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FIFA World Cup

World Cup Contenders
sokapro-World Cup Contenders

There is no outstanding favourite to win the World Cup trophy in Qatar but we take a look at some of the top contenders for the coveted trophy.

The draw for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup group stages will take place in Doha, Qatar on Friday and from that point on, each team can work out how they will navigate to the final match that will be held on 18th December later this year. The tournament is already proving to be one of the most unpredictable with no clear favourites following the recent shocking playoff exit of Euro 2020 winners, Italy against North Macedonia. The Italians will have been fairly backed to win their fifth world cup trophy at Qatar following their Euro 2020 success, but instead they will be on vacation when the tournament gets underway from November 21st. This proves that there are no certainties in football, not even at the highest level which is the World Cup. In this article, we take a look at certain heavy weights that can go all the way up to the final match to lift the most coveted and precious trophy in football. 

Will Argentina and Brazil be strong enough to end South America's 20 years wait for a world champion? Will England and Spain, who boast of the top two club leagues in the world make good use of their potential? Will defending champions France and the immediate former champions Germany make it all the way to the final? Will African giants, break their world cup record by going passed the quarter finals? 

Brazil: The South American giants have only lost twice in 27 games since their 2019 September loss to Peru. Both of these losses have come from their bitter South American arch rivals Argentina. Brazil have won the global show piece a record of five times; 1958 edition, 1962 edition, 1970 edition, 1994 edition, with their recent being the 2002 edition. They were knocked out of the 2018 edition in the quarter finals by Belgium. They are currently second in the FIFA world rankings and they boast of quality in their squad having attacking talents such as; Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Gabriel Jesus, Vinicius Jr, and Gabriel Martinelli amongst others. Their defenders like; Marquinhos and Militao, goal keepers include some of the top forms who are Allison and Ederson who are both the first choices in Liverpool and Manchester City respectively. Their midfield include Casemiro and Fabinho amongst other players. They will have to find a way to beat Europe's best if they are to lay their hands on the trophy as their last four campaigns have been ended by Belgium, Germany, Netherlands and France respectively. 

Belgium: They are currently the top placed team in the world FIFA rankings. It is the only national team in the world to ever top the world rankings without ever winning the world cup or a continental trophy. It has always been predicted in every world cup tournament that they will upset the world order by adding their name to the list of winners but it is yet to happen. It boasts of talents such as Kevin de Bryune, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Youri Tielemans, Axel Witsel, Toby Alderwiereld, and Jan Vertonghen amongst others. This force will surely pose a threat to lifting the trophy at the Qatar World cup

Argentina: The South American powerhouse are the reigning continental champions after winning the 2021 Copa America. Having a world football icon such as Lionel Messi, they carry the burden of huge expectations at home. They have struggled to beat the big boys of Europe having being knocked out in the 2018 edition by the eventual winners, France in a 4-3 round of 16 thriller and they failed to clinch the trophy in the 2014 edition in the final against Germany where they were beaten 1-0 at extra time. They are on a 30 game unbeaten run dating back to the Copa America match in July against Brazil. They boast of Lionel Messi, Angel Di Maria, Paulo Dybala, Lautaro Martinez, Julian Alvarez, Nicolas Gonzalez, and keeper Emiliano Martinez amongst others. It has won the world cup twice in the 1978 edition and the 1986 edition and they will be desperate to show the world yet again the football machine that they are. 

England: Under Gareth Southgate, England have revolutionised and lived up to their much hyped expectations. They reached the world cup semifinals in the 2018 edition where they were shockingly eliminated by surprise runners up, Croatia. They were the runners up in the Euro 2020 where they lost to Italy following a penalty shoot out. They were the champions in the 1966 edition. They boast of Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Jamie Vardy, and Phil Foden, who are world-class attacking players, while Jude Bellingham, Kalvin Phillips, and Declan Rice are proven midfielders. They have a quality keeper in Jordan Pickford. They have been on an upward trajectory and are developing to a team which could go all the way to lift the trophy this year. 

France: They are the reigning world champions following their 4-2 win against Croatia in the 2018 edition. They boast of being the best squad going into the world cup with the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, N'Golo Kante, Paul Pogba, Hugo Lloris, Theo Hernandes, and Christopher Nkunku, amongst others. They were the best going into the Euro 2020 too but were surprisingly eliminated by Switzerland in the round of 16. With such quality in their team, they are likely to retain the world champions title in Qatar. They also won the 1998 edition

Germany: They were the first team to secure a place for the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup on October 11th. They are four times world champions having won in the 2014 edition, 1990 edition, 1974 edition, and the 1954 edition. They failed to make it passed the group stages in 2018 edition and will be looking to show yet again that they belong in the big boys squad. They also exited the Euro 2020 very early following a round of 16 defeat against England. They have a lot of talent in their squad with the likes of; Joshua Kimmich, Manuel Neuer, Antonio Rudiger, Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane, and Kai Havertz amongst others. This is a quality team that can take them all the way through to lifting the world cup trophy.

Spain: They have only won the tournament ones in the 2010 edition in South Africa following an extra time goal against Netherlands. They lost to the Euro 2020 champions, Italy in the semifinals in a penalty shoot out. They have quality in their squad boasting of the following amongst others; Alvaro Morata, Sergio Ramos, Ferran Torres, Aymeric Laporte, Pedri, Gavi, Adama Traore, and with the Manchester United's number one, David de Gea at the goal post. They were eliminated on penalties by Russia in the 2018 edition in the round of 16. Considering that they managed to reach the last four in the Euro 2020 competitions, it means they have the ability to go all the way to win the Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.