The 2022 World Cup is here!
We’ve cobbled together fans from Brazil, Canada, England, France, Germany and Spain at OneFootball HQ … here’s their take on the tournament:
Right, first things first, how are you feeling about your nation’s chances this winter?
🇧🇷 Carlos Schoen: I believe Brazil have a great chance to win it, both because of the squad — with many quality players for most positions — and because of the form of the big stars like Neymar, who is having a great season.
🇨🇦 Emily Wilson: It’s been a long 36 years since the Canadian maple leaf featured at the World Cup and it’s only the second time in history, but my money is on this squad to surprise some people in Qatar. Alongside Belgium, Croatia and Morocco, I see Canada pulling off third in Group F.
🏴 Lewis Ambrose: England haven’t won any of their last six games, failing to score in four of them and keeping just one clean sheet. So you tell me!
🇫🇷 Lucas Hybord: I have mixed feelings. First, there is this title holder curse of the last three World Cup. And as a fan, I remember 2002 and 2010 well enough to say France is capable of self-sabotage. There is a weird atmosphere — French Federation president Noël Le Graët is in trouble and Didier Deschamps is out of contract at the end of the year — and then there’s the team. It’s dogged by injury (Maignan, Kimpembe, Pogba, Kanté, Nkunku) but also contains probably two of the world’s best players at the moment, with Mbappé and Benzema. Anything could happen.
🇩🇪 Selina Eckstein: Good question! Anything is possible from the round of 16 to the final, but I think Germany will make it to the semi-finals.
🇪🇸 Carlos Muñoz del Real: Not carrying the favourites tag and having such a young team, my attitude is ‘let’s see what happens’. The possibilities are infinite, we could lose to anyone but could also beat anyone.
Is there a player from your country people should know more about?
🇧🇷 CS: I would say the two players who are called up and who play for Flamengo, Pedro and Éverton Ribeiro. Both are in great form, they helped Flamengo win the Copa Libertadores this season. I would even say that Pedro has a chance of starting in Qatar.
🇨🇦 EW: Everyone beyond Alphonso Davies? If it’s just one, be sure to turn your attention to Stephen Eustáquio. The Porto midfielder is a key cog in the machine in Portugal and the Champions League. Five goals and five assists in 19 appearances this season for club, and he’s the man running things on the pitch for Canada.
🏴 LA: If Harry Kane is fit he’ll play, but if something happens to him (or if England need a goal) we will probably see Callum Wilson, who is hard-working and has a proper knack for goals. Not a bad option to have.
🇫🇷 LH: The one player without any international cap yet: Axel Disasi. When France last won the World Cup in 2018, he had just won Ligue 2 with Reims, playing 12 games at 18. Since then, he went to Monaco, became vice-captain at 22, and established himself as one of the best centre-backs in Ligue 1. The problem is the fierce competition in his position.
🇩🇪 SE: Definitely Niclas Füllkrug. At 29-years-old it’s his first World Cup and he is our only proper number nine. He is very good at Bremen and could really help us during the tournament. Maybe there are shades of Miroslav Klose …
🇪🇸 CMdR: I would say two above the rest. We all know Pedri, Gavi, Ansu Fati, but I think people could be very surprised by what players like Yeremy Pino and Nico Williams can bring to the table. They are very young, tremendously daring, capable of driving any defence crazy. They also have nothing to lose, since their job is clear: attack and create danger.
Which player from another country are you most excited to watch?
🇧🇷 CS: There are many, but I am very excited to see if Musiala will maintain at the World Cup and in the German national team the same level that he has been performing this season at Bayern Munich.
🇨🇦 EW: This is a tough one, but I’ll have to go with Cody Gakpo. He’s sure to earn a starting spot for the Netherlands and, as potential dark horses, he could be key in their challenge. Thirteen goals and 17 assists in 24 appearances this season is no joke. But this isn’t the Eredivisie anymore, just how well can he stand against the best of the best?
🏴 LA: Jamal Musiala has future Ballon d’Or written all over him and it will be exciting to see if he already becomes Germany’s main man.
🇫🇷 LH: Neymar, without a doubt. Following Ligue 1, you could see from the beginning of the summer preparation that it was a special season for him. He loves to play and perform with the Brazilian jersey on the back, and he got well ready for the World Cup by shining in Ligue 1, scoring 14 goals and delivering 11 assists in 15 games! He’s focused, he’s determined, and I can’t wait to see him play in Qatar. And I say that as an Olympique de Marseille fan.
🇩🇪 SE: Christian Eriksen. It is great that he is now back and in top form after the events at the last Euros.
🇪🇸 CMdR: Just choosing one is difficult, but I really want to see how names like Musiala, Bellingham or Vinicius Jr face the challenge of their first World Cup.
And who will win the Golden Boot?
🇧🇷 CS: Time for definitive statements … I believe Neymar will have a great World Cup and will win the Golden Boot.
🇨🇦 EW: If France don’t fall victim to the World Cup holders curse then you can’t rule Kylian Mbappé out.
🏴 LA: World Cup Golden Boot winners are made in the group stage, I think Neymar will bag a few as Brazil win all three group games, setting him up nicely.
🇫🇷 LH: Well, as I see Brazil going quite far in the competition, why not Neymar?
🇩🇪 SE: There are so many top offensive players — Kylian Mbappé, Karim Benzema, Neymar — but I think Harry Kane will win it.
🇪🇸 CMdR: Without Haaland it’s more difficult to predict! But I think that the hunger that Mbappé can show without having to compete with Haaland could make a big difference.
Who are your dark horses?
🇧🇷 CS: I’m looking to Denmark, who are coming from a great Euros and I think they can have another great tournament.
🇨🇦 EW: Uruguay, Netherlands and Senegal.
🏴 LA: Denmark. They were brilliant at Euro 2020 and I see no reason they cannot do the same again.
🇫🇷 LH: If Sadio Mané were available, I would have said Senegal: they had a strong spine with Édouard Mendy, Kalidou Koulibaly, Idrissa Gueye and Mané, and a friendly looking group. Now, I’d go for Serbia, whose group is quite even if you take out Brazil and they have a lot of attacking firepower: Mitrović, Vlahović, Radonjić, Jović, Tadić, Kostić…
🇩🇪 SE: Also Denmark.
🇪🇸 CMdR: No dark horses but the opposite … I’m sorry to say Belgium and Holland are not going to fulfil what is expected of them. And I would add Germany and England to this list.
Finally, who will win the World Cup?
🇧🇷 CS: That’s an easy one. Asking a Brazilian, I can only answer Brazil. I think the team as a whole is better than in 2018, especially with so many options for the attack. We will win that sixth title!
🇨🇦 EW: Brazil. This could finally be Neymar’s year to deliver the big one.
🏴 LA: Argentina and Lionel Messi, surely?
🇫🇷 LH: Brazil or France. (France).
🇩🇪 SE: I think Brazil will win it, inspired by the form of Neymar and Vinícius Júnior.
🇪🇸 CMdR: I think this could be the year for Argentina and Messi. The expectations are high but the team arrives as champions of South America and with the feeling that this time, yes, it is their moment.