their confidence coming into this World Cup campaign. Danger players : Forwards – Serge Gnabry, Thomas Mueller, Leroy Sane, Kai Havertz, Midfielders – Joshua Kimmich, Jamal Musiala, Ilkay Gundogan, Defenders – Niklas Sule, Antonio Rudiger, Cristian Gunter.
It is a difficult task to predict the outcomes of the World Cup especially when it comprises of such superstar studded teams in the tournament. The likes of England, Belgium, Spain and even Senegal are being considered to also stand a chance at global gold. The outlines of many pundits and experts are the already mentioned five countries we’ve highlighted above, but you can always let us now who your favourites are on our Twitter (@BET_ON_IT) and Facebook (Marshalls World of Sport).