This year’s tournament is just around the corner and the anticipation is building for many. As always, there are a host of excellent teams competing for the crown, but it will be heartbreak for many. With so many storylines that could potentially unfold, it’s shaping up to be an exciting one.
Every team comes to a World Cup with a point to prove, very few come with the expectation of winning it, so be sure to take a look at the world cup betting odds to see who the bookmakers have as early favourites.
The Seleção are going to Qatar as tournament favourites. For a team that has five World Cups to their name, they have gone 20 years without winning it – an unacceptable amount of time for Brazilian football fans. Neymar is looking the best he has since his Barcelona days, and he will be looked to as a leader within the camp. Fans all over the world will be holding their breath hoping that the player we all know we all turn up on the big stage.
Brazil has a fantastic mixture of youth, creativity, and experience. They have a wealth of attacking options to pick from and there won’t be a defence at the tournament that fancy coming up against their frontline.
Brazil manager Tite has also announced this will be his last tournament.
At 37, this must be Ronaldo’s last cup and he looks like he’ll be leaving this Portugal side in good shape with perhaps the strongest squad they’ve had in years. There is no doubt who the talisman will be in Qatar though, the whole hopes of a nation will be pinned on Cristiano, and it will be a weight that he’ll happily carry.
For a country that has produced so many of the world’s most gifted players, it’s quite odd to think that Portugal have never placed better than third at a World Cup. Ronaldo will be looking to change that and complete his trophy cabinet, with the World Cup being the only thing missing from it.
Normally there would be few questions around a team as talented as defending champions France. However, with the off-field drama and a host of injuries to key players, there is a sense of anxiousness around the French camp. Captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris alluded to this in an interview given a few months ago.
Two of the three midfielders that started the 2018 final, N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba will both be missing from the squad through injury. It’ll be far more than a big miss; they form part of a spine that has made France so competitive for quite some time now. For most teams that could mean the tournament being over before it’s even started but you can’t rule France.
They’ve called up Madrid duo and future stars, Camavinga and Tchouameni. Two supremely talented players who have the ability to replace the missing duo – they do not have the experience though. Luckily, they do have some depth and are still one of the favourites. When you have players such as Benzema and Mbappe, nothing can be ruled out.
One of the tournament favourites, Argentina will be quietly hoping this is their year. In September of this year, Argentina extended their unbeaten streak to 35 games, the longest active undefeated streak in international football.
After over a decade of heartbreak in finals for Messi and co, they finally managed to jump the hurdle and win the Copa America last year, defeating World Cup favourites Brazil 2-1 in the final.
After several tough years on both a personal and professional level, Messi is back to his best form and will be leading what is perhaps Argentina’s most balanced side he has ever been in. The team is built around giving their star man the space he needs to shine and at his last World Cup, it seems as though the stage is set for Messi to take home the last trophy missing from his extensive cabinet.