Breakdown of odds for all 32 teams

There has never been a World Cup like this before.

For the first time in the history of the competition, the 2022 World Cup will be held during the northern hemisphere’s winter months due to host Qatar’s soaring temperatures when the tournament normally takes place in the summer. Therefore, the domestic leagues are forced to take a 6 1/2 week break during the World Cup. Previously, the World Cup was held in the offseasons of most major domestic leagues.

This means that the national teams and their players have less preparation and warm-up time than usual before the games start. Mid-season injuries have knocked stars out of the tournament and managers have opted to select players in better shape at the moment rather than struggling mainstays with impressive resumes. All of this has thrown a massive twist on the conventional wisdom surrounding the World Cup field.

Here’s a look at the favourites, the sleepers and the rest of the teams competing in the 2022 World Cup:

(All odds via BetMGM)

favourites

Traditional powerhouses are leading the frontrunners, including recent winners and well-known forces obsessed with overcoming recent droughts.

Brazil (7/2)

Brazil are the most successful nation in the competition with five titles and have not finished in the top three in four tournaments since winning the 2002 World Cup, a trend that is sure to weigh heavily on the team. One of the more experienced groups on the field – particularly along the backbone of the team in defense and midfield – the Seleção are enhanced by a collection of brilliant young talent in attack centered around superstar Neymar. Brazil’s health, particularly Neymar’s, has plagued the team in recent editions but should have the depth to weather adversity this year. There is no better all-rounder on paper.

Lionel Messi during an international friendly match for Argentina.
Lionel Messi during an international friendly match for Argentina.
Getty Images

France (7/1)

The defending champions notably go into the title defense without key figures N’Golo Kante, Paul Pogba, Presnel Kimpembe and, as they discovered just days before their first game, Karim Benzema, but their absence has paved the way for some of the next generation of Les Bleus. France is led by phenomenon Kylian Mbappe (whose reception by French fans will be worth watching after bombshell reports over the past few months of his interest in leaving the country’s biggest club Paris Saint-Germain), while new faces like William Saliba, Aurelien Tchouameni and Youssouf Fofana will have huge footsteps to fill. How quickly they can meet up with their more experienced teammates could decide France’s fate.

Spain (8/1)

It’s a new era for Spain. No more Gerard Pique-Sergio Ramos partnership in the back. No more Xavi, Iniesta and Isco in midfield. No more David De Gea in the net and Diego Costa at the helm. No more Fernando Hierro as manager. This led to the selection of one of the tournament’s youngest squads under coach Luis Enrique, highlighted by the debuts of Pedri, Gavi and Ansu Fati. Aside from their triumph in 2010, Spain have historically come up short at the World Cup, finishing in the top three just one more time (1982). Does a new era bring new results?

Argentina (5/1)

With the 2021 Copa America title being his only trophy with Argentina, international fame is the only accolade missing from Lionel Messi’s illustrious career. He retired from international duty and left the national team several times amid disappointment and ridicule but never repeated Diego Maradona’s legendary triumph for the country – most notably finishing runners-up in the 2014 World Cup. That can all magically change with one run, and there’s a strong possibility that this will be his last chance to achieve what he’s most eluded. He returns with a strong supporting cast led by Lautaro Martinez, Paulo Dybala and Angel Di Maria.


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United Kingdom (8/1)

England, the most notorious underachiever in the history of the competition, have not won the World Cup since 1966. Fans have been chanting “It’s Coming Home” for years, waiting for the track to actually, you know, return home to the sport’s birthplace. After their heartbreaking runners-up finish at the 2020 European Championships (held in 2021), the Three Lions are taking one of their most competitive rosters to the tournament in years. Harry Kane, Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden and Raheem Sterling lead one of the most-watched teams in the tournament, made up almost entirely of Premier League players. Manager Gareth Southgate’s line-up decisions will come under scrutiny.

Germany (10/1)

Hansi Flick takes over for his first World Cup, replacing Joachim Löw and hoping to bring a breath of fresh air to a German side who failed to make it past the group stage in 2018. Do this, veteran stars Thomas Muller and Manuel Neuer who helped the team to the 2014 World Cup title, do you have a run left? Leroy Sane and Kai Havertz gave the team a new spark with this take-off. Joshua Kimmich and Ilkay Gundogan are likely to see an even bigger role in midfield for a team now without long-time players Toni Kroos and Mesut Özil.

sleeper

Cristiano Ronaldo
Cristiano Ronaldo
REUTERS

With quality players but perhaps not the depth required to be a favourite, these sleepers can be a lot more when things go right.

Portugal (16/1)

This team is so much more than just Cristiano Ronaldo entering the tournament after ending up on scorched earth with club side Manchester United. Will that affect his chemistry with his Manchester United co-star and team-mate Bruno Fernandes? Although Diogo Jota is absent through injury, Joao Felix and Bernardo Silva round out an attack that should terrify any defence. Rafael Leão is a name to keep an eye on as a possible breakout candidate.

