Bookies predict Brazil will beat France to win 2022 World Cup, with England bowing out in last four

Brazil are favourites for Qatar on the back of an impressive qualifying campaign, just ahead of France, with England installed as third favourites. Andy Schooler looks at how the market is shaping up.

England are third favourites to win the 2022 World Cup after booking their place in Qatar.

But who are the market leaders and what are the odds of the other leading contenders?

With a year to go until the Finals, Andy Schooler takes a look at the current betting picture.

Brazil

Neymar Brazil Nov21

Brazil's name has often been found at the head of the World Cup betting market over the years and it's no surprise to see them topping the list for Qatar 2022, 12 months ahead of the tournament.

They were the first South American team to qualify, breezing through with six games to spare by winning 11 of their opening 12 fixtures.

Neymar will again be the team's poster boy. He was injured in the run-up to the 2018 World Cup so will aim to make a bigger impact this time around.

The team has a solid Premier League base with Ederson, Fabinho, Fred and Roberto Firmino all playing key roles.

Recently, LeedsRaphinha has also made a big impact and he could well be part of the Selecao XI in 12 months' time. It's also encouraging for boss Tite that the under-23 side won gold at this summer's Olympics.

France

Kylian Mbappe France celebration Nov21

The defending champions showed they won't be relinquishing their crown easily by winning a high-quality Nations League Finals tournament in October.

Their talent pool is extremely deep and making Didier Deschamps' squad should be considered a good achievement.

Kylian Mbappe made a big impression on the 2018 tournament as a teenager and, now 22, this could be his time to really shine.

One worry for Deschamps at this stage may be the status of Paul Pogba at Manchester United. The midfielder has regularly looked a better player for his country than he has at Old Trafford - a January move could be good for France's chances.

England 

Bukayo Saka England Oct21

These are good times for England, who made the semi-finals of the last World Cup and came within a penalty shootout of winning the European Championship. But should they be considered third favourites for Qatar 2022?

On both occasions mentioned, it's undeniable they were fortunate with the way the draw opened up - their knockout wins at those tournaments came against Colombia, Sweden, GermanyUkraine and Denmark. The last three all came on home soil, too.

In that sense, this team still has something to prove and it's not hard to suggest that manager Gareth Southgate has failed to get the very best out of a talented group of players.

That said, this remains a fairly young squad, one still improving, and their winning habit should serve them well next year.

Spain 

Gavi Spain and Barcelona Nov21

The current Spain side is forced to live in the shadow of the team which won the 2010 World Cup (and two European titles) but there are signs that they will be able to contend and match those achievements in the coming years.

For all Barcelona's struggles, they possess two of the world's best teenagers in Gavi and Ansu Fati - both are Spanish and already making an impact at international level and will have another year of experience in the bank come Qatar.

The team perhaps lacks that real star factor - there's no Neymar or Mbappe - but Spain showed they are a real team with their performances in October's Nations League Finals. Look to have a real chance.

Germany 

Joshua Kimmich Germany Oct21

Having made a group-stage exit at the last World Cup and gone out at the last-16 stage of Euro 2020, German soccer has been at a low ebb of late. However, the 2014 world champions may be turning a page.

World Cup-winning coach Joachim Low has been replaced by Hansi Flick, who has won his first seven matches in charge, his team scoring 31 goals and conceding just two as they qualified for the finals with ease.

Several of their key men are all in their mid-20s - think Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka, Leroy Sane, Timo Werner and Serge Gnabry - and the good thing for Flick is that they are now being challenged by the likes of Kai Havertz, Florian Neuhaus and Florian Wirtz, star of this year's European under-21 winning side.

The early signs of the Flick era are good but much bigger challenges await with no one of note beaten yet.

Defeat a good team in March and their odds may well shorten, lose it and it's not hard to see them going off at bigger odds than 10/1.

Argentina 

Lionel Messi Argentina Oct21

Lionel Messi finally ended his wait for a winners' medal at international level in the summer when Argentina won the Copa America, beating arch rivals Brazil in the final. Now the question turns to whether he can crown his career by winning the World Cup.

Some signs are good. Argentina have gone unbeaten across their first 13 qualifying games, conceding just six goals in the process, as they booked their spot in Qatar with five games to spare.

