The 2022 World Cup has started with some surprises. Saudi Arabia defeated Argentina in one of the biggest upsets in the history of the tournament. Teams like Belgium and Germany failed to reach the knockout stage.
But there are not many surprises among the remaining teams in the tournament. Of the eight teams still in contention for the World Cup, seven are ranked in the top 12 of the FIFA rankings. Only Morocco with a rank of 22 is outside the top 20. The Moroccans are among the best teams in the tournament.
There are six teams left that can realistically claim they have a good chance of winning the World Cup and another, Croatia, is a finalist in 2018. Here’s how we see the teams heading into the final three rounds of the tournament.
8. Morocco (BetMGM +4000 odds)
Putting Morocco in eighth place is no small feat – it is a sign of the depth of the field in this quarter-final. Morocco includes international stars such as Hakim Ziyech and Ashraf Hakimi, and allowed only one goal in four matches. Their Group F victory was no accident, and Morocco’s presence as the first African team in the quarter-finals of a World Cup since Ghana in 2010 is well deserved.
7. Croatia (+4,000)
The same key players who helped Croatia reach the World Cup final in 2018 are also part of this team’s run at the 2022 tournament. Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic have been fantastic in midfield and Ivan Perisic has been one of the best wingers in both World Cups. While a run back to the flnal seems unlikely, the Croats will not be easy against Brazil on Friday.
6. The Netherlands (1,400+)
The Dutch dispatched the USA in the Round of 16 with two clinical goals in the first half. Dutch Denzel Dumfries is considered one of the best attacking full-backs in the world, and Cody Gakbo will soon be playing in one of the biggest leagues in Europe after scoring three goals in the group stage. Barcelona striker Memphis Depay is also getting healthier.
5. Portugal (600+)
Portugal looked dominant against Switzerland with Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench. This is a Portuguese team full of talent that doesn’t need an aging star striker and could actually be much more dangerous without him on the field. After all, there is no place in the starting line-up for 23-year-old winger Rafael Leao. He came off the bench after scoring seven goals and assisting nine in 20 appearances for Milan this year.
4. Argentina (600+)
The Argentines recovered from their opening World Cup defeat against Saudi Arabia to go three straight victories. Lionel Messi remains the main part of Argentina’s attack, with Julian Alvarez starring in the attacking line and Lautaro Martinez and Angel Di Maria starting matches on the bench. While Argentina’s winning streak is now three instead of 35, this team can still beat anyone in the tournament as long as Messi is on the field.
3. England (600+)
Ditching their three-man centre-back, England managed a combined nine goals against Iran and Senegal. Defense wasn’t compromised with the move either because Judd Bellingham was the midfield driver with Declan Rice squeezing him in front of the backline. There’s plenty of interchangeability up front on both sides of Harry Kane, too. Saturday’s match between England and France could be the match of the tournament.
2. France (400+)
Is this a better team with Olivier Giroud in the squad than Karim Benzema? It may sound brutal to say, but this injury-ravaged French team is still very good. Kylian Mbappe was the attacking striker of the tournament while Antoine Griezmann played an attacking midfield role seamlessly before a pair of Adrien Rabiot and Aurelin Choameni were excellent in place of Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante.
1. Brazil (+175)
Brazil have shown nothing to dissuade people from believing that they are favorites to win the World Cup. Their only defeat came against Cameroon when Brazil got off to a completely second-string start. And attack can be fired in myriad ways as evidenced by the four goals Brazil scored in the first half against South Korea. A goal in three matches.