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Ranking the five favourites to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup

The World Cup is fast approaching with international football’s best sides preparing for Qatar 2022, each having discovered their opponents for this winter’s finals.

France will enter the tournament as defending champions after victory in Russia four years ago, but which sides will pose the biggest challenge to Les Bleus’ hopes of defending the trophy?

We’ve decided to look at how the bookmakers are assessing the tournament fancies.

Here are the five favourites to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Germany – 8/1

Germany are perennial contenders despite disappointing performances in their past two major tournaments, exiting at the group stage of the 2018 World Cup before a meek last-16 defeat to England at Euro 2020 last summer.

However, Die Mannschaft reached at least the semi-finals of six straight tournaments before those campaigns and a transitional team made light work of the qualification process with nine wins and one defeat from their 10 fixtures, conceding just four goals in the process.

Experienced names such as Manuel Neuer and Thomas Muller remain to guide an exciting collection of young talent, with the likes of Florian Wirtz and Karim Adeyemi hoping for a place in Hansi Flick’s plans.

Germany have been seeded second for the World Cup draw and will be the side each of the top seeds will want to avoid in the group stage.

Spain – 7/1

Spain are another side who breezed through the qualification process, finishing four points clear of Sweden to win Group B and earn an automatic place in Qatar.

La Roja enjoyed a stunning period of international dominance to win three consecutive major tournaments between 2008 and 2012, including lifting the World Cup for the first time in South Africa.

Spain reached the semi-finals of Euro 2020 last summer before losing to Italy, but exacted revenge on the European champions to end their 37-game unbeaten run and reach the UEFA Nations League final in October.

In Pedri, Gavi, Ansu Fati and Yeremi Pino the Spanish have a quartet of exciting teenage talents, each of who will enter the World Cup – if selected – with a fearless approach.

Luis Enrique has reiterated his desire to remain in charge of Spain until after the tournament at least, a huge boost for the national side amid interest from Manchester United.

England – 13/2

Rarely a tournament passes without England being considered among the pre-finals favourites, despite decades of disappointment on the international stage for the Three Lions.

Impressive performances at the 2018 World Cup (semi-finals) and Euro 2020 (runners-up) have raised expectations among Gareth Southgate’s side, who will arrive in Qatar with one of the most talented squads in the competition.

England, however, possessed home advantage for much of that European Championship and it remains to be seen whether Southgate’s side can match those levels in the Middle Eastern climate.

Harry Kane move up to joint-second among the nation’s record scorers during the international break and could eclipse Wayne Rooney’s record before the finals kick-off in November. Winner of the Golden Boot in Russia four years ago, he will again be crucial to England’s hopes.

Kane’s status is unquestioned but there remains issues to be solved for Southgate, including whether a five-man backline continues to be used and finding balance in the make-up of his midfield.

France – 11/2

Not since Brazil in 1962 has a team won consecutive World Cups, whilst the South Americans were also the last side to reach successive finals after making the showpiece in 1994, 1998 and 2002.

That’s the task facing France ahead of Qatar, though Les Bleus boast arguably the deepest resources in international football right now.

France ended qualification unbeaten from their eight fixtures and won the Nations League in October, whilst in Kylian Mbappe the world champions boast a forward fast ascending to a status as the planet’s finest footballer.

Mbappe was excellent in Russia four years ago but is an entirely different proposition now, having scored 137 goals in 164 appearances for PSG since returning from Moscow with a World Cup winners’ medal.

Brazil – 9/2

South America’s qualification process is notoriously gruelling, but Brazil assured their place in Qatar in hugely impressive fashion.

Tite’s side will arrive at the tournament as favourites after qualifying for the finals unbeaten, winning 14 and drawing three of their 17 fixtures and conceding just five goals.

Perhaps promisingly for Brazil, just twice has a World Cup hosted outside of Europe been won by a European team. Spain’s success in 2010 and Germany’s victory four years later ended a previous run of eight consecutive wins from South American teams.

The five-time winners will be confident despite an indifferent recent record on the world stage, progressing past the quarter-finals just once since winning the World Cup in 2002.

Read – Picking a best XI of players who won’t be at the Qatar World Cup

Read Also – Six Premier League players who shone during the international break

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