The 22nd World Cup begins on November 21 in Qatar. 29 of the 32 teams qualified for the group rounds. With a population of 3.3 million people, Qatar will host 32 teams in November, with the scorching heat of the Arabian peninsular ensuring that a world champion will be crowned only in time for Christmas the following year. Although it may appear different, with just over 500 days to go, the list of favourites appears to be rather familiar to those who have watched international football in recent times. The following is a ranking of the strongest teams who may compete in Qatar next winter:
After seven straight victories in which they did not concede a single goal, they qualified for the World Cup group stages. Denmark enthralled the world with their journey to the Euros quarterfinals despite Christian Eriksen’s tragic collapse. The Danes proved it wasn’t a fluke by winning nine consecutive qualifying games and became the second nation (behind Germany) to qualify. Furthermore, Eriksen has returned and is fast resuming his greatest form.
The Netherlands has several promising young players, but the disparity in quality between their great players and their supporting group might be a detriment. The side’s backbone is incredibly robust. They should be incredibly solid in defence with Virgil van Dijk, Matthijs de Ligt, Stefan de Vrij, Daley Blind, and Denzel Dumfries available, but for one reason or another, they are nevertheless liable to crumble periodically.
Since this seems to be Ronaldo’s final World Cup, the squad will go all out to win the tournament in his honour. The centrepiece is Cristiano Ronaldo’s sixth World Cup, but he’s far from a one-man show, with several of his colleagues, like Bernardo Silva, Diogo Jota, Ruben Dias, and Rafael Leao, doing admirably for their club teams. Portugal qualified for the World Cup after defeating North Macedonia in a qualification.
Following Germany’s World Cup victory in 2014, everyone is looking forward to a new era of German football dominance. Unfortunately, the heydey was cut short, and the squad has not won a major prize since then. Furthermore, they failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup 18 knockout rounds. Additionally, following an early withdrawal from the Euros, Germany bid farewell to longstanding manager Joachim Löw. Their new team is built on role-playing rather than star power. The capacity of this club to score goals demonstrates the several ways in which it may crush its opponents.
It’s becoming clear that Belgium’s golden generation has lost a lot of its lustre. Eden Hazard’s long senior career looks to have caught up with him sooner than most – and Real Madrid – anticipated, while Kevin De Bruyne’s outstanding form suggests he may have reached his prime as well. In front of goal, Romelu Lukaku remains unstoppable, but his understudies are uninspired, and a lack of young quality at the other end of the pitch is a major issue. Belgium’s window of opportunity may have expired.
Unbeaten run of 29 games, Copa America 2021 champions, Argentina cannot be ruled off of the list this year. Argentina’s whole squad appears to be driven above all else to ensure that the best of all time can win the Tournament. He has a good but unspectacular supporting cast, with Emi Martnez’s quick growth providing Argentina with what it has lacked for many years: an excellent goalkeeper. The Aston Villa goalkeeper has now preserved nine clean sheets in 14 appearances.
Spain has played some of the most gorgeous football this year, but their lack of forefront has harmed them when it matters the most. They dominated the ball in their Euro 2020 semi-final versus Italy and the Nations League final against France but were unable to exploit their dominance. They do not have the experience of prior Spain teams. With the additions of Unai Simón, Eric Garcia, Dani Olmo, Pau and Ferran Torres, the average age of the squad has decreased drastically, but the adolescent talents Pedri, Gavi, and Ansu Fati provide the most optimism for the future.
England has gone from being beaten World Cup semi-finalists to being beaten European Championship finalists, but their improvement is apparent. Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips’ chemistry became stronger during the summer, transforming what had been a weakness into a strength. Rice and Phillips do a good job of protecting the defence (which is necessary), but Gareth Southgate’s first aim now is to maximise his offensive talent. In the summer, he was criticised for being overly cautious, and he will need to at least ease the reins if England is to live up to their undeniable potential.
Former and defending world cup champions are the overwhelming favourites to retain their crown. No team has won the World Cup in consecutive years since Italy in 1934 and 1938. They hope to win the World Cup for the second time. France, the incumbent World Cup winner, went undefeated in their qualification group. 14 of France’s 18 goals were scored by Kylian Mbappé, Karim Benzema, and Antoine Griezmann. The only reason they are second is because of their disastrous Euro performance, in which they lost a 3-1 lead against Switzerland in the last 10 minutes.
Brazil is the favourite to win this year’s World Cup, having won five of them and being the only side to qualify for all of them. Hardly a team has won more World Cups than Brazil, but it has been precisely 20 years since they last won one. Brazil’s World Cup campaign was cut short by Belgium in the quarterfinals last year. Nevertheless, the squad has been excelling in every game since then. The top qualifiers from South America. Brazil advanced to back-to-back Copa América finals (winning in 2019) and avoided a loss in the famously difficult CONMEBOL qualifying round. They had 17 victories, three draws, 40 goals scored, and just five goals conceded.
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