2022 FIFA World Cup Predictions
It’s summer time in 2022 and that means it’s time for the World Cup… wait, what? It’s winter? That’s right! We’re getting the holiday episode of the World Cup this year! Find out who will surprise, who will lose early and ultimately who will hoist the trophy. Circuit Artwork The World Cup is such a unifying event. It draws in millions of people who only care about soccer every four years. It brings together millions of Americans who 1) hate each other and 2) couldn’t name 3 players in our starting XI. Yet, we’re never more patriotic than on the pitch, on the beams and on the track (okay, those last three are in the Olympics. Man, we sure do love sports in this country!) Let’s kick things off with some major storylines to watch for in Qatar this winter: Getty Images 1- Farewell to Messi & Ronaldo? Messi has already said this will be his last World Cup, and one has to imagine this will be the last go-around for Ronald as well. Even if he does make the trip to the States in 2026, he will 41 years old, and he most certainly will not be the same, impactful player he still is now (just don’t ask his Manchester United coach). These two legends have dominated the sport for nearly two decades, but all great things must come to an end. Let’s just cherish these two icons for the next month while we can still see them on the biggest stage. 2- Can a non-European or South American team win the World Cup? No. It’s never happened in the history of the World Cup; it’s not about to start now. Sorry Senegal. 3- Belgium’s Golden Generation If you read a lot on this site, you know I admit my biases. Belgium is my favorite team (sorry USA), because when I was in high school I played on a club team that went over to play in Belgium and I loved it there. So I always root for the Red Devils. This Golden Generation (DeBruyne, Hazard, Courtois, Lukaku, etc…) has been stellar over the years. Buuuut they’ve never actually won. Anything. This is likely the last ride for this core group of guys in their prime, so can they finally lift a trophy? Time will tell. 4- Can France Repeat? This is the 22nd FIFA World Cup, and only twice before has a nation won back-to-back cups; Italy in 1934 & 1938, and Brazil in 1958 & 1962. So it’s been a minute. This is mainly because typically the teams that win are veteran squads with experience and are on their last legs (good sign, Germany!) But France was fairly young back in 2018, and they bring back almost all their top talent this time around. France, more so than any winner in a long time, has a great chance to repeat. 5- The U.S. is back, baby! It is inexcusable that we could miss a World Cup. With all our resources, with our sports-driven culture, with everything we have it’s embarrassing that we are this bad at soccer. Thankfully we’re back, and we have a quasi-superstar to lead us into (hopefully) some of the best days the U.S. soccer team has ever had. 6- Winter is coming… to the World Cup??? God Tyrion would love that headline, wouldn’t he? This is an unprecedented situation. Not only does it highlight the incompetence of FIFA (you really didn’t think about the playing conditions you nitwits???), but it will show who the best athletes are given that this has completely changed their timelines. If the Olympics shifted 6 months, some of the gold medal winners might not even qualify due to training schedules and body mechanics. This could be very interesting to watch! 7- Can England finally win again? No. This team will always tease us, but they will never actually win. Some people are winners and some people are losers, and that’s just how the sports gods work. I don’t make the rules, I just use them to make money from gambling. Now let’s make some predictions! We’re going group-by-group here to predict who will make it to the knockouts. Group A Getty Images Netherlands- 5 points Senegal- 5 points Qatar- 3 points Ecuador- 1 point Qatar will put up an admirable fight here with three draws, but ultimately Netherlands and Senegal will separate themselves in Group A. Group B Getty Images England- 7 points United States- 5 points Wales- 1 point Iran- 0 points The States are back and we’re moving on! We’ll draw Wales and England, but hammering Iran will propel us into the round of 16. Group C Getty Images Argentina- 9 points Mexico- 6 points Poland- 3 points