Brazil is the main favourite, Messi's last chance, Portugal will surprise everyone? World Cup 2022 layouts

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Brazil national team
The Brazilian national team has conceded only 10 goals in the last 28 games - this indicator describes the Tite team from an unusual side. Back in 2014, Dunga tried to mold a reliable national team from Selesao, but it turned out to be both boring and ineffectual. Tite has a different approach - he devotes a lot of time to playing defense, but at the same time he unties the hands (or rather, legs) of the attacking group. Neymar, Richarlison, Anthony, Vinicius, Gaby Jesus - each of these guys is able to create sharpness out of the blue. And with Casemiro's backing and reliable central defense play, this gives a magical result. It is not for nothing that most bookmakers call Brazil the main favorite of the tournament in Qatar.

France national team
France is faced with the task of defending the championship title, because at least in terms of composition it is one of the strongest teams in the world. But in Qatar we will see a slightly different France compared to the one that was successful in Russia. Kante and Pogba are injured, and Karim Benzema will surely take the place at the forefront of the attack . By the way, this tournament is especially important for the Real Madrid forward - it is unlikely that there will be at least one more World Cup in his career. At Euro 2020, we saw that even France can make mistakes and get knocked out of rivals at the level of Switzerland. Is Didier Deschamps' team able to re-enable monster mode?

England team
56 years without winning the world championships is too long for a country that positions itself as the ancestor of football. Gareth Southgate  is one of the most successful England managers in recent decades, but his team is constantly criticized for their closed style and unwillingness to realize the maximum attacking potential of the squad. Now the British have a great combination of experience and youth. There is also seasoned Kane, and young and hungry for success Bellingham. The question is whether the team's ambitions will correspond to the line of defense, to which there have been more and more questions lately.

Argentina national team
For Albiceleste, the main intrigue is obvious - can the team help Messi win such an important World Cup for his legacy and stand on a par with Maradona? In 2014, Leo stopped a step away from the trophy, and, by his own admission, the year could not recover. Now Argentina is not so stellar, but much more balanced and reliable when playing at home. Messi has the same carte blanche for creativity here, while the rest clearly fulfill their roles for the overall success. This tactic has already borne fruit - Argentina won the America's Cup. Now it's time to run the circuit at the highest level.

Belgium national team
For ten years now, there has been talk of a golden Belgian generation that is bound to win at least one major title. So far, this is tight, the best achievement of Belgium at the last World Cup is third place. The team is still bursting with an excess of stars in the squad, but the same Hazard is hardly drawn to the role of one of the best football players in Europe, capable of deciding the outcomes of matches at the highest level. By the way, now Belgium is one of the most experienced teams in the tournament, including by age. Expectations from the team are appropriate.

Spain national team
The golden generation of the Spaniards is gone - only Busquets remained from the old guard, who took gold in 2010. Nou Luis Enrique is still an incredibly promising squad. Pedri, Gavi, Fati and Torres are the ones who are expected to break through at the international level. Spain's ambitions are reinforced by a clear positional structure and a number of experienced players. So far, the Spaniards' squad looks a bit damp for the role of a clear favorite to win the World Cup (for example, the problem with the forward has not been resolved), but still the class of players allows the Red Fury to count on the highest places.

Germany national team
The Germans were one of the main disappointments of the 2018 World Cup - the reigning world champions could not even make it out of the group. The subsequent resignation of Joachim Loew put an end to his era of work with the national team. The Bundestim was led by Hansi Flick, Lev's former assistant, who made a name for himself with success at Bayern. The main feature of the new German national team is the mercury attack group with Sane, Havertz and Gnabry. Plus, there is the most experienced Thomas Muller in the support role, as well as Jamal Musiala, who is called one of the most talented young football players in Europe. In short, Germany has everything to claim victory in the tournament again. Despite the fact that in 2022 the results of the Germans were so-so - only 2 wins in 8 games.

