With only 6 weeks left for the FIFA World Cup, the football universe is gearing up for the first ever November/December World Cup.  Top European leagues and the Champions league are in full flow till mid November, making the advert of the World Cup a somewhat uphill task.

Nevertheless, we are all excited to see the 32 best teams in the world compete to win the 22nd edition of the world’s most prestigious sporting event. 

Here is how the teams are looking with 6 seeks remaining until the hosts Qatar start the ball rolling against Ecuador on 20th of November.

  1. Heavy Favorites

These are the heavyweights and are proven winners on the biggest stage. 3 teams on this list have won 9 out of the possible 21 titles. Brazil are perennial World Cup favorites and are 5 times winners. They have not lost a competitive game since the Copa America Final loss against arch rivals Argentina.

They boast a formidable roster and their head coach Tite will have tough time picking the final 26 roster.

Argentina meanwhile are on a phenomenal streak as they are undefeated in 35 matches. They have won 24 games and drawn the rest, won the Copa America during that span. But the presence of 7 time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi makes the Albiceleste as a dangerous side. This is Messi’s last World Cup and he will be gunning to lift the illusive title, one that will most likely solidify his legacy as one of the greatest ever if not the greatest.

Defending champions France have not been the same since their triumph back in 2018 but the Les Blues led by Didier Deschamps have plethora of options in all areas. They cannot be taken lightly despite the fact that the defending champions have struggled in recent tournaments.

Both Germany and Spain, winners of previous two editions were both bounced out of the group stages. France themselves were eliminated in the group stages of 2002 FIFA World Cup when defending 1998 World Cup win.

Brazil

Argentina

France

2. Contenders/Challenders

This is the second tier where teams have track record of winning and are well capable if things go well. Not very many people will be surprised if any of these teams win the World Cup. Past winners Spain and England are trying to win their second ever World Cup. Germany will be trying to tie Brazil with their 5th title but if they do so, they will have to fix their leaky defense which has only kept 11 clean sheets in 31 games, couple of which were against lowly Liechtenstein.

Belgium, Netherlands and Portugal have not won the World Cup yet and are looking to break the duck.

No one’s ever been closer without winning one than the Dutch having lost three finals. The latest one came in South Africa 2010 when Andres Iniesta’s extra time winner broke the oranges heart.

Portugal, have not made it to a final with the 3rd place at England 1966 being their best yet. This will most likely be Ronaldo’s last World Cup and he will be looking to go out on a high and not only deliver his country the biggest honor but also reaffirm his legacy as one of the best if not the best ever.

Spain

Belgium

England

Germany

Netherlands

Portugal

3. There is a chance

Teams in this tier are well capable of winning it all but they will have to heavily punch above their weight. Croatia fell short against France last time but are one of the most successful teams in recent years without actually winning a major title. No one will be surprised if they go one better this time. They are ranked 12th in the world, only behind Denmark in this list.

Denmark are the 10th best side in the world. They rallied well after Christian Eriksen’s heart failure during Euro 2020. He will be leading the side as they look to ruffle some feathers.

Just behind are the 2 time World Cup winners Uruguay who are ranked 14th in the world. After winning the inaugural two titles, they have been disappointing but finished 4th in 2010 and made it to the quarters in 2014. No one can take them lightly as the roster has a decent mixture of youth and experience.

Switzerland might have the lest pedigree in terms of World Cup performances but the 15th best team in the world have been decent in the last 4 editions making it beyond the group stages on three editions. Resurgent midfielder Granit Xhaka will look to lead his side to new heights this time around.

Croatia

Switzerland

Denmark

Uruguay

4. Dark horses

These are the sides that could beat anyone on their day and upset a few favorites. Reminds us of the famous upset of defending champions France by Senegal back in 2002 courtesy of Papa Bouba Diop. Winning the whole thing might be a little beyond them but do not be surprised if a few of these teams make it to the later stages.

Special mention to Canda, who are returning to the major stage after a 36 year absence. Their only appearance in 1986 yielded 0 goals and 3 defeats but they are a much different proposition this time around. Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David will lead this exciting fearless bunch. They have a tough matchup against Belgium and Croatia in the group stages, though.

Like Canada, Wales are making their second ever appearance after getting knocked out in the QF back in 1958. If Gareth Bale is fit, anything is possible.

Serbia

Japan

Mexico

Wales

Poland

Canada

5. A lot to prove

These teams have a lot to prove. They are dominant in their continents or have been in recent times but there is a lot to be desired regarding their credentials. The United States in particular, have struggled over the last few months with poor results. More than the poor results its the performances that will concern the public. The team has failed to fully implement Greg Berhalter’s philosophy. He will be under heavy pressure to perform with the side choosing the following World Cup and missing out on the previous one.

Senegal, champions of Africa will be looking to prove their 2002 showing was not a fluke as ex Liverpool forward Sadio Mane looks like to lead his side to great success and possibly provide Africa’s first ever World Cup champions?

USA

South Korea

Australia

Senegal

6. Unlikely to make it

This bracket consists of teams that have not really lit up the World Cup in the past and have a lot of doubters. Their qualification was well deserved but they have a massive task of proving the oddsmaker wrong.

Ecuador

Cameroon

Costa Rica

Ghana

7. Happy to be here

Think of all the countries that have never made it to the World Cup. They dream to participate. These are the sides that are lucky enough and are happy to be at this stage. They will look to get a scalp or two. But we would be heavily surprised if any of these teams make it out of the group stages.

Tunisia

Iran

Morocco

Saudi Arabia

Qatar

Bonus. Now or Never

Belgium

We could have Belgium in the contenders tier. However, they deserve to have a list to themselves. This golden generation of Belgium consists of a lot of players on the twilight of their careers and this might just be their last dance. Their world ranking of 2 suggests they are heavy favorites but the odds are heavily against them. They have never won a major honor and time is running out. Roberto Martinez’s side will look to go one further after being ousted on the semis in 2018 and quarters in 2014.

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