- France has won the 2018 FIFA World Cup, beating Croatia 4-2 in the Final
- Qatar will host the next edition of the FIFA World Cup in November/December of 2022
- Despite all the upsets in Russia, it’s the usual list of suspects expected to win at Qatar 2022
With the 2018 FIFA World Cup wrapped up, it’s time to look four years ahead to Qatar 2022. Sure, there’s a non-zero chance that a nuclear apocalypse takes place and the next World Cup is contested by radiation-resistant mutants, but let’s just ignore that possibility and assume that the world remains intact.
Qatar is expected to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup (though that could change as well), and since the tiny Gulf state is located in a desert, the tournament will take place over November and December. These are strange times, but the list of favorites for 2022 actually holds very few surprises. Despite all the upsets at Russia 2018, the nations that have historically been successful at the World Cup remain the front-runners.
Odds to Win the 2022 FIFA World Cup
Money has been pouring in for the 2018 World Cup champs following their 4-2 victory over Croatia at the Finals. That shouldn’t surprise anyone. France entered the 2018 World Cup as one of the favorites due to the amount of star quality within the squad — all $1.2 billion worth — and the amazing amount of depth on their bench. The only concern was their youth and lack of experience.
Those concerns have now been laid to rest. The inexperienced squad proved that they can handle themselves against some of the very best, from Uruguay to Argentina to Belgium. If you thought this France side was spectacular, imagine what they’ll look like in four years’ time.
There is the Winner’s Curse, though. The last three World Cup champions — Italy, Spain, and Germany — all failed to advance to the Round of 16 in the subsequent World Cup.
Of course, Brazil will enter Qatar as one of the clear favorites. It’s not a World Cup without the five-time winners looking to add another star to their name.
We should expect a completely different squad in 2022. Sending a squad with an average age of almost 29 to the 2018 World Cup, Tite opted for experience over youth in 2018. That means the National Team will probably experience a dramatic reshuffling in the next few years. Their entire back-line requires an overhaul, with perhaps only Marquinhos (24) avoiding the cut. Coutinho, Firmino, and Neymar will all be hitting 30, so there will also be a need for some new attacking talent.
Brazil has never failed to usher in a new generation of world-class players, so there’s really no need for anyone to panic.
“Football is a simple game. Twenty-two men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win.”
Gary Lineker’s famous quote didn’t exactly hold up at this World Cup, but we can be sure that the Germans will return in 2022 with a renewed energy. Timo Werner will be four years wiser and more confident on the world stage. Joshua Kimmich is on track to become one of the greatest defenders Germany has ever seen. And Leroy Sané, who was foolishly cut from the final 23 for Russia, should start to play a central role within the National Team.
The next few years will be a interesting time for German football. The fate of their longtime coach, Joachim Löw, hangs in the balance, and we should expect a few high-profile retirements to come.
Tiki-taka was declared dead after Spain lost to hosts Russia in the Round of 16. But those calls may be a little premature. Sure, Spain no longer have a central midfield duo in Andrés Iniesta and Xavi to dictate play, but the Spaniards still possess the greatest passing game in international football.
They were strangely ineffectual against Russia, but their performances in the Group Stage elevated them to the betting favorites for a moment. The way they cut through Portugal in their opening match was perhaps the greatest display in the entire World Cup, despite the game ending in a draw.
Former Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has taken over as head coach, and Andrés Iniesta and David Silva have retired from the National Team, clearing the way for young players like Saúl and Isco.
It’s strange that Argentina are among the favorites for 2022. With an average age of 29.3, the Argentinian squad was the third-oldest side in Russia, after only Costa Rica and Mexico. Midfielders Javier Mascherano and Lucas Biglia announced their retirement moments after Argentina were eliminated in the Round of 16, and we shouldn’t be surprised if Lionel Messi calls it a day as well.
Their front three — Gonzalo Higuaín (30), Messi (31), and Sergio Agüero (30) — are nearing the end of their careers. So is star midfielder Ángel Di María (30) and veteran defender Nicolás Otamendi (30). Apart from Paulo Dybala and perhaps Mauro Icardi, there aren’t many promising young players coming out of Argentina at the moment.