Portugal national team
The only flaw in the biography of Cristiano Ronaldo is the lack of victory in the World Cup. In Qatar, top partners will help him achieve the long-awaited success - first of all, Bruno Fernandes, Bernardo Silva and Joao Cancelo. But you can still remember Rafael Leau, Ruben Dias, Joao Felix, Nuno Mendes and many others. The composition of the Portuguese national team is simply bombing - perhaps even stronger than the one that won the European Championship in 2016. The question is - will Fernando Santos be able to use this potential to the fullest?

Portugal national team

Netherlands national team
The legendary Louis van Gaal is preparing for the "last dance". It is already known that the coach will end his career after the World Cup, this tournament is the final opportunity to make a gift to his country. In 2017, the football Netherlands experienced a disaster, failing to qualify for the World Cup, therefore, they can only be attributed to the number of favorites with a stretch. But all the Dutch have qualified confidently, and the squad, in addition to the star van Dijk and De Jong, is packed with quality players. With the defense of the Netherlands, the order is van Dijk, de Ligt, Ake, de Vrey. The question is, can this team be effective offensively? Hopes for a rushing recovery from Memphis' injury.

dark horses

Team USA
The Americans took third place in qualifying after Canada and Mexico, but it is from this team that many expect a breakthrough. The United States is quite capable of taking second place in the group after England and, bypassing Wales and Iran, to get into the playoffs. At least the line-up allows this - in addition to the well-known Pulisic, Reina and McKenny with Dest, there is, for example, the 22-year-old Leeds attacking midfielder Brandon Aaronson, who claims to be the opening of the tournament. In recent years, football in the United States has been steadily developing, more and more players are playing in strong European clubs, so something memorable is expected from the national team at a major forum.

Poland national team
The Poles got to the World Cup with a scandal, taking advantage of the ban of Russia, with which they were supposed to play in the play-offs. The Polish national team is regularly selected for international events, but under Robert Lewandowski it has never left the group. Now the chances are good. The task is to bypass Mexico with Saudi Arabia and together with Argentina from the second place to go to the playoffs.

National team of Denmark
The Danes performed very well at Euro 2020, including arranging a nightmarish evening for the Russian team. The composition of all the same leaders - Schmeichel, Heybjerg, Christensen. But Christian Eriksen has also returned, almost saying goodbye to life last summer. Denmark is a trained modern team capable of causing problems to anyone. Remember at least how the British suffered with them in the semi-finals of the Euro! At the World Cup, the Danes have every chance to reach the playoffs after France, for this you just need to get around the mediocre teams of Tunisia and Australia.

Croatia national team
Croatia topped their qualifying group, conceding just four goals. This solid defense, combined with the offensive talents of Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic and Andrej Kramaric, will be a threat to any opponent. Nevertheless, even despite reaching the final of the 2018 World Cup, it is difficult to list the Croats among the favorites. The national team did not find a full-fledged replacement for Rakitic and Mandzhukic, and it is impossible to constantly “leave” on Modric. In any case, Zlatko Dalic's team is expected to reach the playoffs, and there a lot will depend on the opponent.

Serbia national team
Another country from the Balkans, from which you can expect something interesting. It's funny that the Serbs were in the same group with Brazil, as in the last World Cup. Then it didn’t work out to reach the playoffs, but now Serbia has an excellent squad, which has several top players. First of all, these are Dusan Vlahovic from Juventus and Sergei Milinkovic-Savic from Lazio. The Serbs also have high hopes for Alexander Mitrovic, who has been scoring indecently a lot in recent years, albeit at the championship level (by the way, last spring he broke the league record for the number of goals per season - 43 goals!). The main thing for the Serbs will be the confrontation with Switzerland - most likely, it will be they who will fight to get out of the group along with France.



