With the World Cup in Qatar within touching distance, anything can happen before the tournament’s conclusion on December 18. Here is a look at the most likely nations to face each other in the final.
Two powerhouses of the beautiful game, Brazil and France are no strangers to World Cup success. The Canarinha boast five titles (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002) while Les Blues have won it twice (1998 and 2018). Each side comes into this edition of the tournament in different form, however, with Brazil winning their last seven games in a row and France having only managed two victories in their seven matches.
Regardless of current form, the shape of the knock-out stages route in Qatar means that, unless one of them slips up in the group stages, both will be completely separated until the final. That is why Paddy Power gives users placing a World Cup bet odds of 14/1 for a Brazil-France match-up. Both teams feature heavily in the World Cup 2022 tips due to the quality in their starting XIs, as well as how stacked the squads are. It remains to be seen whether these finalists will be Brazil and France come December 18.
If Brazil secure the Hexa, Neymar could break Pelé’s record as all-time top scorer for the men’s national team along the way…
Two dreams might come true in 2022. 🇧🇷
— Squawka (@Squawka) November 7, 2022
Next in line for a memorable final is Brazil against England, in what would be the pair’s first meeting in a major tournament since the Canarinha’s memorable 2-1 victory in the 2002 World Cup, where Ronaldinho infamously lobbed David Seaman from a match-winning free-kick. The Three Lions have never beaten Brazil in a major tournament, meaning Gareth Southgate’s side will hope to avoid the South American giants in the final in Qatar.
However, probability could go against the Three Lions, as a Brazil-England final is priced at odds of 16/1. This eventuality would rely on England beating France before the final, which would most likely be at the tournament’s quarter-final stage. Given that England’s record against Les Blues in major tournaments isn’t much better (W2, D3, L2), Southgate may well have his work cut out reaching just a second World Cup final in the nation’s history.
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) November 10, 2022
While Brazil are undoubtedly the tournament favourites, it is still possible for Tite’s side to not be among the finalists in Qatar. In that instance, their most likely replacements would be Argentina, who the Canarinha would likely face in the semi-final. This would rely on Messi and co. dispatching a probable combination of Denmark and Netherlands in the round of 16 and quarter-final, respectively.
Given Argentina’s prowess and England’s shakiness in major tournaments, this eventuality is priced the same as the previous Brazil-England final. At 35 years old, Lionel Messi will likely be playing in the last World Cup of his career, meaning he will undoubtedly be eager for his first taste of World Cup success, especially after the Albiceleste’s narrow defeat in the 2014 final to Germany. Fresh off the back of their Copa America victory over Brazil, Argentina will be wanting to make it two major trophies in as many years.
While Brazil, England, France and Argentina are among the favourites, World Cup tournaments are notorious for their unpredictability. With the likes of Spain, Germany, Portugal and the Netherlands also waiting in the wings, who will get their hands on the famous trophy in Qatar?