The 2022 FIFA World Cup is rapidly approaching, with the first-ever winter tournament set to take place in Qatar between mid-November and December.
As ever, the participants will be out to chase records and write their names down in the history books of the most prestigious international competition.
Frustrated with an underwhelming UEFA Nations League campaign, defending world champions France will be out to become the first nation in 60 years to retain the crown.
If you’d like to back Les Bleus to bounce back from an embarrassing form in 2022 and defend the title, check out the World Cup odds for the best offers in the betting market.
But in order to pull off such an astounding feat, France would first have to overcome a lacklustre run of one win from six internationals as their head coach Didier Deschamps eyes up a piece of history.
The former midfielder led his country to World Cup glory in 2018 and is only one victory away from joining a 10-win club for managers at the elite quadrennial tournament.
Should a star-studded French side fall short in their bid to win back-to-back titles, there’s a chance that Qatar could witness an unprecedented milestone in World Cup history.
No head coach that was not from the country who has won the competition has ever left the Jules Rimet Trophy, but with all top candidates led by their native managers, that’s a bit far-fetched.
One of the main favourites to conquer the competition is the five-time world champions Brazil, who have played the joint-most matches at the World Cup (109) alongside Germany.
It means whoever gets the furthest at Qatar will overtake that record.
Brazil’s bitter rivals Argentina will enter the tournament in high spirits following a sensational 35-game unbeaten streak in international football, with Lionel Messi seeking a career-defining achievement.
Winning the World Cup would be a standout landmark that may prove a decisive factor in La Pulga’s bid to become the greatest player of all time.
Since he’s likely to feature in all three group fixtures, Diego Armando Maradona’s record of 21 World Cup appearances for La Albiceleste should be broken.
Lionel Scaloni’s men are odds-on favourites to progress from the group featuring the likes of Mexico, Poland and Saudi Arabia, with El Tri starring down the barrel of an unwanted piece of history.
The Mexicans have lost 27 World Cup outings and another defeat at Qatar 2022 would only extend a record no one wants.
Messi’s arch-nemesis Cristiano Ronaldo will lead the charge for Portugal as he aims to become the first player to score in five different World Cup finals.