Throughout the entire history of the World Cup, starting all the way back in 1930, only 8 countries have won the tournament.
FIFA has predicted the correct winner of the World Cup since 2010, and this year they’ve chosen Argentina to lift that famous trophy.
Predicting what will happen at the World Cup can make you look foolish, but I’ll try my best not to look that.
Let’s start my World Cup predictions by looking at who is in Group A and who I think will progress through to the Round of 16:
The host nation will enter their first-ever World Cup in what is sure to be a historic moment for the country when the team takes to the field on opening day, but will they be any good? The odds are definitely stacked against them in this group, and while they have proven that they’ve improved beyond belief, this tournament could just be a step too far for them.
The surprise team to qualify from the South American qualification. This will be Ecuador’s fourth World Cup appearance, while their best performance came in 2006 when they reached the Round of 16.
Ecuador aren’t here to just make up the numbers. They have quality players that play at the top elite level in European football, and they’re young and hungry. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Ecuador qualified through this group, as they’ll be hard to beat for anyone.
While Senegal have talent all across the pitch, the recent injury blow to Sadio Mané means it’s almost certain he’ll be missing the World Cup. That is huge for Senegal’s hopes of getting through this group. The team does have a lot more than Mané of course, and they could still easily qualify, but there is now a massive doubt about that with what he gives to the squad.
It’s been heartbreak numerous times for the Netherlands as they’ve finished runners-up in three different World Cups and yet to win one. The team has talent, there’s never any doubt about that, but they always seem to come up short. They should be comfortable in this group, but it’s never simple with Netherlands.
My prediction is that Netherlands and Ecuador will come through this group.
Moving on to Group B which contains both England and Wales:
The one and only World Cup win for England came in 1966, and they’ll be looking to channel that here again. On paper, the team should sail through this group, but England always end up making it hard for themselves, and that’s the worry again with this team.
A few injuries to key defenders could hurt them, and they have looked poor in their previous games, but they should have enough to qualify.
This will be Iran’s sixth World Cup appearance, and they’ve failed to get through the group stage at every one of them. The man who was at the helm then, Carlos Queiroz, is back in charge for this World Cup after failing to qualify for this tournament with Egypt. However, he’ll only have been in charge for two months when this World Cup kicks off.
The United States returns to the World Cup after missing out on 2018 in Russia. They did, however, qualify for every World Cup from 1990-2014. It’s a remarkable record for a team where soccer has recently become far more popular among Americans.
They’ll be in with a shout to qualify from this group, and they should fancy their chances with a young team, with many of the players shining in Europe’s top leagues these days.
You can never count out Wales, as their recent performances in major tournaments, notably the Euros, have been fantastic. But this will be only their second time qualifying through to the World Cup. Wales’s fighting spirit means they can spring a few surprises here.
It would be a safe bet to count on England to qualify along with the USA from this group.
When it comes to Group C, there are probably two teams which stand out:
Twice winners of the World Cup in 1978 and 1984, Argentina also have a chance this year. Likely to be Lionel Messi’s last World Cup, the team is on a great unbeaten run of 35 matches in all competitions. This team looks to be onto something special.
This will be the sixth World Cup for Saudi Arabia, with their best performance coming in 1994 when they reached the Round of 16. However, this is a tough group, and qualification seems impossible for Saudi Arabia.
From 1994-2018, Mexico got through every group stage of the World Cup – faltering at the Round of 16 in each of those years. This could be tough though, as Mexico failed to impress in qualification as Canada finished above them in the group. They do still have stars that can perform, and generally, they do well at major tournaments.
Back-to-back World Cup qualifications for Poland, and only one man needs to be mentioned, Robert Lewandowski. The striker, although now 34, is still banging in goals for fun for Barcelona after his move from Bayern Munich. And alongside him, they have a good strong squad that will be pushing Mexico and Argentina.
While Mexico do well at getting through group stages, for this one I predict that it will be Argentina and Poland that get through.
This group should be a bit easier to predict given the history of two teams:
Current World Cup champions France failed to perform at Euro 2020, but they can right those wrongs here. They should qualify from this group, but France are always a bit of an unknown and issues arise within the French squad for one reason or another. You can’t count them out of going the distance though when they have Kylian Mbappé and Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema.
