*All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change
Nothing says World Cup like an opening ceremony in a desert in November. The completely-above-board 2022 World Cup in Qatar is already looming onto the horizon with plenty of nations booking their spots in the (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime spectacle.
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Qualifying is done and dusted with the final smattering of play-offs completed as Wales, Australia and Costa Rica punched their tickets for Qatar.
With the picture starting to become a bit clearer, Paddy’s trusty football traders have been clattering away on a dusty old abacus to formulate their prices for the runners and riders to win the 2022 World Cup. The top of the market is predictably European with just Brazil and Argentina attempting to crash the party. Let’s take a look.
Led by their superstar forward Neymar, Brazil have cruised through South American qualifying. They’ve been a bit disappointing in recent World Cups, departing the 2018 edition in the quarter-final and getting destroyed 7-1 in the semis by Germany on home soil in 2014.
Defending champions France had a bit of a nightmare at Euro 2020 and will have to get their act together if they’re to go deep at the World Cup. Not lacking in talent, their downfall ultimately came courtesy of some bizarre tactical decisions from Didier Deschamps as they crashed out of the Euros at the last 16 stage.
Could this be the year England finally lay the ghosts to rest and win their second major international tournament? Gareth Southgate’s gang lost out on penalties to Italy in the final of Euro 2020 and made it through qualifying unbeaten. While often overly defensive when it really matters, the Three Lions do boast a seriously talented squad of up and coming players mixed in with world-class performers. The 4-0 defeat to Hungary in the Nations League is hardly ideal preparation, however.
Spain were poor at the Euros but somehow made it to the semi-finals after scraping through the group stages. They look to be improving under Luis Enrique but they made hard work of qualifying and will be thankful that Sweden choked when they were in prime position to make it through automatically.
Talking of last chances, Lionel Messi will be 35 by the time the next World Cup kicks off. He and his Argentina teammates did win the 2021 Copa America, ending the legend’s long international competition dry spell, so maybe something’s clicked.
Serial World Cup winners Germany have been going through something of a lean spell since winning the 2014 edition. They underachieved at the 2018 World Cup as well as Euro 2020. Now under new management they cruised through qualification but did suffer a shock loss to North Macedonia.
* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.
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