World Cup Newsletter: Infantino’s bizarre FIFA speech plus our final predictions ahead of the 2022 World Cup kick-off in Qatar

I’m excited today. I feel contradicted. I feel like I’m made of 90% caffeine. And that’s because the World Cup is less than 24 hours away. This is Golazo’s starting XI and in case that opening line confused you, imagine how everyone felt listening to FIFA President Gianni Infantino infinitely bizarre version of it.

Luckily the games start tomorrow. That’s why we’re here today to give you some basics to make sure you have everything you need when Infantino finally stops talking.

And while you’re here, sign up for our new newsletter covering the beautiful game in all its glory, including daily updates on the World Cup, here.

Remember, once the World Cup ends and the Champions League resumes, you can catch all the action on Paramount+. Use offer code ALLYEAR now to get 50% off annual plan. We have UEFA Club Competitions, Serie A, NWSL, FA Women’s Super League and more just a click away.

⚽ The redirect

Back to basics: what you need to know ahead of the World Cup

A very short, very simple World Cup primer. We have 32 teams paired into eight groups of four. The top two finishers in each group advance to the knockout stages. For the first two weeks before we reach the final 16, games will fly at breakneck speed. Are these the best 32 teams in the world? Not really. Qualification is by region, with each region being allocated a specific number of teams. North America, or more specifically Concacaf, automatically got three spots and the fourth-best team advanced to the playoffs, which Costa Rica won. So there are four teams (USA, Canada, Mexico, Costa Rica) in the tournament.

Check out ours Employee Favorites for our top 4:

CBS sports

It will come as no surprise that Europe and South America are the two strongest regions. In the history of the tournament, which dates back to 1930, there has never been a finalist from outside of these two continents. In fact, there are only two nations that have ever finished in the top four from outside Europe and South America. Drum Roll Please… the United States of America (1930) and South Korea (2002). At the first edition of the World Cup, the USA advanced from their group straight to the semi-finals, where they lost to Argentina. South Korea has overtaken Italy and Spain en route to the top four.

The favorites, at least according to Caesars Sportsbook, are Brazil at +360 and Argentina at +500. They are followed by a handful of European teams: France (the holders), Spain, England and Germany. And if for some reason you really, really, really wanted to bet someone who isn’t from South America or Europe will win the competition well after coming through the Netherlands, Portugal, Belgium, Denmark, Uruguay, Croatia and Serbia , you can check out men’s national teams of Mexico, Senegal and the United States (along with Poland, Switzerland and Wales) at +100000. Crazy kids.

Here’s everything we provide to help you keep track of the world’s greatest football tournament.

Interested in more World Cup coverage? Listen and follow below House of Championsa daily football podcast from CBS Sports bringing you top-notch analysis, commentary, recommendations and more during the big games in Qatar.

πŸ”— Midfield link game

Once again in the Ronaldo break

Before we go all the way about the whole World Cup, the Cristiano Ronaldo saga continues with Manchester United. As he prepares for the main event with Portugal, Manchester United are at home trying to figure out if they can void his contract after he hit everyone – from manager Erik ten Hag to front office staff and even last week Wayne Rooney in shame in an incendiary interview. Chuck Booth watches Ronaldo’s legacy.

Broadcaster Eric Krakauer, which has its finger on the pulse in Portugal, joined in House of Champions Podcast to point out that “as much as Cristiano Ronaldo is a celebrity around the world, he’s an institution in Portugal.” And on Bruno Fernandes’ snub allegations: “No one on this team would publicly embarrass him.”

Now let’s hit some links:

When it comes to football, we trust YouTube

Listen and follow below In Soccer We Trust: A CBS Sports Soccer Podcast where your three favorite former USMNT players cover everything you want to know about the United States Men’s National Team during the World Cup in Qatar.

πŸ’° The back lines

best bets

Let’s pick some winners for the tournament, shall we?

All odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.

  • Winning Continent
    πŸ’° THE CHOICE: North/South America (+140). Yesterday some fool told you in a newsletter that England was going to win the whole thing. Today he challenges you to pick a winner from North/South America. What gives? Well, the reason I chose England is because Argentina and Brazil are headed for a semi-final showdown if the bracket holds, making it very difficult to choose between them. With the continent bet… you don’t have to.
  • Golden boot
    πŸ’° THE CHOICE: Harry Kane (+800).
    Barring an injury, he will play every minute. He will take any penalties from England if they get any. He’s a shift machine on a team that loves set pieces. And most importantly, England may have the easiest route to the quarter-finals of the tournament. There’s a reason he’s the favorite
  • To reach the semifinals
    πŸ’° THE CHOICE: Uruguay (+700).
    I firmly believe in the strength of South America and this bet reflects that in two ways. First, it depends on Uruguay leading Portugal in their group (a +188 proposition on their own) and second, it depends on Brazil not slipping away for Uruguay to face whoever is behind Brazil of Switzerland, Serbia and Cameroon took second place. I like those chances on both fronts.


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