There are eight months to go until we have the first winter World Cup in history. Almost half of the 32 spots for the 2022 World Cup have been claimed, and past winners like Brazil, Germany, France, Spain, England, and Argentina will be heading to Qatar this November. Those six teams are considered the six teams to beat this year, and there is a strong chance that one of those half dozen countries will be celebrating just before Christmas.
The 2022 World Cup will be held in Qatar from November 21 to December 18. Four of the stadiums are in the capital of Doha, while the other four stadiums aren’t that far from the city, making travel a non-issue.
Top Teams That Have Already Qualified
It’s been 20 years since Brazil last won the World Cup, but they always have to be among the favorites. They have made it to at least the quarterfinals of every World Cup since 1990. Brazil boasts one of the best players in the world in Neymar, a great second striker in Richarlison, playmaking midfielders in Philippe Coutinho, Casemiro, and Lucas Paqueta, a veteran backline with Dani Alves, Thiago Silva, and Marquinhos, and two elite goalkeepers in Alisson and Ederson. Brazil has yet to drop a match in COMNEBOL qualifying, posting a 12-3-0 record.
Argentina is also unbeaten in COMNEBOL qualifying to date. Lionel Messi is still at the helm of this team, but he is starting to show his age. It may be time for players like Lautaro Martinez and Paulo Dybala to take their games to the next level as Angel Di Maria is also getting long in the tooth. There are major concerns in the back line and in net though.
France is the defending World Cup champion. Les Bleus had an ultimate collapse against Switzerland at Euro 2020, but this is probably the most talented team in the world. Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann, and Karim Benzema are the best trio of attackers that any country can claim, and Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante are an excellent tandem in the midfield. This back line has a nice mix of experience and youth, and they are probably the team to back in Qatar.
There is a lot of reason to like Germany too. Germany is tied with Italy as the second-most successful team in World Cup history behind Brazil. Thomas Muller, Serge Gnabry, Leroy Sane, and Timo Werner are all extremely talented, and captain Manuel Neuer is still one of the top goalkeepers in the world. This is a young, playmaking midfield and Germany romped throughout UEFA qualifying.
Other Top Teams That Have Yet to Qualify
Incredibly, either Italy or Portugal won’t qualify for the World Cup. Both teams finished in second place in their groups during UEFA qualifying, and if the Azzurri miss out on the World Cup it will be the second straight time. Italy is extremely offensively challenged as they only scored 13 goals in eight games during European qualifying, and seven of those goals came in two matches against Lithuania.
Colombia has made it to the knockout rounds in two straight World Cups, but Los Cafeteros may not qualify for Qatar. They are currently in seventh place in COMNEBOL, and only the top five teams can make the World Cup. They have very winnable matches against Bolivia and Venezuela at the end of March, but they have to win those games and hope that Peru and Chile both stumble.