Saudi Arabia- 0 points Taking 9 points in the group stage is not easy, but I think Messi is on a mission in this tournament. The knockouts won’t be so easy, but they will cruise through group play. Group D Getty Images France- 9 points Denmark- 6 points Australia- 3 points Tunisia- 0 points Likewise with the French, they will crush their group. This might be the least interesting group, as France is miles better than anyone else. (watch this be the best group, with France getting eliminated) Group E Getty Images Spain- 7 points Japan- 5 points Germany- 4 points Costa Rica- 0 points Germany has not impressed me in nearly a decade. Japan had a great run back in Russia, and I expect it to continue here in Qatar. Group F Getty Images Belgium- 9 points Croatia- 6 points Canada- 1 point Morocco- 1 point Belgium and Croatia are clearly a cut (or seven) above Canada and Morocco. They will cruise to the knockouts. Group G Getty Images Brazil- 7 points Switzerland- 5 points Serbia- 2 points Cameroon- 1 point I think Brazil is incredibly vulnerable in this tournament, but they should get out of the group fairly easily. Group H Getty Images Portugal- 9 points Ghana- 4 points Uruguay- 4 points South Korea- 0 points Ronaldo is going to take over this group and win it easily. BUT HOW ABOUT GHANA??? Uruguay is a “blue blood” of international soccer, but they are about to be the main victim of this bizarro winter World Cup in Africa. Round of 16 Getty Images United States (2B) def Netherlands (1A) Argentina (1C) def Denmark (2D) Spain (1E) def Croatia (2F) Ghana (2H) def Brazil (1G) England (1B) def Senegal (2A) France (1D) def Mexico (2C) Belgium (1F) def Japan (2E) Portugal (1H) def Switzerland (2G) The U.S. is going to shock the world and finally get back to the quarters for one of the very few times ever. Plus, Brazil will choke in epic fashion against Ghana. I’m telling you man, it’s that home-soil magic! There will be an African nation to make a great run, and I’m betting on Ghana. Quarterfinals Getty Images Argentina (1C) def United States (2B) Ghana (2H) def Spain (1E) France (1D) def England (1B) Belgium (1F) def Portugal (1H) Messi will get the better of Ronaldo once again in a World Cup, advancing to the semis after thrashing the U.S. Belgium and France continue their collision-course, and how about Ghana! Semifinals Getty Images Argentina (1C) def Ghana (2H) Belgium (1F) def France (1D) Down go the champs! The Golden Generation makes it further than they ever have, and Messi is taking one more shot at glory in the final. Final Getty Images Belgium (1F) def Argentina (1C) Homer pick! But I believe the Golden Generation finally wins a major trophy, and then will quickly implode and disappear into nothing for years to come. Before we go, I’ll predict some of the major (& made-up) individual awards for the 2022 World Cup! Golden Boot Romelo Lukaku (Belgium) Getty Images A key ingredient for winning the Golden Boot is playing deep into the tournament. Since I have Belgium winning, Lukaku will have the maximum amount of time to score goals. He was brilliant in the Euros two years ago, so I’m banking on him being brilliant again. Golden Glove Thibault Courtois (Belgium) Getty Images Again, if you are the goalie on the winning team you probably didn’t give up a ton of goals. Belgium has excellent ball control, so I don’t see them allowing many balls into the net. Golden Ball Lionel Messi (Argentina) Getty Images Call me sentimental, but wouldn’t this be lovely to see? I think Kevin DeBruyne has an excellent chance to win this award, but Messi, in his farewell, making the final again, I think he will win this one. Breakout Star Luka Sucic (Croatia) Getty Images This kid is good. I think Croatia will go out early compared to 2018, but Sucic will turn some heads and piss off all other European nations (now there’s another Croatian Luka to worry about? Damnit!) Finally… How about a shot in the dark? I’m going to give my wayyyyyyyy too early pick for who will win the 2026 FIFA World Cup when the world’s greatest tournament heads stateside. Way-Too-Early 2026 FIFA World Cup Winner Spain! Getty Images There you have it! Those are all my predictions for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Make sure to place some bets, and check back in to see all of our great content on sports 7 pop culture. GO BELGIUM!!!