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Predicting The Qualifiers From Each 2022 Qatar World Cup Group
The World Cup is trying to sneak up on us this year, but don’t worry–I’ve got my eye on it until kick-off. The World Cup officially starts on November 20th at 11:00 AM EST, when host country Qatar will take on Ecuador. Team USA plays on the second day of the tournament, facing off against Wales in what is a must-win game if they want to make it out of the Group Stages.
If you’re unfamiliar with how the World Cup works, here’s a quick rundown. There are eight groups of four teams, totaling 32 teams in the 2022 World Cup. From here we cut down to 16, by taking the top two teams from each group and moving them onto a bracket-formatted knockout stage. Each team will play three games in the group stages, one against every other member of the group. You get three points for a win, one point for a tie, and no points for a loss. If you are among the top two teams in your group after those three games, you’re onto the knockout stages. From here on out, the World Cup is formatted like any other bracket-based tournament.
While the real meat and potatoes of the World Cup come after the group stages, I feel like some of the best games are played in the Group Stages, and some of the best upsets come from smaller teams emerging from their groups that we otherwise wouldn’t have expected. So, that’s where I am going to be focused today. Here is who I think will make it out of each group in the World Cup, with odds provided by DraftKings Sportsbook. If you want to bet on the 2022 World Cup, be sure to check out these New Jersey Online Casinos.
- Netherlands -900
- Senegal -145
- Ecuador +100
- Qatar +500
Host nation Qatar actually got a pretty decent draw here, seeing a possible path to the Round of 16 right in front of them. However, getting through both Ecuador and Senegal may prove difficult for the 48th-ranked team.
The Netherlands will advance from this group with ease, and I expect huge performances out of defenseman Matthijs de Ligt and midfielder Frenkie de Jong in the process. Their hardest match will surely come against Senegal, who I feel are a real dark horse not only in this group, but in the whole tournament. Senegal is obviously the team of new Bayern Munich transfer Sadio Mane, who can be a lot to handle for even the best of defenders.
Predictions: 1st Place–Netherlands, 2nd Place–Senegal
- England -1600
- USA +100
- Wales +110
- Iran +350
Whether you’re a fan of US soccer or not, you must admit–this is a pretty awesome group. Forget about the political ramifications of the USA/Iran match, but we have USA vs England too? Sign me up.
Unfortunately for the US though, this group is no walk in the park. The games against Iran and Wales SHOULD be winnable, but the US has an uncanny ability to lose very winnable games. Add on the fact that the US tends to play poorly against European sides, and that Wales game becomes all the more threatening.
Still, this US team is one of the more exciting sides they’ve sent out to compete in recent World Cups. It’s a side led by youth, not veteran presence, which is something new for USMNT fans. I expect this US side to be gritty, and maybe even give England a run for their money in their group stage game (right now, England is -135 to win in the bout against the US).
Prediction: 1st place–England, 2nd Place–USA
- Argentina -1600
- Mexico -120
- Poland -110
- Saudi Arabia +600
In what will most likely be Messi’s last chance at glory, I think Argentina will make it out of this group relatively unscarred. However, I do feel like they’ll be given more of a fight than Vegas is leading on. While Saudia Arabia is really nothing to lose sleep over, both Mexico and Poland provide strong opposition.
While Mexico holds the higher world rank (9), I feel like Poland is really the team you want to keep an eye on here. Led by one of the best strikers in the world, Robert Lewandowski, this Poland side could cause a lot of headaches for opposing defenses, particularly defenders (like those on Mexico) that have never attempted to cover a striker of his caliber. I think the winner of this Poland vs Mexico game is the one that makes it out of the group in second place, and right now Poland is a slight favorite (three-way Moneyline: Poland +155/Draw +210/Mexico +185).
Prediction: 1st Place–Argentina, 2nd Place–Poland
- France -1400
- Denmark -285
- Tunisia +300
- Australia +400
This is an interesting group because there are storylines littered all over it. While France is the overwhelming favorite to come out on top, recent draw results would say otherwise–Denmark beat France in the UEFA Nationals League. While that holds true, the World Cup is different, and I think the defending World Champs (France) will be ready this time around.
Australia does pose an interesting threat to Denmark in terms of sneaking into second place, but remember–they narrowly made it into the World Cup anyway, needing penalties against Peru just to get a shot. I think this group goes pretty chalk.
Prediction: 1st Place–France, 2nd Place–Denmark
- Spain -750
- Germany -650
- Japan +300
- Costa Rica +700
If you thought the last group was to chalk, then you’ll LOVE this one. Spain and Germany are two of the eight nations that have EVER won a World Cup, so winning is just in their blood. I expect them to both go through Japan and Costa Rica like a hot knife through butter, and then the match between them will be the game of the group stages. I think Germany will come out on top there, grabbing the better seeding in the Round of 16.
Prediction: 1st Place–Germany, 2nd Place–Spain
- Belgium -900
- Croatia -200
- Morocco +200
- Canada +300
I feel like Belgium has been a World Cup dark horse for the past two World Cups, so is this finally their year? I’m not sure, but what I am sure about is they will come out of this group on top. While last year's runner-up, Croatia, may give them a small fight, I expect them to come out of the group unscarred, with three wins under their belt.
Now, second place is where things get a little tricky. While my gut says Croatia, my heart says Canada. This Canadian side played phenomenal soccer in Concacaf qualifying, winning 8 of 14 games and scoring 23 goals. Led by young superstar Alphonso Davies, I expect this Canadian team to turn some heads in November.
Prediction: 1st Place–Belgium, 2nd Place–Canada
- Brazil -1000
- Switzerland +100
- Serbia +130
- Cameroon +250
While Brazil will make it out with no problem, I feel like this group holds the closest battle for second place amongst any of the other groups. Switzerland, Serbia, and Cameroon are all incredibly strong teams that could make it out of this group if the ball rolls their way. I think Serbia may find themselves the talk of the town early in this group because I expect breakout play from 24-year-old striker Luka Jovic.
Prediction: 1st Place–Brazil, 2nd Place–Serbia
- Portugal -650
- Uruguay -220
- Ghana +225
- South Korea +350
Here’s another pretty even and interesting group, mostly because I don’t love Portugal as the “automatic” winner. While this will also presumably be Ronaldo’s last chance at glory, the 27-year-old striker is not the man he used to be. Luckily for him, he is backed up by young talents like Bernado Silva, Bruno Fernandes, and Diogo Jota–but will that be enough to come out on top? Especially when you’re facing off against Uruguay’s talented bunch (Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani, Diego Godin, Darwin Nunez, Ronald Araujo, Federico Valverde) and South Korea’s midfield, captained by Tottenham star Song Heung Min.
I think this group will be a lot closer than people are giving credit to, but ultimately Ronaldo will survive to see another day.
Prediction: 1st Place–Uruguay, 2nd Place–Portugal