The FIFA World Cup is still just under a year away but the qualifying round of games, which finishes in March, has gotten us impatient for the big kickoff. Every football fan on the planet is already making their predictions as to who they think will lift the trophy in December next year.
There are no clear favourites, it is far too close at the top to call, but if you want to have a flutter there is an up to date list of betting sites at helpbet.com. Of course, there are some strong challengers such as France, Spain, Argentina, Brazil and Germany.
France are the reigning champions of course and many of the players that took part in the last competition will be in attendance. Overall, France are considered a 7/1 favourite and the closest thing to an outright favourite right now.
Brazil follows France at 11/2 and they will be hoping to end a 20 year wait to lift the trophy for the 6th time at the World Cup in Qatar.
Heavyweights Germany and Spain are considered to be 8/1 favourites this time around. Germany are still smarting at being eliminated at the group stage in 2018 and will want to set things right.
Likewise, Spain limped through the group stage and left the competition in the last 16. Their coach was sensationally sacked the very next day, their failure was felt to be so disastrous – they too will want to be much better prepared this time.
There are several outside favourites, and Belgium are right up there with them. Their 2018 campaign, where they finished 3rd, is considered by many to be the high-point of the Red Devils’ Golden Generation.
England of course lost their third-place play-off to Belgium in 2018, and they too are outside favourites at 10/1, although some bookmakers are a little more optimistic than that. Even if most do place them at 10/1, the recent EURO tournament showed that this England team can perform when called upon, so who knows?
Portugal won the EUROs in 2016 and despite dropping out in the last 16 at the 2018 World Cup, they did emerge triumphant in the UEFA Nations League in 2019 and are placed 16/1 for this tournament. The presence of Christiano Ronaldo is uncertain, but there are plenty of other talented players to fill his place if needs be.
Italy have won the competition four times but are very surprisingly rated 20/1 – making them the longest shot of the outsiders. The Azzurri won the EURO competition in 2020, so let’s see what they do next year – 20/1 does seem harsh.
Aside from the obvious contenders for the crown, there are a handful of notables that are worth keeping an eye on. Uruguay, Croatia and Mexico are regular contenders in the competition and they each produce world-class players.
The US national team is another underdog, and the popularity of the sport growing in the country has led to an uptick in the team’s fortunes – although not to the levels they may have liked.
Certainly one team to look out for is Ukraine, and their U20 team was crowned champions in 2019, overcoming South Korea in the final. Third in that tournament was Ecuador.
A host’s national team should be overlooked at your peril, as has been proven many times. Qatar do not have much of a global presence, but as hosts, they may well turn up.
Whatever your personal predictions, one thing is certain – next year’s tournament is going to be amazing!