The 2022 Football World Cup is set to begin from 20th November in Qatar. The biggest stars from the biggest teams are set to light up this year’s tournament. Let’s have a look at the top contenders to win the 2022 Football World Cup.
Captain: C. Ronaldo
Coach: F. Santos
World Cups Won: None
The 2016 European champions are strong World Cup contenders and hope to secure their maiden World Cup trophy in 2022. The tournament is significant for the Portuguese as it’s probably the last time C. Ronaldo will take part in the World Cup. Their best performance came in the 1966 World Cup in England, where they finished 3rd under the leadership of Eusebio. In the 2006 World Cup, Portugal once again came close to lifting the trophy but finished 4th after losing to France in the semi-final.
Portugal has a strong 26-man squad featuring the likes of R. Dias and J. Cancelo in defence, B. Fernandes, R Neves and B. Silva in midfield. Skipper C. Ronaldo will lead the line with R. Leao and A. Silva on either side of him.
Portugal are placed in the ‘Group of Death’ alongside Uruguay, Ghana and South Korea in Group H.
- Portugal vs Ghana, 24th November, Stadium 974
- Portugal vs Uruguay, 29th November, Lusail Stadium
- Portugal vs South Korea, 2nd December, Education City Stadium
Captain: H. Kane
Coach: G. Southgate
World Cups Won: 1966
European runners-up in 2021 and World Cup semi-finalists in 2018, England are one of the favourite contenders to lift the trophy. The Three Lions lifted the trophy last time 56 years ago and “It’s coming home” will be chanted louder than ever in Qatar. Critics back in England have questioned squad selection by manager Southgate but he remains loyal to his set of players and hopes to secure the trophy once again for England.
The young England squad from the 2018 World Cup has grown leaps and bounds in terms of experience. They have a strong goalkeeping contingent featuring the likes of A. Ramsdale, J. Pickford and N. Pope. Defence is led by the likes of J. Stones and B. White while West Ham skipper D. Rice is their midfield general. Skipper H. Kane will lead the line for the Three Lions at the World Cup.
England are in Group B alongside arch-rivals Wales, AFC Cup semi-finalists Iran and Gold Cup winners USA.
- England vs Iran, 21st November, Khalifa International Stadium
- England vs USA, 26th November, Al Bayt Stadium
- England vs Wales, 30th November, Al Rayyan Stadium
Captain: H. Lloris
Coach: D. Deschamps
World Cups Won: 1998, 2018
Defending champions France are one of the leading contenders to lift the World Cup for the third time. Les Blues suffered a shock exit in the Euros against the Swiss but D. Deschamps’ side are always the favourites no matter the opposition in front of them.
The French team is stacked with superstars despite key players like P. Pogba and N. Kante are notable absentees due to injury. Captain Lloris is expected to start between the sticks with the likes of sensational W. Saliba and veteran R. Varane in front of him. Les Blues are light in midfield but with superstar K. Mbappe and current Ballon d’Or winner K. Benzema, France has the most fearsome attack at the World Cup.
France have an easy run of fixtures in the group stage and are a part of Group D. The other teams in the group are Australia, Denmark and Tunisia.
- France vs Australia, 23rd November, Al Janoub Stadium
- France vs Denmark, 26th November, Stadium 974
- France vs Tunisia, 30th November, Education City Stadium
Captain: L. Messi
Coach: L. Scaloni
World Cups Won: 1978, 1986
The current Copa America champions led by L. Messi looks to add another feather to their cap. Messi and Argentina came close to winning at all in 2014 but lost to a 114th minute winner from M. Gotze in the finals against Germany. Just like Ronaldo, the 2022 World Cup will be Messi’s final international tournament and is the only trophy that eludes the left-footed magician. The South American side are currently undefeated in the last 36 matches and are strong contenders to lift the golden trophy.
La Albiceleste are strong in all three departments of the field. E. Martinez will start in goal with Cuti Romero and the ‘Butcher of Manchester’ L. Martinez in front of him. R. de Paul and L. Paredes protect their team from counter-attacks and sit at the base of midfield. L. Messi, A. di Maria and Lautaro will lead the attack for the Argentines.
La Albiceleste are a part of Group C and are the favourites to win the group. Other teams in the group are Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Poland.
- Argentina vs Saudi Arabia, 22nd November, Lusail Stadium
- Argentina vs Mexico, 27th November, Lusail Stadium
- Argentina vs Poland, 1st December, Stadium 974
Captain: T. Silva
Coach: A. Bacchi (Tite)
World Cups Won: 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002
The Selecao from South America are the most successful team in the World Cup as they have won it 5 times. It’s been 20 years since Brazil last won the tournament and Tite & Co. look all set to end their title drought. Losing out to Belgium in quarter-finals of 2018 Football World Cup, Brazil have included new talents like G. Martinelli and Vini Jr. in their ranks and are the leading contenders to win it all.
The Canarinha possess the best goalkeeping duo in world football with Ederson and Allison. Any one of the two can deputise in the goal with the duo of T. Silva and Marquinhos in front and Casemiro defending from the base of midfield. Always known for flair and sambasque football, Brazil are no short of stylish forwards in their squad. Most expensive footballer in the world Neymar Jr. is a certain starter along with G. Jesus and Raphinha.
Brazil are placed in a tough Group G along with Switzerland, Serbia and Cameroon.
- Brazil vs Serbia, Lusail Stadium
- Brazil vs Switzerland, Stadium 974
- Brazil vs Cameroon, 3rd December, Lusail Stadium
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