2022 is another FIFA World Cup year, but sports fans have a few extra months to finalise their predictions instead of looking forward to the play this summer. With Qatar being the first country from the Arab World to host the tournament, fixtures have been postponed until November to ease the pressure on players and fans posed by the region’s unbearable heat. Playing and watching professional sports during a Qatar summer isn’t only dangerous. It’s life-threatening. Every effort has been made to keep the games as safe as possible.
With the schedule in place and the teams confirmed, the leading bookmakers in Las Vegas are offering odds and accepting bets on multiple World Cup markets. Fans and bettors can predict the nation they expect will lift the World Cup or play one of the many exciting specials, including making the final, group winner betting and top goalscorer. There’s a bet for everyone.
Brazil have been picked out by sportsbooks as the team to be on, with the Samba Boys chosen as the World Cup betting favourites. It’s difficult to argue against the betting industry’s stance, but Brazil hasn’t been at their best for a few years now. That opens the door for value hunters to pick out an underdog with bite. If taking on the market, which team will offer backers a run for their money? We have enlisted the assistance of a soccer writer and sports betting expert to explain more.
England have to bite
England have been written off by many in the pre-competition betting, but the Three Lions could prove to be the dark horse of the race. Gareth Southgate’s team boasts some of the best individual talents globally, and they are beginning to click as a team, as shown in last year’s European Championship. They reached the final of Euro 2020 – which was postponed for 12 months due to Covid-19 – where they played Italy at Wembley.
Despite being the home team for that match, supported by the majority of a capacity stadium in London, we saw England come up short. They took the lead against Italy in the final and were looking like a team on their way to victory, but the Italians fought back. That match went to penalties, and it was Italy that held their nerve from the spot. It was a disappointment for all concerned, but this young team are improving all the time.
Many of the stars of Euro 2020 will now be hitting the peak of their powers, while Southgate has some new faces to choose from. Team England has never been in a better shape than they are now, and it would come as no shock to see them lift the trophy. The nation are former World Cup winners, having claimed the trophy at Wembley back in 1966.
Strong qualifying campaign
Followers of the English national soccer team have good reason to be confident ahead of this winter’s festival of sport in Qatar. They ended on top of World Cup qualifying Group I ahead of Poland, with Albania finishing third after ten games. It wasn’t the toughest set of the qualifiers, but England got the job done.
They posted stats of eight wins against two draws and zero defeats with 39 goals scored and only three conceded. That effort makes them one of only a few teams to remain unbeaten during the qualifiers and the three goals conceded was up there with the best defensive records. England have a frightening attack and a secure defence ahead of this World Cup, but the players and coaches know bigger tests will come in Qatar. They still have plenty to play for and even more to prove to their doubters.
We last saw England in action at the end of March when they beat Ivory Coast in a friendly match at Wembley. That was a worthwhile exercise for Southgate and co, with the goals scored by Watkins, Sterling and Mings, with the latter coming deep into stoppage time. It was another win, another three goals scored and another clean sheet. Again, tougher tests are in the pipeline, but this England side look ready to take on the world.