We’re about 18 months away from the next FIFA World Cup Tournament. Only the host nation — Qatar — has officially made the competition, as the rest of the world continues their qualifying stages.
Nonetheless, this hasn’t stopped the top online sportsbooks for football from handicapping the tourney already. C’mon, who doesn’t want to speculate on which country will raise the Cup trophy by the end of it?
We sure do and that’s exactly what we’re doing in this article. While a lot of things can change from now until the tourney start date (November 21, 2022), these countries are the most bet-worthy teams right now:
You have to start with the reigning and defending champions. You just have to. The Blues rolled through the 2018 tournament, going unbeaten and outscoring opponents 14-6 in the process.
By the time the 2022 Cup rolls around, Kylian Mbappe of France might very well be the best player in the world with the likes of Messi, Neymar, and Ronaldo much older. Mbappe broke out in the 2018 tourney and has only continued his superstar accent while playing for PSG.
With that said, France will face the daunting task of winning back-to-back World Cups. The feat has been pulled off only twice before — Italy in 1934 and 1938, followed by Brazil in 1958 and 1962. As the defending champions, they’ll have a giant target on their back every Cup game, plus have to deal with their own complacency that comes naturally after winning.
“World Cup, France” by FRANCK FIFE AFP/Archives is licensed under CC BY 3.0
Its reputation as the most successful World Cup team of all time — a record five championships — means Brazil is always a betting contender. But at the same time, Brazil hasn’t even qualified for a tourney finale since 2002 (it’s last win). Has Brazil’s reputation superseded it’s actual on-pitch performance?
It’s a discussion worth having. The fate of Brazil seems to always lie on Neymar. The embattled player can play like the world’s best on some days, but disappear on others. You just never know what Neymar will show up — or if he’ll even be healthy enough to last the entire tournament.
The squad that Brazil likely fields in 2022 will be at the peak of its generational cycle. Think about it, Roberto Firmino will be 32 by the start of the event, Neymar will be 31, and Philippe Coutinho and Alisson will be 30. Can they finally put it together or will it be too little, too late?
The Three Lions are somewhat dark horses to win the 2022 Cup. While its betting odds are among the highest, most don’t put them into that same field that France or Brazil occupy. That may be due to its long history of coming up short at the tournament, whether fair or not.
Regardless, this England should be hardened after a semi-finals appearance in the 2018 tournament. The Three Lions also field a perfect mix of savvy veterans (Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling) and fast-rising stars (Phil Foden and Jadon Sancho).
Did the window for the Red Devils close in 2018? Unlike the aforementioned teams on our list, Belgium has had little football success over the years. But it is amidst a “golden age” that’s produced superstars like Kevin de Bruyne, Eden Hazard, and Romelu Lekaku — as deadly of a front as any country across the globe.
But the trio will be much older by the time the 2022 World Cup rolls around. Hazard will be 33, De Bruyne 31, and Lekaku 29. Like we hinted about Brazil, Belgium’s window of opportunity might be or soon will be closed.
“World Cup, England” by SkySports is licensed under CC BY 3.0
No team was a bigger disappointment in 2018 than the Germans. For the first time in history, the country was bounced in the group stage. But that was then and this is now. Germany, like always, should be treated as true contenders.
However, the biggest question with the German side is who will be its coach come 2022. Longtime stalwart Joachim Low — who led the country to a 2016 World Cup trophy — will be stepping down following the European Championship. That will give Germany’s next manager an extremely short period to ready a championship-caliber team.