QATAR 2022: TOP TEAMS TO WATCH OUT FOR
The 2022 world cup will kick off later this month in Qatar. Interestingly, this world cup is peculiar for a number of reasons; one, it is a radical departure from the norm, as it will be a winter world cup owing to the fact that the host country’s temperature will be on the high side during the summer. Secondly, a spell of injuries had haunted some key players like Paul Pogba and Ngolo Kante, thus depriving football fans of the varieties of talents for which this tournament is known for. Lastly and sadly, the African giant, Nigeria, will be conspicuously absent from the competition this year.
Regardless of these peculiarities, Qatar will host the biggest football competition this month and it is expected to be a fantastic event. But which teams are we expecting to steal the show and eventually clinch the prestigious silverware?
With key players like, Neymar, Vinicius Jr. & Thiago Silva, this team is one of the favourites to triumph in Qatar. This team isn’t only blessed with an impressive squad-depth but the talents replete in this squad is off the charts.
Brazil is enjoying an excellent international form, as they have only lost once since 2020 and ever since their loss to Argentina in the Copa America in July of last year, they have won 12 and drawn 3 of their 15 games played. They qualified for the world cup as leaders of the CONMEBOL Standings.
All through the 17 games played in the qualifying stage, they registered 40 goals and conceded just 5. Without any element of surprise, they went unbeaten and Head Coach Tite is envisaging a major success in his career.
The Argentines go into the competition as the most in-form team, coupled with the fact that the team has other crop of talented players like Rodrigo de Paul and Angel Di Maria, thus affording the team the ability to perform with or without Lionel Messi.
Their incredible form has booked them a convenient spot amongst the favourites to win the world cup, in fact, many consider them as the number one contender for the prized trophy. Since losing to Brazil in July of 2019, they’ve been on an unbeaten run of 36 games, with a winning streak of 26 games, drawing 10 out of it.
And just like Neymar Jr. of Brazil, Lionel Messi will be playing in the world cup for the last time and as such, will be aiming to win the only trophy that had eluded him throughout his career.
The Spaniards have retained their style of flowing play and on top of that, this team has witnessed significant improvement in recent years, this is validated by their impressive outings at the EURO 2020, the qualifiers and Nations league.
However, what could pose as a limiting factor to their title hopes is their attack. Both their defence and midfield still possesses the formidable structure but the Frontline lacks the killer instinct that is associated with tournament winners.
As per official statistics; Among European group winners in the World Cup Qualifiers, Spain ranked last in goals scored alongside Switzerland (1.8 Goals Per Game) – in comparison, England averaged 3.9 and Germany averaged 3.6.
With the likes of Morata, Ferran Torres, Pablo Sarabia & Asensio, making up the attack line, although talented, the fact remains that these players lack the consistency needed in front of goal to deliver a major international trophy.
Despite not playing the most attractive football, the 3-lions have made steady progress under Gareth Southgate’s leadership. In Russia 2018, they got to the semi-finals and in the 2020 EUROs, they lost the trophy by just three missed penalties.
However, they go into the world cup with a not so impressive form, having failed to win in 6 games, without a goal in 4 out of the 6 games. To worsen issues, they find themselves in a tricky group, alongside Iran, USA and neighbours, Wales.
While there are valid concerns about this team, it remains a top contender in international competitions, with a brilliant squad of experienced players like, Harry Kane, who is having one of his best scoring seasons, young and upcoming players; Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden and Mason Mount, each of whom are experiencing impressive forms in their respective clubs.
Beyond any reasonable doubt, England’s performance has been really unpredictable and who knows which England will turn up for this tournament.
Holland hasn’t achieved any major laurel on the international stage, but the popular belief is that this world cup could be their year.
With a talented squad of players like, Virgil van Diyk, Frankie De Jong and Daley Blind, the team is afforded the needed tactical intelligence and excellent play. Memphis Depay also remains a key player for this team, even though he is having a tough time in Barcelona.
Head coach, Louis van Gaal is also expected to bring his tactical intelligence and great organisational leadership to bear in this dutch team.
With the likes of Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller, Leroy Sane, Serge Gnabry, Kai Havertz and Jamal Musiala, the German squad has a perfect blend of proven veterans, players at their peaks and budding young stars all of whom are proven winners. Hansi Flick, a treble winning manager with Bayern Munich, is expected to bring to fore his excellent tactical abilities and wealth of experience, having served as assistant manager since 2006, and eventually co-leading Germany to world cup glory in 2014.
However, just like the Spanish national team, the Germans’ impotence in front of the goal and their overreliance on attacking midfielders and wide players to do the scoring will likely cost them the world cup just like it did in the last EUROs.
Although without superstars, the Danes are a very competent team, with an ability to humiliate bigger teams that underestimate them. Denmark is coming to Qatar with a confidence gained after qualifying for the World Cup atop Group F, with 30 goals scored in 10 games and just 3 goals conceded.
Over the years, Denmark has grown to be a cohesive team with little turnover of players in the team. This has eventually translated into an ever growing chemistry and a great atmosphere in the dressing room. A major boost for the squad is the availability of Christian Eriksen, who is currently on an impressive form in Manchester United, his versatility under veteran coach Erik Ten Hag, is what the Danes are expecting him to bring to the team.
This Portuguese team is the best collection we’ve ever had, with talents like the Manchester City trio; Bernado Silva, Cancelo and Ruben Dias. This team is equally blessed with young players like João Félix, Rafael Leão, Diogo Jota & Diogo Costa, who are some of the best in their positions.
There is also the highly decorated Christiano Ronaldo, whose conquering instincts have worked for him again and again. Although he seems to have passed his prime and is currently having a bad time in Manchester United, yet, the confidence he adds to this team can never be underestimated.
Liverpool’s Jota will be highly missed due to a calf muscle injury but that shouldn’t be much of a problem. It is also of note that Portugal’s success in Qatar will to a large extent depend on the tactical abilities and excellent decision making of their Head Coach, Fernando Santos, in figuring out how to use these talents at his disposal.
In a matter of days, international teams will head to Qatar for the 2022 world cup, with eyes on the trophy and in a bid to do this, it is expected that these teams put up a good fight and provide us fantastic performances that will make this November a memorable one for all football fans and the world at large.