World Cup Previews
The largest football competition is approaching, but who will win the World Cup Previews? Jake Osgathorpe previews the competition and makes predictions.
Football predictions: World Cup Previews 2022 winner
- Argentina to win the World Cup at 7/1 is 3.5 points e.w (Sky Bet, William Hill)
- Uruguay to win the World Cup at 1 point e.w. at 50/1 (General)
It feels like an eternity since the World Cup Previews in 2018. Since England surprised everyone by reaching a major tournament semi-final for the first time since 1996. Since France triumphed in a high-scoring final against Croatia.
The wait has also been genuine at the World Cup Previews, as we have to wait a few months longer than normal due to the (hopefully) one-time relocation from its typical summer date. While this means no 40°C temperatures, winter in Qatar stays above the 20°C threshold. Although more manageable, climate change may nevertheless have an influence.
Not as much as the tournament’s unusual date, in the midst of the domestic season at the World Cup Previews. Given the busy, crowded schedule we’ve seen this season, a good, deep team – something Brazil and France, who lead the outright betting, have in spades – might be crucial.
Brazil and France are too young to support
Brazil is just too short at 4/1.
They have a terrific roster and some electrifying offensive players, and they have a difficult group and a challenging possible run at World Cup Previews. In Group H, Tite’s face difficult European opponents Switzerland and Serbia, as well as AFCON 2022 semi-finalists Cameroon, and if they qualify, they will most likely play either Portugal or Uruguay. When you reach the quarters, it looks like Spain or Germany.
All of this puts me off at 4/1.
Holders France are the second favourites and could be backed at 6/1 if their team was completely healthy at the World Cup Previews. Paul Pogba is a big question mark, and N’Golo Kante has been ruled out, creating a significant void in the French midfield. Eduardo Camavinga and Aurélien Tchouaméni can cover that vacuum for Les Bleus, although both are inexperienced young players.
Then there’s the risk of France imploding
The maverick this time is Kylian Mbappe. As talented as he is, he has the potential to make this World Cup as French as the one in 2010. He has already spat with the FFF (French Football Federation) about sponsorship.
Add to that a coach in Didier Deschamps who continuously cuts and changes formation and system, much to the chagrin of his players, and a difficult group that includes Denmark, who just defeated them home and away in the Nations League, and the defending champions are gladly swerved.
Is it possible for England to win the World Cup?
The inability to depend on England’s defense is what kept them out of the risky strategy – they were on the verge of infiltrating it at the World Cup Previews. This was mostly due to the fact that Gareth Southgate’s team has slid from 6/1 second favourites only six months ago to a top price of 17/2 after a string of dismal performances, which seems to be an overreaction. Finally, they seem to be priced right.
In the midst of recent international performances, it’s important to remember that Southgate’s Three Lions are experienced big tournament operators, with his cautious approach reaping benefits in one-off games for the most part. However, a difficult path to the final – France will almost certainly be waiting in the quarter-finals – and uncertainty surrounding defensive players and organization are enough to put me off.
Who are the other potential candidates?
Spain, who might make a joke of their 9/1 pricing given their offensive flair, and Germany were undervalued, along with a possible head-to-head match up to top Group E. At roughly 13/1, the Netherlands were almost picked. Louis van Gaal guided the Dutch to third place in 2014. Their youthful group is promising, but they’re likely one tournament away from peaking, and failing to qualify for Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup before getting knocked out of Euro 2020 by the Czech Republic is not a good recent track record.