Our book predictions for the 2022 World Cup


    Harry Maguire and Harry Kane of England celebrate their team's victory as they pose for a photo after the UEFA Euro 2020 semi-final match between England and Denmark - Our writers' predictions for the 2022 World Cup - Eddie Keogh / Getty Images

Harry Maguire and Harry Kane of England celebrate their team’s victory as they pose for a photo after the UEFA Euro 2020 semi-final match between England and Denmark – Our writers’ predictions for the 2022 World Cup – Eddie Keogh / Getty Images

winners

Chris Bascombe: Brazil. Other than Argentina, I cannot make a compelling case for any other country… though it could be argued that Qatar has already won.

Sam Dean: Argentina. The world-class team has not lost since 2019. The team is full of pace, skill and defensive determination.

Luke Edwards: Argentina. The romantic in me believes that Lionel Messi is an inspiration for Argentina will finally achieve the final trophy and give the little magician the World Cup to match the legendary Maradona.

Jim White: Brazil. Hardly a left field pick, but no other team has such an array of offensive talent to reward her, let alone brilliant goalkeepers and the best defensive midfielder in the world (and I don’t mean Fred).

Jeremy Wilson: England. The dramatic progress in the Championship under Gareth Southgate is evident and should be a better indication of England’s chances than the Nations League.

James Dacre: Argentina. Unbeaten in 35 matches, Lionel Scaloni ended the dissonance to unite the team and create an organized team that works hard to increase the rare talents of Lionel Messi.

John Percy: Brazil. A very good team, with experience in big leagues and high temperatures, this will be their year.

star player

Chris Bascombe: James Madison. If picked (if at senior), he would give England the ‘X-factor’ they have been lacking and would dominate the group stages against stacked defences.

Sam Dean: Lionel Messi. Messi has 11 goals and 14 assists in 18 matches for Paris Saint-Germain this season. His last shot at the greatest award ever.

Luke Edwards: Judd Bellingham. It’s always dangerous to expect too much from a young English player, but Judd Bellingham could leave Qatar as the most desirable player in the world.

Jim White: Judd Bellingham. The player who has it all. Not least the temperament to allow his talent to flourish on its most magnificent stage.

Jeremy Wilson: Lionel Messi. Although Kylian Mbappe should be better than he was at Russia 2018, Messi has been in excellent form and a glorious swansong seems possible.

James Dacre: Lionel Messi. Now, 35, the Paris Saint-Germain attacker’s fifth, and possibly final, World Cup could be the one in which you all meet.

John Percy: Neymar. He has yet to truly announce himself on the biggest stage of all, but this is his big chance.

Argentina's Lionel Messi celebrates his goal during the international soccer friendly between Argentina and Jamaica - Our Writers' Predictions for the 2022 World Cup - Andres Kodaki / Getty Images

Argentina’s Lionel Messi celebrates his goal during the international soccer friendly between Argentina and Jamaica – Our Writers’ Predictions for the 2022 World Cup – Andres Kodaki / Getty Images

Golden Shoe

Chris BascombeLautaro Martinez. Any striker with Lionel Messi as his supply line should be the most likely winner of the Golden Boot.

Sam Dean: Harry Kane. The England captain has been in fantastic club-scoring form and, in theory at least, should dominate the group stages.

Luke Edwards: Kylian Mbappe. It’s always difficult to predict this because a lot depends on the goals scored in the group stage, as well as on who progresses to the final rounds, but Mbappe is as good a bet as anyone.

Jim White: Harry Kane. Plenty of goal-scoring opportunities in the group stage, and because he’s England’s centre-forward, there’s every chance he has.

Jeremy Wilson: Harry Kane. You should take advantage of England’s relatively easy set-up, taking penalties and the fact that the other potential winners are not clearly identified as their team’s main striker.

James Dacre: Lionel Messi. If Argentina succeed in clicking, Messi must thrive – and that always means goals.

John Percy: Harry Kane. The England captain is in fine form and will put himself in pole position in the boot going into the group stage.

Harry Kane celebrates scoring his first goal - Our writers' predictions for the 2022 World Cup - Alberto Lingria/Reuters

Harry Kane celebrates scoring his first goal – Our writers’ predictions for the 2022 World Cup – Alberto Lingria/Reuters

black horses

Chris Bascombe: Belgium. They made a complete 360-degree transformation from dark horses to favorites to dark horses. Anything is possible with De Bruyne.

Sam Dean: Uruguay. A new generation is emerging, led by the sensational Federico Valverde, while Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani remain a threat.

Luke Edwards: England. England weren’t one of the favourites, and have looked like a team on the decline for the past 15 months, but when they get to the semi-finals and finals in the last two tournaments, they could surprise us all again.

Jim White: Senegal. Sadly their talisman Sadio Mane has been dumped (for a few games at least), Senegal, along with Premier League stars like Edouard Mendy. Kalidou Koulibaly and Idrissa Ghana still have surprising talent. Plus they have a pool which shouldn’t be too much of a hindrance.

Jeremy Wilson: Denmark, which is really too high to deserve that title. Qatar is better than many think, but Ghana are the ‘outside’ best bet for a long time should they face a tough group.

James Dacre: Uruguay. Lots of experience and knowledge, some interesting young talent and a phenomenal Federico Valverde.

John Percy: Belgium. Too talented not to get too deep in the competition – even though this reporter did support Turkey at Euro 2020!

Sadio Mane runs with the ball during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations final between Senegal and Egypt - Kenzo Tripoillard/Getty Images

Sadio Mane runs with the ball during the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations final between Senegal and Egypt – Kenzo Tripoillard/Getty Images

How far will England go?

Chris Bascombe: If England win their group, they will go away and lose to Brazil or Argentina in the final.

Sam DeanQuarter-finals. It won’t be as bad as many seem to fear, but England will once again struggle in midfield against top-tier opposition.

Luke Edwards: Either get humiliated in a tricky group or make it to the semi-finals again.

Jim WhiteSemi-finals: Losing to France on penalties. No need to say more.

Jeremy Wilson: See above for a prediction backed by the belief that, sooner or later, a nation of such passion, resources, and talent must surely reign again.

James DacreQuarter-finals. The last two tournament performances will give them confidence, but they tend to run into trouble when they meet the best nations, and the potential path to the final looks treacherous.

John PercyQuarter-finals. He would fall short in the quarter-finals and signal Southgate’s departure after a largely impressive run.

Do you agree with the book’s predictions? Join the conversation in the comments section below



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