Switzerland national team
The Swiss have shown more than once that they are capable of punching top teams in the nose. At the last Euro, they knocked out France, and in qualifying for the World Cup they bypassed Italy. The heroes are the same here - the ethnic Albanian Jaka leads the game in the center of the field, the son of the Nigerian and mathematical genius Akanji oversees the defense, the Bosnian Seferovic is responsible for the goals scored. Well, Jann Sommer, the idol of fans of advanced statistics, works wonders at the gate. This team has surprised everyone more than once - it is capable of this even now.

Uruguay national team
Uruguay has long established itself as the strongest Latin American team after Brazil and Argentina. Although the team had problems at the start of this selection, everything got better only after the change of head coach. Forlan, followed by Suarez and Cavani, put a lot of effort into this. Now Louis and Edinson are 35 years old, and the World Cup in Qatar will surely be their swan song. But the Uruguayans are betting not only on the "oldies". The main figure here threatens to become Federico Valverde, who has gained fantastic form at Real Madrid. And there is also the hungry Darwin Nunez, and Bentancourt from Tottenham, and the progressing Oliver from Napoli. It's a pity that the Uruguayans will have to do without Ronald Araujo, a key defensive player. With him, one could qualify for the distant stages of the playoffs.

South Korea national team
Of course, all the hopes of the Koreans are connected with the figure of Son Heung-min, who is now recovering from a complex fracture of the orbit. But the Portuguese Paulo Bento built a very dynamic and interesting team, not tied to the figure of the main star. Yes, and the new generation is pulling up - central defender Kim Min Jae has become the main one in Napoli, and forward Hwang Hee Chan is fighting for a place at the start of Wolves. The discipline and talent of Son are the main features of the Asian team in Qatar.

Puzzles

Ecuador national team
This Latin American team unexpectedly jumped into the World Cup, leaving behind the more eminent teams of Chile and Colombia in the qualification. Surprisingly, in the course of the selection in the South American zone, only Brazil scored more than Ecuadorians, and Argentines conceded less. At first glance, the team of Ecuador does not stand out, but even here there are some interesting players: in defense they are promising Inchape and Estupignan, in attack - veteran Enner Valencia and the team's top scorer in the selection Mikael Estrada. But we advise you to pay special attention to Brighton midfielder Moises Caicedo, who is already being hunted by big European clubs.

Wales national team
Yes, the Welsh reached the semi-finals of Euro 2016, but still it was a long time ago - the leaders have grown old, and no new stars have appeared in the sky. In any case, reaching the first World Cup since 1958 is already a success for the Welsh. It's hard to imagine Wales in the knockout stages of the tournament yet, but we all know what kind of player Gareth Bale turns into when he puts on an international jersey.

National team of Senegal
The Senegalese do not like to remember their last race at the World Cup. In 2018, this team became the first in history to be eliminated from the tournament under the “fair play” rule - Japan left the group on equal points only because they earned two yellow cards less. But in general, the composition allows Senegal to count on the fact that in Qatar it will be possible not only to rehabilitate, but also to make some noise. With one caveat - if the main star of the team, Sadio Mane, has time to recover by the start of the tournament. Of course, there is also Kalidou Coulibaly and a whole range of talented players from not the last teams in strong European leagues, but Senegal with Mane and without Mane are two different teams.

Iran national team
Due to political unrest in the country, there were rumors that Iran might not go to the World Cup at all. Fortunately, this team will still get to Qatar. The Iranians have never reached the playoffs of the World Cup. In a group with the USA, England and Wales, it will be incredibly difficult to do this, but Iran has a striker Mehdi Taremi who is in luxurious form. Well, let's not forget about Serdar Azmun, who, although he does not have regular playing practice at Bayer, has been the leader of his team for years.

Mexico national team
A team not stuffed with stars, while putting on a show at every major international tournament. Recall at least the victory over Germany at the 2018 World Cup or the heroism of Ochoa at the 2014 World Cup. By the way, Guillermo is still the first number, so we are waiting for the next series of super saves in his performance. The main star of the team, perhaps, is Hvichi's partner in Napoli, Irving Lozano. But in general, Mexico primarily relies on team interactions, so the head coach of this team is Tata Martino.

