With Euro 2020 done and the new Premier League season returning in August, it feels like the football calendar is finally back to normal. That won’t be the case for long, with our first ever Christmas World Cup on the horizon.
Qatar 2022 kicks off in November next year and runs through to December 18th, a massive change for the summer tournament. While there are plenty of downsides to that switch, a mid-season World Cup should in theory see players at their peak, rather than entering tired after a full season.
It’s never too early to get looking at potential World Cup winners and in the backdrop of the Euro 2020 final we’re looking at who could be a contender in Qatar.
World Cup 2022 betting odds and favourites
The two current frontrunners with the bookies are Brazil and France, who have featured in five of the last seven finals between them. Neither look invincible right now, with Brazil losing the Copa America final on home soil this month and France exiting Euro 2020 to Switzerland.
France are also looking to retain the World Cup after their success in Russia, but that’s rare. Brazil in 1958 and 1962 were the las back-to-back winners of the tournament. The pair are priced around 11/2 to win the tournament next year, which personally I believe is too short, especially given that both were cut-price failures in their continental competitions this summer.
England 2022 World Cup Odds
England’s footballing history is littered with glorious near-misses, each of which tended to come out of the blue. Their Italia ’90 and Euro ’96 campaigns were bright points in a decade of otherwise underwhelming tournaments. This England side is nothing like that.
As semi-finalists at the 2018 World Cup and 2019 Nations League plus Euro 2020 finalists, England have a real track record. They have also reached those heights despite having one of the youngest squads at this summer’s Euros. This is a new generation who have no reason to fear major tournaments and that makes them a threat in Qatar.
England are priced at 8/1 to win the World Cup, making them third-favourites behind Brazil and France. That’s probably a fair price for a side who will view a run to the last four as the minimum requirement. However, a pessimist might say that the Three Lions have passed up two great openings in Moscow and London, as the Qatar climate could hurt them. Even in November they could be playing in 30°C, not something England have traditionally dealt with well.
Could Italy win the 2022 World Cup?
After Euro 2020, Italian football is on the up. This is a side who last qualified for the World Cup back in 2014, but Roberto Mancini arrived four years ago and took a squad dented by failure and made them winners. He overhauled their playing style, made fringe players undroppable and made Italy European champions for the first time in 53 years.
Italy are major contenders, but the winners of the Euros have won the following World Cup on only two occasions (West Germany in 1974 and Spain in 2010). The Italians were under the radar this summer but they’ll be a target next year, while their stellar centre-half pairing of Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini will be another year older.
World Cup 2022 Best Bet – Germany
I’m basing this on a manager who has done nothing more but spectate with his current national side, but I like the look of Germany for World Cup glory in Qatar.
Germany have waved goodbye to long-term boss Joachim Low, but moving for Hansi Flick is a shrewd move after his success with Bayern. Flick arrived in Munich with the German giants fresh from a 5-1 loss to Eintracht Frankfurt with negativity swirling around the club. In the following 18 months he delivered seven trophies, including a Champions League win months on from his arrival.
Germany have made early exits at the last two tournaments and they’re in need of a boost. The summer showed that there are great young talents for Germany to call upon, including plenty of stars who won everything with Flick.
While retaining the World Cup is rare, winning it twice in eight years isn’t. Since the tournament was retained last, three sides have won the trophy twice in eight years. Germany could follow that lead and I think 12/1 is a good price on Flick to make a star-studded squad into contenders.
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