Netherlands (28/1)

The Netherlands are brimming with talent and are returning to the World Cup after embarrassingly failing to qualify in 2018. Stars Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt are looking to deliver at their first World Cup, while veterans Virgil van Dijk and Memphis Depay ensure a veteran presence. Xavi Simons, 19, can announce himself on the international stage.

Belgium (16/1)

Belgium’s “golden generation” has gone from dark horses to favorites to disappointments, even reaching third place at the 2018 World Championships. Led by midfield maestro Kevin de Bruyne, aging stars Eden Hazard, Dries Mertens, Romelu Lukaku, Thibaut Courtois, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and Axel Witsel are embracing their last chance to make a big international showing together.

Croatia (40/1)

He may be 37 now but as long as Croatia have Luka Modric it will be in the talks. The Real Madrid star carried the Vatreni to the final in 2018 and is returning for what is likely to be his last World Cup. The resilience of the Croatians always makes them a difficult opponent.

United States (100/1)

Christian Pulisic
Christian Pulisic
Getty Images

The youngest team at the Worlds, the USMNT roster has undergone a dramatic makeover from the group that didn’t qualify in 2018. Gregg Berhalter’s new core – with younger talent playing at the highest levels of club football in Europe – won the Gold Cup and Nations League CONCACAF regional tournaments in 2021 and generally criss-crossed in World Cup qualifiers. The hype surrounding star Christian Pulisic and a supporting cast that includes Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams, Giovanni Reyna and Brendan Aaronson is real.

Uruguay (40/1)

Luis Suarez, who has made both illustrious and notorious (bite) marks at the World Cup throughout his career, will be at the heart again and Edinson Cavani returns for one last try. But young stars Federico Valverde and Darwin Nuñez offer enough clout to lead a significant run.

Serbia (80/1)

Aleksandar Mitrovic’s resurgent season in the Premier League has given Serbia a legitimate chance. He is joined in attack by Dusan Vlahovic and Dusan Tadic, and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic has emerged as one of Europe’s best central midfielders.

Canada (250/1)

Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David drive an up-and-coming team as they play in Canada’s second-ever World Cup – and for the first time since 1986. After proving their menace in qualifying, the Canadians could become the rising darlings of the tournament.

Denmark (28/1)

After collapsing on the field from cardiac arrest during last summer’s European Championship, Christian Eriksen’s return to the national team and international stage is inspiring. Eriksen, who is currently a beacon of consistency in an otherwise turbulent Manchester United side, is now joined by Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Joakim Maehle. This kernel alone is enough to cause trouble for someone.

rest of the field

Gareth Bale (left) and Wales preparing for the World Cup
Gareth Bale (left) and Wales preparing for the World Cup.
AFP via Getty Images

Entering the tournament largely overlooked, these teams try to play spoilers on teams ready to make a run. Is there a Cinderella hiding somewhere?

Mexico (100/1)

With fan favorite Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez staying at home, Hirving “Chucky” Lozano is leading an unevenly formed young Mexican side into the tournament.

Wales (150/1)

Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey have carried Wales in recent years and that will continue. It will be an uphill battle with the United States to make it out of Group B.

Switzerland (80/1)

Granit Xhaka – in the midst of a renaissance season at Arsenal – and Xherdan Shaqiri lead a veteran group that has breakout candidates in youngsters Breel Embolo and Denis Zakaria.

Senegal (80/1)

Sadio Mane was ruled out of the World Cup at the last minute due to a leg injury. His absence will matter a lot to the Senegalese.

Betting on the World Cup?

Poland (100/1)

Robert Lewandowski, arguably the best striker in the world right now, is capable of taking on any game single-handedly.

Ghana (250/1)

Thomas Partey anchors a young squad with a chance to make it out of Group H.

South Korea (250/1)

When Son Heung-min is able to cover a broken face, he leads a fun squad in a wide-open Group H.

Ecuador (150/1)

Hoping to carry the vivacity shown in the South American qualifiers into the World Cup.

Morocco (100/1)

Can Achraf Hakimi and Hakim Ziyech do enough to make this team relevant?

Cameroon (250/1)

Made it through the group stage only once in club history.

Japan (250/1)

Takehiro Tomiyasu drives a defensively strong group that could be difficult to break.

Costa Rica (600/1)

World goalkeeper Keylor Navas, who keeps the team in low-scoring games, is the best hope.

Australia (400/1)

One of the oldest teams in the tournament come into play after a tough qualifying campaign culminated in a penalty shoot-out.

Iran (500/1)

Never got past the group stage.

Tunisia (400/1)

Consistently soar beyond the country’s financial and infrastructural limitations to qualify.

Saudi Arabia (600/1)

Can get a point with luck.

Qatar (250/1)

Included only because it is the host country.

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