This will be Australia’s fifth World Cup in a row that they’ll be appearing, and they have surprised before, reaching the Round of 16 in 2006. This is such a tough group to qualify from – and likely to be a step too far for Australia.
Reaching the Round of 16 in 2018, Denmark followed that up with a great showing in Euro 2020, reaching the semi-final. They should head through here, but it’ll depend if they finish top or second. It should be close between them and France.
The 2022 World Cup will be Tunisia’s sixth overall, but they’ve failed to move beyond the group stage at each World Cup. This one looks no different, as the competition in the group is far superior.
France and Denmark will be just too strong for the other two teams in this group.
This is another group which has two teams that tend to do well in the World Cup, but it’s not a given with this tough group:
The Spanish seem to underperform in World Cups, with their one and only win coming in 2010. They reached the Round of 16 in 2018 but have to improve on that here. It won’t be easy, given the tough group they’ve been drawn into, but they should, on paper, qualify from this one.
The third World Cup in a row for Costa Rica is remarkable in itself, but even more so was when they reached the quarter-finals in 2014. They could be tricky to face, and it isn’t a given that the better countries will take maximum points from Costa Rica.
Champions in 2014, then bowing out at the Group Stage in 2018, they’ll need to be a lot better, but you never know with Germany. It’s a new look younger German team under Hansi Flick, and while they’re still learning, this is a tough group to qualify from, and it could be difficult.
Japan has qualified for every World Cup since 1998, reaching the Round of 16 in three of those while heading out in the Group Stage in the other three. They could easily be the surprise team that knocks out Germany or Spain. Either way, this is one of the toughest groups to qualify.
This is a tough group, but I’ll stick my neck out and say that Spain And Germany should scrape through.
Moving on to Group F, we once again see two teams who nearly always progress to the later stages of the World Cup:
Reaching the semi-final in 2018 was a best for Belgium. However, it looks to have passed them by, now that many of their world-class players are past it. Ranked 2nd in the FIFA rankings, it never quite happened for Belgium’s golden generation. Of course, they still have a fantastic team, but no one has ever won a World Cup with a manager from a different country. They should get out of the group though.
This will be Canada’s second-ever World Cup, the first coming in 1986. They proved that they deserve to be here after a fantastic qualification campaign. They likely won’t get out of the group though, as the other countries’ talent looks to be a level above.
Back-to-back World Cups for Morocco for the first time since 1994-1998 is an outstanding achievement, but getting out of this group will be hard. Despite off-field issues and a change in management, they have quality in the squad but are unlikely to cause problems.
With only a population of 3.8 million people, Croatia reached the final in 2018. They always seem to produce world-class players, and the team should be looking to qualify from this group comfortably.
I would be surprised if Belgium and Croatia don’t make it through from this group.
When a group contains five-time winners, you would hope that they get through with ease, but who will join them:
Five-time winners of the World Cup, Brazil come into this one as one of the favourites to lift the trophy again. They have every chance to do so with the insane talent they have in their squad, and they should fly through this group with relative ease.
Second World Cup in a row for Serbia, who will look to improve on their Group Stage finish in 2018. Aleksandar Mitrović is in the form of his life, and he’ll need to continue that good form into the World Cup if they are to have any chance of qualification.
The Swiss have reached Round 16 in the last two World Cups and have qualified for the last five. They’re always a fantastic outfit with a squad capable of upsetting teams. They should also be looking to move on from this group.
After missing out on the 2018 World Cup, having previously qualified for the two before that, Cameroon are back in the fold and could give a good showing of themselves in this group. It’s a tough one to qualify from, and they’ll need a lot of luck.
The easiest prediction so far. Brazil will make it through this group, and I also predict that Switzerland will join them.
Moving onto the final group, one team should make it through with the talent they have in the team, and another team with two World Cup titles to their name should follow them:
Heading out in the Round of 16 at the 2018 World Cup, Portugal have to be better here. They have the talent, as we all know, but they seem to underperform in many major tournaments, despite winning Euro 2016. They have world-class quality across the pitch, and this could be Cristiano Ronaldo’s last shot at a World Cup.
Ghana has given us some wonderful moments in the World Cup, particularly in 2010 when they reached the quarter-finals. Asamoah Gyan will forever be remembered for his performances for Ghana. Still, it’s looking bleak for them to qualify from this group.
