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Ranking the five favourites to win the FIFA World Cup

International football’s best nations will soon head to Qatar for the FIFA World Cup as football’s biggest even returns in the Middle East this winter.

The recent international break provided teams with a chance to finalise their preparations for the tournament, with just weeks to go until the action gets underway.

 

Ahead of the tournament, talk of who will win football’s most prestigious football tournament is heating up. So for those of you who like to follow the latest odds and are interested in betting with bet365, we decided to look at who the bookmakers rank as the five favourites to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Spain – 15/2

Spain have struggled to make an impact at major finals since their period as the game’s dominant force, an unprecedented run of success that saw La Roja win three consecutive tournaments between 2008 and 2012.

Their last two World Cups have proven disappointing, with a group stage exit as holders in 2014 followed with defeat to host nation Russia on penalties four years ago.

However, a semi-final place at Euro 2020 last summer, comfortable qualification campaign, and progress to the Nations League finals have raised cautious optimism that Spain can challenge in Qatar.

Luis Enrique’s squad is a nice mix of experience and youth, with Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba remaining from the old-guard who had such success. In Pedri and Gavi, La Roja have two of the most exciting talents in European football, though there are concerns over the lack of a recognised goalscorer.

Alvaro Morata and Ferran Torres have shared the centre-forward role, though neither are prolific and beyond that duo there are few other options. Alba, a left-back, is the third-highest goalscorer in Enrique’s most recent squad with nine international goals.

England – 13/2

England’s success at recent tournaments has swelled confidence over a challenge in Qatar, having reached a first major final since 1966 at Euro 2020 last summer.

The Three Lions also made the last four of the World Cup in 2018, reaching the semi-finals for just the second time since winning the tournament on home soil in the mid-sixties.

England breezed through qualification in unbeaten fashion, scoring 39 goals in just eight games as the likes of Hungary, Albania, Andorra and San Marino were – expectedly – swept aside.

Gareth Southgate has a depth of talent at his disposal, but a torrid Nations League campaign has led to an inquest. England were relegated from the top tier after failing to win a single game, a six-match sequence that included home and away defeats to Hungary.

The Three Lions have conceded seven goals in their last two home fixtures, with the centre-back options for Southgate unconvincing as he has fluctuated between a back three and four. The over-reliance on Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling for goals is another issue that needs addressing.

England take on Iran, the USA and Wales in a fairly modest group in Qatar, before a likely last-16 meeting with either Qatar, Ecuador, or Senegal should the Three Lions progress as group winners. Having been fortunate with draws in the last two tournaments, it’s the sort of schedule that, on paper at least, could allow Southgate’s side to find momentum.

Argentina – 13/2

Argentina are joint-third favourites alongside England for World Cup success, in what is set to be Lionel Messi‘s last chance to claim football’s biggest prize.

Unlike previous campaigns however, Messi has a supporting cast that boasts balance alongside La Albiceleste’s usual mix of top talent.

Momentum is with Argentina, who ended a 28-year wait for international honours with Copa America success last summer and are unbeaten since 2019 – a run of 35 international fixtures and just two behind Italy’s world record of 37.

That run included a 3-0 thrashing of European champions Italy in the Finalissima, raising confidence that Argentina can compete with the major international teams from across the Atlantic.

France – 6/1

France are looking to become the first team since Brazil in 1962 to defend the World Cup and will arrive in Qatar as holders after success in 2018.

Les Bleus are well-placed for another challenge and boast arguably the deepest squad in world football. France have, however, been unconvincing since that triumph in Russia, even if Didier Deschamps side added the Nations League to their trophy haul in 2021.

Qualification was secured with an unbeaten campaign, but draws home and away to Ukraine and another stalemate with Bosnia saw France fail to convince.

Their 2022/23 Nations League campaign was also a disaster, as Les Bleus won just one of their six games to narrowly avoid relegation to the second tier. That said, any side boasting the firepower of Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema will be tough to beat.

Brazil – 4/1

Brazil are perennial contenders for World Cup success and the five-time winners will arrive in Qatar as favourites.

Tite’s team navigated South America’s notoriously treacherous qualification campaign with ease. Brazil were unbeaten in 17 fixtures to finish six points clear of Argentina, scored 40 goals and conceded just five.

It’s been two decades since Brazil’s last triumph, but South American teams have often excelled in tournaments hosted outside of Europe. Just twice have European teams won the World Cup outside of their home continent and the climate will suit the Selecao.

The spine of Brazil’s side is packed with strength and a brilliant forward line containing Vinicius Junior and Neymar will be one to watch. The latter has started the season in sublime form for PSG with 15 goal involvements in just seven league starts and is now just two goals from equalling Pele’s record for the national side.

Read – TAA next? –  Five great PL players criminally underused by England managers

Read Also – Five Premier League players that smashed it during the international break

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