Up front, Messi has received notable support from Inter Milan's Lautaro Martinez but concerns remain at the back where Nicolas Otamendi remains a key figure.

Without Messi, Argentina's odds would be considerably longer so you wonder whether they can be described as good value right now.

Belgium 

Kevin De Bruyne Belgium Nov21

Golden generation. Last chance. Heard this before? Yes, there are plenty of parallels between Belgium's current crop and those of England back in 2006. This star-studded side sits top of the FIFA rankings and they've once again done everything asked of them in qualifying.

The problem is that they have failed time and again to win the big matches at tournaments. Beaten by Wales at Euro 2016, Belgium lost the World Cup semi-final to France and also bowed out of Euro 2020 at the hands of the eventual champions, Italy.

Any side with the goals of Romelu Lukaku and the creativity of Kevin de Bruyne and Eden Hazard in it clearly has a shot at glory, but concerns remain about a defence which is considered the weak link.

Certainly have potential to win but the pressure is high and previous failures may weigh heavy.

Italy 

Leonardo Spinazzola Italy Wembley Jun21

The Azzurri showed what a real team can achieve in the summer, winning Euro 2020 without a superstar player in their ranks. Yet the Italians famously lost in the play-offs for the last World Cup and after only drawing their last two group qualifiers, they could suffer the same fate in March.

Can they therefore be backed now? Throw in a loss at the Nations League Finals to Spain and it's fair to say Italy have suffered something of a post-Euros hangover.

Yet they have only lost once in 41 games, an experienced, water-tight defence still making life very difficult for opponents - veterans Giorgio Chiellini and Leonardo Bonucci look set to continue until Qatar. And they also have key members of their Euros-winning team, Ciro Immobile and Leonardo Spinazzola, to return to the side. Should qualify but at 12/1 they don't look a bet right now.

Netherlands 

Virgil van Dijk Netherlands Nov21

Found themselves in a three-way qualification battle with Turkey and Norway so it's hardly been a convincing World Cup campaign for the Dutch, who changed manager during it, returning to Louis van Gaal after a last-16 exit at Euro 2020.

However, they did manage to finish top and Van Gaal is unbeaten so far which is a positive, as is the fact that star defender Virgil van Dijk is now fit again. However, there's a feeling that the Netherlands' young talent has rather stagnated in recent times with Matthijs de Ligt benched in recent times and Frenkie de Jong appearing to have been dragged down by the problems at Barcelona.

Throw in a disappointing tournament track record and the Dutch don't look a particularly attractive bet.

Portugal 

Cristiano Ronaldo gesturing Portugal Nov21

Like Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo looks to have one last chance at World Cup glory in Qatar - if Portugal qualify. They made a hash of winning their group, Serbia's late winner in Lisbon pushing them into the play-offs.

That simply added to the sense that experienced coach Fernando Santos is failing to make the most of a highly-talented squad. He accused his team of "lacking personality" after that Serbia loss but it's not unfair to think he should be getting more out of players such as Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Diogo JotaRuben Dias and Joao Cancelo.

Despite success at European level, the fact is Portugal have only gone beyond the last 16 at the World Cup once since 1966. Right now, it's hard to be convinced that record will improve.

Who else?

Pedro Miguel Qatar vs Republic of Ireland Oct21

Denmark were the dark horses of Euro 2020, reaching the semi-finals as 28/1 shots. The Danes are only a slightly-bigger 33/1 to build on that and win the World Cup but won't have three home games at this tournament.

Croatia, finalists in Russia in 2018, are at 50/1 to go one better in 2022 after winning one of the most competitive qualifying groups, while Switzerland, who topped a pool containing European champions Italy, are 66/1 shots.

Qatar have made the most of rules allowing the naturalising of foreign-born players, a process which undoubtedly helped them capture the Asian Cup in 2019. But they are at 150/1 to win the World Cup. It's worth pointing out that only one host nation - France in 1998 - has lifted the trophy since 1978.

Pele famously predicted that an African team would win the World Cup by the end of the 20th century but more than two decades after that 'deadline' it is still to happen. The odds make it highly unlikely that will change in 2022 with Sadio Mane's Senegal and Nigeria the lowest-priced of the continent's side - both are considered 250/1 chances.

READ MORE: Everything you need to know about Qatar 2022 now England have qualified

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