2022 FIFA World Cup: These 5 Teams Can Give Brazil and France a Run for Their Money

Spain Alvaro Morata Portugal Cristiano Ronaldo
Spain’s forward Alvaro Morata greets Portugal’s forward Cristiano Ronaldo. (Photo by PATRICIA DE MELO MOREIRA / AFP)

The agonizing four-year wait that soccer fans undergo between World Cup tournaments adds to the prestige and excitement. And finally, the countdown has shortened to a mere two weeks until the 2022 FIFA World Cup kicks off in Qatar.

A team in crisis is nothing new heading into the average World Cup. Surmounting pressure regularly sees even the top-ranked soccer teams begin to show cracks in their winning foundation. For the Qatar 2022 edition of the World Cup, those aforementioned cracks are spreading fast, thus making it incredibly difficult to predict an outright winner of the competition.

France has been bombarded with controversy, England looks like a shell of their former Euro-finals self, Germany has recently lost to Hungary, and Spain to Switzerland. The Brazilian squad is dynamic in the final third, as always, but they’re levels behind the defensive unit that Roberto Carlos once spearheaded.

However, sailing into the competition, one team presents a robust unit around its generational superstar. They are Argentina. The spotlight is on Lionel Messi. They’ll enter Qatar in unison for the first time in many years, and with countless European foes failing to impress, Messi’s final chance to win soccer’s most coveted prize could be the best bet.

Join us as we preview Argentina and another four teams that could give the oddsmakers’ betting favorites, France and Brazil, a run for their money to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.


Argentina

  • Odds to Win the 2022 World Cup as of November: +600 at BetMGM
  • Opening Odds to Win the World Cup: +900

Messi’s progression as an elite soccer star is binding perfectly with the current Argentina squad that undoubtedly compensates in the areas he lacks.

Up front, Lautaro Martinez will work alongside Messi and will be equally decisive and hungry. In the middle of the pitch, Rodrigo de Paul and Leandro Paredes allow Messi to roam freely in and out of positions. For the remaining two positions in the front six, well, Lionel Scaloni has multiple choices of players who can supplement creative moments or take the load off.

The defensive attributes of Argentina have been hit or miss, but this hasn’t prevented them from obtaining one of the best international records in soccer history. In 34 games since the Copa America 2019 tournament, three of which came against Brazil, Scaloni’s Argentina is unbeaten.

Argentina’s Group Stage Matches


Spain

  • Odds to Win the 2022 World Cup as of November: +850 at BetMGM
  • Opening Odds to Win the World Cup: +900

The Spanish team is known for their high volume of short passing and ability to maintain possession in doing so. The previous two decades of Spanish World Cup teams have passed their opponents to the state of fatigue or passed one another to severe fatigue. This year’s team could do the former, the latter, or both.

Spain can drown their opponents enough to win this year’s World Cup. The likes of Pedri, Gavi, Rodri, and Sergio Busquets sitting in midfield is a fearsome group. And although Spain doesn’t possess a complete squad from top to bottom due to injuries, they can create enough opportunity to challenge the World Cup odds‘ betting favorites.

Spain’s Group Stage Matches


Netherlands

  • Odds to Win the 2022 World Cup as of November: +1300 at FanDuel
  • Opening Odds to Win the World Cup: +1100

Unbreakable center backs, and an impressive front line, have given us no choice but to recognize the Dutch squad entering the 2022 World Cup. They frustrated the Belgian team during the Nations League to claim a place in the final four.

Most notably, the Netherlands has landed in one of the most manageable Qatar groups (Group A), as their path to the quarterfinals looks the most simplistic. The only question is, do they have enough attacking- prowess to progress any further?

Netherland’s Group Stage Matches


England

  • Odds to Win the 2022 World Cup as of November: +800 at Caesars Sportsbook
  • Opening Odds to win the World Cup: +900

Anybody inspecting Gareth Southgate’s England squad would be impressed at the talent level this team boasts. And after reaching the 2018 World Cup semis and the Euro 2021 final, could this be the year when the Three Lions finally snap their World Cup drought?

On paper, the attacking talent on this England team is worth around $1.47 billion – $300 million more than any other nation arriving in Qatar. But Southgate has failed to convert this pricing onto the pitch, most recently falling to win any of their 2022 Nations League group fixtures.

We must, however, remember the most recent England team that competed at the Euros, as the Nations League isn’t held in high regard. When combined with talent, the tenacity, passion, and willingness to reach the finals versus Italy are attributes that can unquestionably make a World Cup-winning team.

England’s Group Stage Matches


Portugal

  • Odds to Win the 2022 World Cup as of November: +2000 at Bet365
  • Opening Odds to Win the World Cup: +1400

Cristiano Ronaldo carried the Portuguese team on his back for the longest time. He gave the country hope during major competitions, and rightfully so. Now, the tide has turned. Portugal has excellent playmakers, a trustworthy midfield, and its most talented, robust backline in a long time – and CR7, alongside head coach Fernando Santos, could be the ones preventing this team from true greatness.

If the Portuguese squad can put more creative confidence in Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva, or Rafael Leao, they stand a great chance of becoming one of the best teams in the world. Ronaldo isn’t providing the goods he was once known for; let’s hope his star quality doesn’t become an interference in Qatar.

Portugal’s Group Stage Matches


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