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FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022: Who could win the tournament?

By Ben Kelly
FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022: Who could win the tournament?
Copyright  AP Photo   -  

With just three days to go, most of the 32 teams had made their way to Qatar, where the world's biggest players have their eyes on football's biggest prize.

Here at Football Now, we've chosen five contenders who could fancy their chances in Qatar this winter. The squads are confirmed, but which teams are truly in the mix to lift the World Cup? Can France defend their title? Could this be Messi's time? Could a dark horse win their maiden title?

Brazil

The five-time champions are looking for a sixth in Qatar. Despite the wealth of talent at his disposal, manager Tite has made some tough decisions in choosing his final squad, leaving out big names such as Roberto Firmino and Marcelo.

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Brazi's squad for the 2022 World CupN/A

At the back, 38 years old Thiago Silva is showing some of the best form of his career with Chelsea.

The midfield is with Premier League stars. Casemiro and Fred are first-choice midfielders to Erik Ten Haag at Manchester United. While Fabinho and Bruno Guimaraes are key players for Liverpool and Newcastle, respectively.

But the real firepower for La Seleção is going forward. Their range of attacking talent includes Rodrygo, Vinicius Jr, Gabriel Jesus and, of course, Neymar. Can he finally pull the rabbit out of the hat and crown what will probably be his last international tournament with the biggest trophy in football?

France

In 2002, Les Bleus failed to make it out of the group following their maiden tournament victory in '98, so they'll be hoping things are very different this time.

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France's squad for the 2022 World CupN/A

France's squad includes superstars like Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema in the attack.

However, there are also some notable absences. The midfield pairing of Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kante, who were crucial to the country's tournament win in 2018, are both injured. So, it's over to the next generation of talented midfielders to step in. Real Madrid's Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga are the favourites to fill the slots, given their impressive form for their club.

The reigning champions will rely on a mixture of youth and proven quality in Qatar as they look to become the first nation to defend the World Cup since Brazil did it in 1962.

Senegal

At every World Cup, there is a 'dark horse' - a team that people think could surprise us. Senegal could be this year's dark horse. After an impressive win at the African Cup of Nations in February, the national side is littered with star players from some of Europe's biggest teams. In this year's World Cup, they are Africa's best hope of going all the way.

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Senegal's squad for the 2022 World CupN/A

"Whenever you think of the truly great football teams, you always think of sides that have a really strong spine," explained Fiso Mazibuko, football presenter for Super Sport.

"And when you look at this Senegal side, you have Edouard Mendy in goal. You have Kalidou Koulibaly at the heart of defence, Idrissa Gueye and Kouyate in midfield, and then the pace of Mane and Sarr up front. So yeah, they are the best chance for Africa, I think. They have enough talent to trouble any team." 

England

It might be tough for Senegal to deal with the expectations of an entire continent, but it could be worse; they could be like England, a team that always faces tremendous pressure from home during international tournaments.

Gareth Southgate's side has come so close to glory in the last two tournaments, losing heartbreakingly to Croatia in 2018's World Cup semi-finals, and again to Italy last year in the Euro 2020 final. So for the Three Lions, this tournament is about taking that final step.

The biggest selection headache for Southgate will be in defence.

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England's squad for the 2022 World CupN/A

Kyle Walker, Kieran Trippier, and Trent Alexander-Arnold are all competing for the right-back spot. The manager will choose between Harry Maguire, John Stones, Eric Dier and Benjamin White at centre-back.

Further forward, captain Harry Kane will lead the line again, looking to repeat his golden boot win at the 2018 World Cup. James Maddison has been called up for England for the first time in three years due to his excellent club form at Leicester. 

Argentina

Argentina legend Lionel Messi may say goodbye to world football at the Qatar 2022 World Cup. He has been a member of the Argentina national side for 17 years, and this could well be his curtain call.

But even without Messi, Argentina are bringing a squad that will cause problems for any team they play.

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Argentina's squad for the 2022 World CupN/A

Lisandro Martinez has been a rock at the back for Manchester United in the early stages of his career at Old Trafford, while Rodrigo de Paul and Leandro Peredes have been playing well for Atletico Madrid and Juventus respectively.

Paulo Dybala, Angel Di Maria, Lautaro Martinez and Julian Alvarez are a scary set of forward options, even without adding Messi into the equation. If nothing else, expect this Argentina side to score a lot of goals.

ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP or licensors
Argentina celebrate scoring against ItalyADRIAN DENNIS/AFP or licensors

With the tournament now just three days away, we don't have to wait long to find out who can deliver on these expectations. Will it be one of these five favourites, or can another team shock the world and go for glory in Qatar?

Journalist • Ben Kelly