The FIFA World Cup is finally here and the fervour for the world’s biggest sporting event which kicks off on November 20 has reached fever pitch.
Well in the last several years, the beautiful game’s mentions have had rather some ugly narratives mostly related to Qatar World Cup like controversies related to human rights violation to favouritism to the tiny gulf state to host such a major tournament, mid-season timing of the tournament and son on.
But controversies apart, the 22nd edition of this biggest soccer competition will no doubt be record-breaking in many ways, be it first ever World Cup in Middle East or last one to feature a 32-team tournament. For fans, however, the most important thing that matters is the passion and celebration of this sports festival.
Coming to favourites, this year’s FIFA World Cup will see some of the star-studded generational teams show their action like never before. Similarly, one should not also write off upsets because that is the beauty of the game.
Five-time World Champions Brazil are bookies’ favourites to add a 6th crown to their cabinet and let’s not forget England. Here we briefly explain the chances of some best in-form teams who can lift the gold trophy.
The South American giants might not have tasted World Cup glory since 2002, but they are the in-form side going into the tournament. The Seleção have won six of their last six international matches and have not lost any since the Copa America final in 2021. Boasting probably the best team with the likes of Neymar, Vinicius, Fabinho, Gabriel Jesus in the midfield and attack and solid defence with shot-stoppers like Alisson and Ederson, Tite’s men will look to go all the way this time.
The defending champions led by Mbappe are the team to watch out for this World Cup. In 2018, they surprised everyone as they snatched away the ultimate prize in football. This year, however, they have even become more unpredictable with some very young faces in the 22-member team. Didier Deschamps will look to lay his hand on the golden trophy for the second time in succession with the team that has experience of goalkeepers like Hugo Hugo Lloris, match-winners Ousmane Dembele and of-course world best player Ballon d'Or Karim Benzema.
The Copa America champions are the team to beat this World Cup. The impressive winning streak of the South American powerhouse continues from July 2019. This will certainly be the Great Lionel Messi’s last quest at the Holy Grail of football. The 35-year-old is seeking the crowning feat of his legendary career and will be a man on a mission.
Will this be the time when the world cup glory finally comes home. Time and again, England’s several world-class footballers have failed to lay their hands on the golden trophy since the last one came in 1966. The Three Lions broke their quarter-final and penalty jinx to seal a semifinal berth in World Cup 2018 but eventually lost to Croatia. After miserable heartbreaks from hyper-expectation from the star-studded golden generation in the 90s and 2000s, the team under the guidance of Harry Kane went all the way to the final of the 2020 Euro but also lost to Italy. Fans hope that this World Cup might finally see the Three Lions roar on top of the podium.
The Dutch head into the World Cup as Europe’s form team and are unbeaten since their Euro 2020 loss to Czech Republic. The three-time World Cup runners-up boast some of the world’s best players like Virgil Van Dijk, Memphis Depay. This time it will be redemption time for the Netherlands who after a series of miserable results, even could not get a place on Russia 2018.
Behind them come the La Roja as the bookies' favourites to win the World Cup. The 2010 winners once having the greatest football team is now a generation in change. Spain have an exciting team at their disposal with dynamic young players like Pedri, Gavi and of course the talisman Sergio Busquets.
Like always Germans are always up there as favourites to win the World Cup. With some of the most outstanding footballers of this generation like Manuel Neuer, Ilaay Gundogan, Thomas Muller Germany will be looking to repeat its historic success in 2014 when it became the first European team to win the World Cup in Americas.
Some outsiders may also surprise everyone to clinch this year’s football World Cup. Belgium are currently world’s second best football team in terms of rankings and they are not there for some reason but because of consistency in winning matches. With midfielders like De Bruyne and lethal forwards like Eden Hazard and don’t forget they have Thibaut Courtois, the world’s best goalkeeper, this Belgium team of generational talent can give any big team a run for their money. And then there is Portugal. Helmed by the great Christiano, who can single-handedly take his team all the way to glory as he did in the 2016 Euro Final, it will be no surprise if Ronaldo rediscovers his mojo for one last attempt at the elusive trophy.