In simply over 24 hours, Qatar 2022 will burst into life because the host nation takes on Ecuador within the opening sport of the World Cup.
It’s a event that has brought on controversy ever because it was awarded to the Gulf nation in 2010 however, after years of ready, the gamers are making the ultimate touches to their preparations.
Whereas off-field points proceed to make headlines, from the deaths of migrant staff and the circumstances many have endured in Qatar, to LGBTQ and ladies’s rights, and the actual fact no alcohol will likely be offered at stadiums, the on-field motion guarantees to be unpredictable and thrilling.
Right here is all it is advisable to know concerning the 32 nations competing and the gamers who may dazzle.
Solely eight nations have ever gained the boys’s World Cup, a lot of that are among the many favorites this time round.
Brazil holds the information for many titles, having lifted the trophy 5 occasions, and the brand new technology has an actual probability of including one other for what can be the nation’s first in 20 years.
The attacking choices communicate for themselves. As he has carried out since stepping onto the world stage, Neymar will carry the expectations of a nation however may have Actual Madrid’s Vinicuis Jr. and Barcelona’s Raphinha to assist him.
There may be high quality all around the pitch, not least in protection, the place Chelsea’s skilled Thiago Silva and Paris Saint-Germain’s Marquinhos will seemingly kind a protect for Liverpool’s goalkeeper Allison.
Brazil additionally has a powerful document to boast, successful or drawing 28 of its previous 29 matches, the one loss coming towards Argentina within the Copa America remaining in 2021 and can really feel assured of reaching the knockout rounds. It faces a comparatively straightforward group stage, towards Switzerland, Cameroon and Serbia.
Alongside Brazil, you may’t ignore France.
The reigning world champion breezed by means of qualifying with out dropping a sport and has Kylian Mbappe maturing into a worldwide celebrity.
Nevertheless, numerous accidents in key positions may hurt its probabilities. Star striker Karim Benzema has been dominated out on the eve of the event, whereas the midfield duo of Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante – so pivotal to its success in 2018 – miss out. Nevertheless, central defender Raphael Varane has been included within the squad after recovering from harm.
Nielsen’s Gracenote predicts Brazil has a 20% probability of successful the competitors, with Argentina, boasting the nice Lionel Messi in its squad, the following more than likely to elevate the trophy with an 18% probability.
Simon Gleave, head of study for Gracenote Sports activities, mentioned: “No different groups have been wherever close to as constant over the past 4 years as the 2 South American giants and this consistency means that there’s a good probability of one in every of them prevailing.”
It’s uncommon that an underdog wins the World Cup but it surely’s not unattainable.
Denmark has its new golden technology. After being knocked out by England within the Euro 2020 semifinals, the staff waltzed by means of World Cup qualification, successful 9 of its 10 matches and conceding solely three objectives.
Manchester United playmaker Christian Eriksen is arguably its most essential participant and his return to the staff is nothing in need of a miracle.
Eriksen collapsed throughout Denmark’s sport towards Finland at Euro 2020 and acquired life-saving therapy on the pitch earlier than being fitted with a Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) gadget.
Such trauma appeared to unite the staff and the Danes will likely be a troublesome proposition for anybody in Qatar.
Elsewhere, Senegal is arguably the most effective African staff on the event – even with out Bayern Munich’s Sadio Mane, who misses out by means of harm.
‘The Lions of Teranga’ gained the African Cup of Nations for the primary time earlier this 12 months and have a number of star names enjoying in Europe’s prime leagues.
Though Mane will likely be an enormous loss, the staff is not simply reliant on its captain.
Chelsea’s Edouard Mendy is a prime class goalkeeper and Kalidou Koulibaly is used to coping with the easiest attackers in Europe. It additionally has the horrifying tempo of rising star Ismaila Sarr to lean on.
No African staff has ever made it to the semifinals of a World Cup however this Senegal facet has an opportunity, albeit very slim, ought to the draw be variety.
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