The 22nd edition of the World’s most famous and exciting football competition takes place in Qatar in just 226 days. The drama, controversy and passion all return on November 21 with 32 countries fighting to get their hands on football’s most prestigious honour, the World Cup.
Five-time winners Brazil are currently the favourites, closely followed by France and England. However, instead of looking at the favourites, we are going to look at those that could cause an upset in Qatar.
Potential Upsets at 2022 World Cup
Denmark sit at tenth favourite to win the World Cup in Qatar. The Danes breezed through their World Cup qualification group, racking up 27 points in the process. They scored 30 goals and only conceded three times in the ten matches they played. This included a 4-0 away win versus Austria and a 5-0 home win over Israel. No one in Europe got more points, with only Germany equalling their tally in a significantly easier group.
We also can’t forget the emotions and heroics of this Denmark side at Euro 2020, just ten months ago. The Danes reached the semi-finals after an incredibly scary incident involving their talisman Christian Eriksen in their opening game. How amazing it is to see him back, scoring twice for Denmark in the most recent international games and at the weekend in Brentford’s 4-1 stomping at Stamford Bridge. While having a favourable run at the competition, they took England to extra time at Wembley and were unlucky not to be heading to the final.
Denmark have been handed a favourable draw with France, Tunisia and either UAE, Australia, or Peru in their group. If they were to progress through the group, their round of 16 opponents will either be Argentina, Poland, or Mexico.
A few things we know for sure with this Denmark team. They can score goals, they don’t concede many, and they are a tight-knit group of hard-working and talented players. No one will want to play the Danes. Can they go all the way?
The recent AFCON Champions are looking to bring Africa their first-ever World Cup trophy back to the continent. An African country has never reached even the semi-final of the competition. In fact, only three times has an African country reached the quarter-finals of the competition (Cameroon in 1980, Senegal in 2002 and Ghana in 2010 in that memorable game against Uruguay in South Africa).
The Senegalese, however, are in perfect form coming into this competition. Winning 16 points in six games in their World Cup qualification set them up with a two-legged tie with Egypt for a place in Qatar, a repeat of the AFCON final just a month ago. Similarly to that day, penalties were needed to decide a winner with Senegal getting another one over their Egyptian rivals.
Senegal have many exciting players that no team will want to face. Champions League, Super Cup and Club World Cup Winner, Edouard Mendy, between the sticks with Kalidou Koulibaly for defensive cover form a formidable defence and are a big reason why the side have only conceded twice in their last ten games in all competitions. Their midfield is made up of Premier League quality players, and of course, their talisman Sadio Mane who will likely prove a danger for any defence in the world.
Senegal have been drawn in Group A against hosts Qatar, Netherlands, and Ecuador. They are many worse groups the Pot C country could have been drawn into and therefore should be fancying their chances to get into the next round. A second-place finish would all but guarantee an exciting encounter with England.
Currently, Senegal are the best team in Africa and are fighting not just for their own pride but for the pride of Africa. Can this Senegal side break the mould and reach the semi-finals of the World Cup, or maybe even go all the way?
Serbia were unbeaten and topped their World Cup qualification group with 20 points in their eight games, including an impressive away win against Portugal. They left Portugal to qualify through the playoffs as they gained automatic qualification to the World Cup in Qatar.
The Serbians have been given a tough group, with Brazil, Switzerland, and Cameroon all in group G. However, if they can get out of their group they could set up another game with Portugal, who couldn’t get past them in their two qualification fixtures.
The Serbians have a lot of talent at their disposable, especially at the top end of the pitch, arguably more than the two previous teams mentioned. Aleksandar Mitrovic has scored 38 goals and got seven assists in 37 Championship games this season. Dusan Vlahovic has 21 goals and three assists for Fiorentina and now Juventus in Serie A this season, with 0.76 goals per 90. Since the 2018/19 season, Dusan Tadic has scored 64 goals and got 60 assists in the Eredivisie with Ajax and scored 16 goals in the Champions League in the same period. This attack should have any defence worried.
While huge underdogs to win the competition, Serbia have the potential to surprise the big boys. Don’t count them out.