The World Cup is the premier event on the soccer calendar. Coming around only once every four years, it is a worldwide spectacle whenever it takes place. This year is no different. However, there’s a twist with this year’s World Cup already, with it being hosted in Qatar. Usually, the World Cup takes place in between the club football seasons. However, this year sees it being held in the middle of the football season, in November, due to temperatures simply being too hot for Qatar to host the World Cup in the summer months.
Several big names are being thrown into the mix regarding who will win this year’s tournament. Judging by the World Cup odds you can find online, five-time winners Brazil are the ones to look out for. They have many iconic players, considered the best in the world, such as goalkeeper Ederson and global sports superstar Neymar, who plays up front for Paris Saint-Germain in France.
In addition, they also have world-class talent like Vinícius Júnior, the Brazilian who scored Real Madrid’s winning goal in the Champions League final this year. He has become one of the brightest talents in world football and many consider him to be one of the best attacking players in the world at the moment.
France and England are both considered decent outsiders for the trophy. England recently had one of their best international tournament showings in decades, when they got to the final of Euro 2020, narrowly missing out by losing on penalties to the champions, Italy. However, Italy failed to qualify for this year’s World Cup, causing outrage among their fans.
England, on the other hand, will be more optimistic. They have a team full of world-class talent, including their captain Harry Kane, who is considered by many to be one of the deadliest strikers on the planet, the £100m Manchester City midfielder Jack Grealish, and two of the most exciting young talents in world football, Manchester City’s Phil Foden and Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka.
France will share the same quiet optimism. They are the defending champions, after lifting the trophy in 2018, and they will be keen to repeat the same feat. With a team including Champions League winners like Karim Benzema and young superstars such as Kylian Mbappé, it wouldn’t be the greatest shock if they managed to retain their title.
As we move further down the list, Argentina is the next team that springs to mind. The South Americans could be spurred on by their talisman, Lionel Messi, who will likely participate in his final World Cup. Many football fans consider Messi not only the greatest player of his generation but the greatest player to have ever played the game. However, you may find some arguments from fans of Cristiano Ronaldo. The two are considered the greatest players of this century and two of the best ever. It will be sad to see the two of them bow out at this World Cup after providing football fans with so many incredible moments. If Messi can spearhead the Argentinians to victory, it could seal his claim to being the greatest player that has ever lived.
Another argument rages on among the footballing fraternity that Diego Maradona is a better player than Messi, due to his exploits in the 1986 World Cup. If Messi can add a World Cup winner’s medal to his stacked trophy cabinet, it will further strengthen his claim. Of course, the same applies to the legendary Cristiano Ronaldo, but Portugal are considered outsiders due to their overall squad not having the same quality as Argentina.
Argentina has precocious, attacking players such as Messi, Julián Álvarez and Lautaro Martínez. However, they are also ranked outsiders, and it isn’t easy to see past Brazil or France lifting the Jules Rimet trophy in November. It is, however, important to highlight that football is full of wonderful surprises and magical moments.
For example, Greece lifting the Euro 2004 trophy was seen as one of the most unlikely outcomes of the entire tournament. Many people did not think they would get out of the group stages, yet they beat a number of top teams on their way to success. Likewise, Denmark didn’t even qualify for Euro 1992, yet once Yugoslavia had to be replaced in the tournament, Denmark stepped in and won the tournament. Whether we will see such a big surprise this year is unlikely, but football is a funny old game, isn’t it?