Team Canada
The Canadians are perhaps the main sensation of the qualifying round. The team took first place in the North America zone, while becoming leaders in the number of goals and conceding the fewest goals. The main star of the team, of course, is the reactive Alphonso Davis from Bayern, but in general, the Canadians took their toll through team play and a clear distribution of roles. These guys have already proven that they are ready to surprise. However, in the entire history of the Canadian team has never scored in the world championships. It's time to fix!

Japan national team
In 2018, the Japanese almost created a sensation: in the 1/8 finals they were 2-0 against the Belgian national team by the 69th minute, but missed three and were eliminated. Then Japan showed that it was ready to surprise. It is difficult to say whether the team in Qatar will be able to do this - after all, there are too serious competitors in the group. But you can be sure of one thing for sure - in the locker room of the national team and in the stands with Japanese fans after the game there will be perfect cleanliness.

Morocco national team
The Moroccans in light mode passed the qualifying stage by beating the Congo national team in the playoffs. But in Qatar, the team from North Africa will be very difficult. The rivals are Belgium, Croatia and Canada that can surprise. Morocco has great players in the squad - Hakimi is great in games for PSG, Bunu and En-Nesiri are the main players of Sevilla. Well, the main one, of course, is Hakim Ziyech, who nevertheless got into the application after a quarrel with head coach Halilhodzic. However, the exit from the group for Morocco will be a real success, given the level of opposition.

Outsiders

Qatar national team
The national team of this country participates in the World Cup for the first time. Of course, as the host country, this team would have practically no chance to get to the World Cup in another way. This is a classic underdog who will look for his chances in counterattacks and rely on the favor of the judges. We advise you to pay attention to Akram Afif, a technical winger who tried unsuccessfully to play in La Liga.

Saudi Arabia national team
The team with which our national team played the opening match of the World Cup in 2018. The Saudis again qualified and made it to a major tournament, but, like more than four years ago, it is unlikely that anyone will decide to bet on them. Herve Renard's team is distinguished by discipline and organization, but for ambitions at this level, the current squad is simply weak.



Tunisia national team
Hardly anyone expects feats from Tunisia. This team relies on defense, and Montassart Talbi plays a leading role in this line, whom RPL fans can remember from his performances for Rubin. There are some interesting attacking players here (Skhiri from Cologne or Khazri from Montpellier), but this team will primarily focus on “parking” a huge “bus” in their penalty box.

Australian national team
When the Australians qualified for the World Cup in the post-match penalty shootout with Peru, the emotions were comparable to those if the team captain lifted the Jules Rimet trophy over his head. So for Australia, getting into Qatar is already a holiday. And the rest of the possible successes (a victory over Tunisia, for example) will be nice bonuses. This team is of interest only because of its mystery.

Costa Rica national team
This team got off to a terrible start with only one win in their first seven matches. But the Costa Ricans were able to rectify the situation and eventually got into the final stage. It will be especially interesting to watch the game of Keylor Navas, who was unceremoniously pushed behind Donnarumma at PSG. True, in order to score at least one point in the group with Spain, Germany and Japan, Keylor and his partners will have to sweat very seriously.

National team of Cameroon
In Cameroon, players of the level of Samuel Eto'o have not appeared for a long time, and therefore the team does not pretend to be a serious success. In the group with Brazil, Switzerland and Serbia, Cameroon is assigned the role of an outsider, but sometimes even teams without bright personalities can surprise.

Ghana national team
At the 2010 World Cup, Ghana reached the quarter-finals, where they had a historic felling with Uruguay. Suarez's hand, Gyan's missed penalty in the last minutes - you all remember it for sure. Now the Ghanaians have new heroes. Instead of Sally Muntari, Thomas Partey, who lights up at Arsenal, instead of Gyan, Ignaki Williams from Athletic. Will this be enough to get out of the group with Uruguay and Portugal is a big question. But these guys are capable of making some noise.

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