The World Cup is football’s premiere event. Happening only every four years, it brings 32 of the best national teams throughout the globe together for a one-month tournament.
This time around, Qatar will host and take place during November and December, with the final set for the 18th. Coming during the middle of the season will be strange for participants, but it could lead to some of the best international football, as players will be in midseason form.
We all want to watch our home nation if they’re involved, but what other teams are worth tuning in to?
Argentina is one of the best footballing nations in the world and has produced two of the world’s top three players (depending on who you ask). They will have lofty ambitions as always, but the standard has been raised coming off their Copa America win in 2021. Betfair’s betting prediction on football odds have them as the joint third favorite to win at +650.
A lot of the pressure put on Argentina in the last few World Cups has been due to having the best player in the world, Lionel Messi. The diminutive Argentine nearly dragged his nation to glory in 2014, only to be stopped by some suspect forward play from Gonzalo Higuaín and a wondrous strike in extra time from Mario Götze.
Despite the heartache that year, and the subsequent failures in two Copa America finals, Messi has finally gotten the international trophy monkey he deserved. this current Argentina team seems to be the strongest in years, with a very well-rounded squad.
Usually a quite top-heavy side, the Albiceleste now boasts the likes of Cristian Romero and Nicolás Tagliafico at the back and Rodrigo De Paul in midfield. It’ll be a balancing act with key figures needing to see fit, but it could be a fairytale ending to Messi’s international career.
It’s coming home! Or so we hear every time England competes in a major tournament. The summer of 2021 nearly saw them finally take home a piece of silverware since their only World Cup triumph in 1966. Having already wasted a golden generation by letting Sven-Göran Eriksson try and figure out how to use Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard in the same midfield, they look to right that wrong through Gareth Southgate.
In fairness to Southgate, he’s earned the job after getting England to the semis of the last World Cup and the final of Euro 2020. However, he now appears to have a similar problem to what has dogged England managers in the past: too much talent and not knowing how to piece them together.
Now, that’s a problem most managers can only dream of having. But if Southgate can’t find a place for Trent Alexander-Arnold, something might be wrong. His lack of ambitious football has sometimes been called into question with such talented players.
All that said, it’s exactly why England is so fascinating to watch. They have the talent to win the tournament, with some gifted, technical, and mercurial footballers. Jack Grealish, Phil Foden, Harry Kane, and Raheem Sterling have enough firepower between them to shoot them to glory.
Last but certainly not least are AFCON champions, Senegal. They cemented themselves as kings of the African continent by not only toppling Egypt to win the tournament but beating them again a month later to qualify for the World Cup.
If there ever was an African team to win the World Cup, this would be it. They have the talent, led by superstar Sadio Mané. Mané is fresh from finishing second in the Ballon d’Or this year. He had a magnificent season for Liverpool, in which he had 23 goals and 5 assists. His performances in the latter half of the season helped Liverpool challenge for four trophies, in which he was at his scintillating best.
However, what may have vaulted him for second in the award were his performances for his nation and helping them win their first-ever AFCON. With such a transcendent talent, Senegal is in with a shout of going far in the competition.
The team is rounded out by Idrissa Gueye, Kalidou Koulibaly, and Abdou Diallo. Each is a talented footballer in their own right, with quality equally distributed throughout the team. Their group comprises the Netherlands, Qatar, and Ecuador, and they stand a good chance of qualifying for the knockout stages. Once there, they have the ability to beat any team in a one-off match.
The World Cup is a spectacle the entire globe will be watching. The greatest stars will be on display, and no matter what team you end up watching, they’ll surely entertain you.