Winners of the first-ever World Cup in 1930 and again in 1950. Uruguay are coming into this one with a strong squad, as always. For a country of 3.4 million, they seem to perform at the World Cup, and this year could be no different. They could be the dark horse at this one.
Bowing out at the Group Stage in the last two World Cups, Korea will be looking to go one step further here. They have the quality in Son Heung-min, who looks to be fit for this tournament after his injury scare, and Napoli’s Kim Min-Jae has been a rock at the back. They could cause issues.
This is not a straightforward prediction, as there could be some upsets. But I’ll put in B&W that Portugal and Uruguay will progress.
Round of 16
The Round of 16 is scheduled to start on the 3rd of December and end on the 18th of December 2022. If my Word Cup predictions have been right so far, then we’ll see the following teams play against each other.
But who will be the winners of each match?
Netherlands vs USA
It looks straightforward on paper, but it’ll be close. Netherlands should get over the line due to the players they can bring on from the bench. (Winners: Netherlands)
Argentina vs Denmark
Tough matchup for Argentina as Denmark will fancy their chances. But with Argentina’s current form, they should head through to the quarter-finals. (Winners: Argentina)
Spain vs Croatia
I feel Croatia lack a lot up top, which is why Spain will head through to the quarter-finals in this one, but Croatia never disappoint. It’s a tough one. (Winners: Spain)
Brazil vs Portugal
Meeting here in the Round of 16 is a tough test for both these teams, but Brazil might have that bit more about them. I don’t feel Portugal have what it takes to go beyond this, especially with Fernando Santos in charge. (Winners: Brazil)
England vs Ecuador
England always make it hard for themselves no matter who they play, and Ecuador could create a lot of problems for them, but the talent of England should see them through over the course of the game. (Winners: England)
France vs Poland
The defending champions should be too strong for Poland if they do perform. With what France have throughout their team, they’re just a level above even with Poland having Lewandowski. (Winners: France)
Belgium vs Germany
Very tough to call, but I think Germany gets the nod over ageing Belgium. Kevin De Bruyne could put me wrong, but Germany have such good attacking talent that they will create lots of chances. (Winners: Germany)
Uruguay vs Switzerland
Another tough one but Uruguay should head through. Switzerland are always good at the World Cup, but Uruguay sometimes seems to impress beyond belief. They have a quality team. (Winners: Uruguay)
As the World Cup progresses through to the quarter-finals, we’ll start to see the stronger teams show what they are made of. This is when it starts to get serious, so here are my predictions:
Netherlands vs Argentina
This is where small differences matter; that small difference could be Lionel Messi. Netherlands are world-class at the back, but they still lack something going forward. Argentina to progress. (Winners: Argentina)
Spain vs Brazil
Another South American country to move on to the semi-final, as Brazil just have too much going forward for Spain. Spain could struggle in a matchup against Brazil. (Winners: Brazil)
England vs France
England’s team looks great, but it doesn’t look anywhere near as good as France. With the defensive tactics likely on show from England, France will be too good for them. (Winners: France)
Germany vs Uruguay
I believe Uruguay’s run ends here as Germany under Hansi Flick are building something new, and the youth he’s included will carry them forward. (Winners: Germany)
Now we move onto the sharp end of the tournament. The fight for the final. At this stage, it becomes harder and harder to make predictions. Anything can happen which can change the result in the blink of an eye.
What a semi-final it’ll be should these two South American giants meet. It’ll be a tough game. Maybe one bit of magic during the match makes the difference. Argentina to progress through after a draining game, simply due to their form and their recent Copa America Cup Final win over Brazil.
The youthful Germans will come up against a France team in their prime. With Kante and Pogba missing, the midfield battle is sure to be contested, but going forward, France just have that much better quality, and that’ll be where they edge out Germany.
And so here it is the final of the World Cup 2022. We started with 32 teams and have whittled it down to two teams who have no doubt played their hearts out to get to the final.
It is expected to be played on Sunday the 18th of December 2022 with a kick-off time of 3pm (GMT).
Who will win? Will my predictions be right so far?
Can France pick up the World Cup in back-to-back tournaments, or should Argentina’s in-form team get their hands on the trophy for the first time since 1986?
France’s quality is evident, but the fight that Argentina has put up over the past year or two shows the togetherness that this group of players have. They will lift the trophy after a game that goes to the wire.
It won’t be about quality, but about slugging it out to the end.