The 22nd World Cup in the history of football takes place in Qatar from 20 November to 18 December. Like every four years, some teams stand out for being the favourites. Progress.
Who will succeed France at the World Cup in Qatar? If the Blues are regularly cited as natural favourites, others can lay claim to the crown.
France 24 looks at a short selection of title contenders.
France: reigning champion despite doubts
Winners of the 2018 Cup in Russia, the French team is the selection to beat for many participants. From this title, France also won the League of Nations. His strong point is his stellar attack: two of the six players leading the last Ballon d’Or (Benzema 1st and Mbappé 6th) make him up and he can also count on Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud and Ousmane Dembélé.
However, the Blues remain fragile. He has lost his magical double in the center, Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté are defecated, while in defense he will present himself without certainties between a recovering Varane, a now emaciated Kimpembe and inexperienced newcomers. A statistic also plays against them: since 1998, five of the six defending champions have seen the exit from the group stage.
Brazil: perennial favourite
Record holder for the number of world champion titles (5), Brazil is a must when it comes to favorites for a soccer World Cup. This year the hint is even more true. The footballing nation is currently at the top of the Fifa rankings and can count on a dream attack: Neymar has been in shape since the start of the season with PSG (15 goals and 12 assists in 19 games) flanked by Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid) or Gabriel Jesus (Arsenal). Brazilian coach Tite, who is probably playing his last World Cup in charge of the Seleção, also has an expert defense at his disposal with Thiago Silva and Marquinhos as well as Dani Alves, 39.
Eight years after their World Cup home fiasco and humiliation at the hands of Germany (7-1), time is running out for this Brazilian generation: this is probably their last chance for the world title. The Brazilian public has been waiting for a world title since 2022, an eternity for them.
Argentina: Messi wants the trophy he lacks
Emiliano Martinez, Cristian Romero, Rodrigo de Paul, Leandro Paredes, Lautaro Martinez, Angel Di Maria, Paulo Dybala and, of course, Lionel Messi… Argentina arrives with an impressive parade of stars in Qatar. Under the leadership of Lionel Scaloni, in charge since 2018, Albiceleste has gained consistency to become one of the favourites. Since 2019 Argentina remain on a run of 35 games without defeat, two units off the record of Roberto Mancini’s Italy, and should probably beat it during this World Cup.
The Argentines are also the latest team to beat another favorite, Brazil. It was in 2021 in the final of a Copa America that the country had been waiting for for 28 years. Having finally lifted a major trophy in selection, ‘Leo’ Messi should have the fangs to do the same in Qatar and lift the only trophy missing from his collection.
Portugal: Aging Ronaldo and an army to back him up
Another sacred monster of football, another last world. Just like his best enemy Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo will experience his fifth in the world in Qatar. The five-time Portuguese Ballon d’Or, however, advances shrouded in doubts: little playing time with Manchester United, less acute with Portugal, the superstar seems to show signs of wear. Luckily in the search for the first star on the Portuguese shirt, she can count on a team with world-class players across all lines. Among them: João Cancelo, Danilo Pereira, Pepe, Rúben Dias, Nuno Mendes, Bernardo Silva, Rafael Leão, Joao Félix…
Germany, beware of the sleeping bear
Was Germany ever so little feared? However, everyone knows that “football is a sport played eleven against eleven and in the end Germany wins”. If the team is in full reconstruction, Hanzi Flick has put together a tasty team mixing glorious old men, promising youngsters and confirmed players. In the first category, Mario Götze, Thomas Müller, Manuel Neuer and Matthias Ginter, the four survivors of the coronation that took place in Brazil eight years ago. In the second, Flick bets on Jamal Musiala, 19, the very young Youssoufa Moukokopas, not yet 18, whose birthday he will celebrate on the day of his debut match, November 20th. Leroy Sané, Serge Gnabry, Joshua Kimmich and Kai Havertz complete the army available to the coach.
After the fiasco of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, which ended surprisingly in the group stage with a defeat against South Korea (2-0), Germany wants to rebuild its image, 18 months after hosting Euro-2024. For the first time in its post-war history, the German selection has not reached the quarter-finals of a major tournament twice in a row (World or European), since 18 months ago, at Euro-2020 moved up by a year, the Nationalmannschaft lost in the round of 16 against England (2-0).
Other nations may do well:
England : after a semi-final in 2018 and a final loss at the last Euro, the Three Lions have a card to play in Qatar. Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Phil Foden or even Mason Mount will put their talents at the service of the English nation which awaits its first major title after the world championship on home soil in 1966.
Spain : semi-finalist of the last Euro, La Roja is one of the football sensations of the moment. Luis Enrique offers a flamboyant game that relies above all on the collective. Quite young, Spain has no real star but relies on a solid midfielder embodied by Pedri and Gavi, the two nuggets of Barcelona, the last winners of the Raymond Kopa trophy for best young player.
Senegal : less than a year after the first title in their history at CAN-2022, the Teranga Lions are ready to make an entire people dream. With its world-class players across all lines (Edouard Mendy, Kalidou Coulibaly, Idrissa Gueye, Sadio Mané), Senegal are hoping to break the African glass ceiling in the World Cup, the quarter-finals. However, bad news dashed the Senegalese’s hopes: Sadio Mané was injured a few days before the World Cup. While he is on the roster, he may not be reinstated until the eventual round of 16.
Uruguay: the veterans of La Celeste, Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, top scorers of the Uruguayan selection that will play their fourth in the World Cup, will guide promising young shooters, Federico Valverde and Darwin Nuñez. What to dream of a last place in the bottom four, or even better even if Uruguay hasn’t won the world title since 1950.
The World Cup in Qatar beyond football: