2022 World Cup: Why Brazil, France, England and Argentina could fail in Qatar
We take a look at what could prevent the favourites for the 2022 World Cup from winning it.
The 2022 World Cup is less than two months away and preparations for the 32 countries involved are well and truly underway.
Looking at the strength of Tite’s squad, it’s obvious why Brazil are favourites to win the 2022 World Cup. Since winning the 2002 World Cup, Brazil have only made it past the quarter-finals once. In 2022, they have won three games 4-0, two games 5-1 and another 3-0. Chile, Paraguay, South Korea, Tunisia and Ghana are among the countries that have been defeated by the Seleção.
They smashed their way through South American qualifying, winning 14 games and drawing three of their 17 fixtures. As if that isn’t impressive enough, they scored 40 goals and conceded only five.
So what could be their downfall? Against Ghana, the full-backs were Eder Militão, who plays at center-back for Real Madrid. Militão filled in at right-back and Alex Telles, the Manchester United left-back currently on loan at Sevilla, was on the left. Brazil strength is their spine and the strength of it could be enough to get them over the line on December 18, if they are to reach the final.
When you look at the France squad on paper, you will see why they are the reigning world champions. An abundance of talent in attack with the likes of Kylian Mbappé, Karim Benzema and Ousmane Dembélé may help them to reach another final this year, or perhaps even retain the trophy.
Off-field problems are where the issues lie. Mbappé is having a rift with the French Football Federation over sponsorship deals and Paul Pogba has had his problems on and off the field. Whether Didier Deschamps has the ability to keep all the stars aligned remains to be seen. France are currently second favourites for the tournament.
England’s preparation for the World Cup could not have gone any worse. Gareth Southgate’s side have been relegated from the top tier of the UEFA Nations League, finishing bottom of a group with Hungary, Italy and Germany. The reliance on Harry Kane could also be a cause for concern going into the tournament. An injury to Kane before or during the tournament would prove to be disastrous for the Three Lions.
Southgate’s conservative approach could once again prove to be fatal. Holding back the likes of Phil Foden to preserve a narrow lead has driven England fans mad in recent times. The trust he has shown in Harry Maguire also adds concern. Maguire has been left out by Manchester United in their last four games and his confidence is as close to rock bottom as it has ever been. Southgate has deployed a back three to protect the United captain but the defensive uncertainty may result in England underperforming this winter.
Argentina are always fancied going into a World Cup and this year is no different. Lionel Messi is still about, which would give most teams a chance. Lionel Scaloni’s side have impressed in recent times and are the current Copa America champions, having beaten Brazil in the 2021 final.
The Albiceleste gave Italy a 3-0 beating in the Finalissima and have won their last four games by a combined score of 14-0. They have been drawn into a group with Mexico, Poland and Saudi Arabia. They should advance to the knockouts but I would fear for them in the latter stages due to their defence. Nicolas Otamendi is now 34 and has played more competitive minutes than any other Argentina player since last summer.