World Cup Predictions Round One – England and the USA to Get Off to Winning Starts

2022 World Cup predictions round one - Al Bayt Stadium

Top-level football across the globe has come to a pause for the next month to facilitate the beginning of Qatar’s World Cup 2022. An entirely unprecedented competition, this tournament will unorthodoxly take place during the winter, and this could result in even more upsets than normal, with plenty of the world’s best players like Karim Benzema injured and ruled out for the next four weeks. As Last Word on Football takes a break from our Premier League predictions, we will be providing World Cup predictions all the way from the first match of the tournament to its last.

World Cup Predictions for Round One

Qatar vs Ecuador

Joe Blackburn: 0-2

Joseph Howes: 1-2

Jamie Rooke: 0-1

Jordan Hackett: 1-2

Dan Hepburn: 0-2

Qatar are hosting their first World Cup, and playing their first World Cup match in the micronation’s history. They face a relatively strong Ecuador side. Whilst some may have reason to believe that Qatar can sneak the match with a 1-0 winner in the second half, Ecuador have the integrity and strength to win the World Cup opener. 2-0 to Ecuador.

Joe Blackburn

Senegal vs The Netherlands

Joe Blackburn: 1-3

Joseph Howes: 0-3

Jamie Rooke: 0-2

Jordan Hackett: 1-3

Dan Hepburn: 1-1

This fixture has taken on a very different form in the last week, following the news that Sadio Mane will be absent from the whole tournament. Netherlands’ chances grow ever stronger and they are tipped by many to top group A with ease. The score line may not reflect it but the Dutch will begin their 2022 campaign with a straightforward win, starting as they mean to go on!

Jamie Rooke

England vs Iran

Joe Blackburn: 2-0

Joseph Howes: 3-0

Jamie Rooke: 2-0

Jordan Hackett: 2-0

Dan Hepburn: 3-0

England come into the tournament on a relatively poor run of form, scoring very few and conceding a lot more in the Nations League in the run up to the World Cup. They face an Iran side with a tendency to sit back and wait for the opposition to come at them. England should win this match, having enough quality with players that have experience against deep-lying defences, such as Phil Foden. 2-0 to England. 

Joe Blackburn

USA vs Wales

Joe Blackburn: 1-0

Joseph Howes: 1-0

Jamie Rooke: 1-1

Jordan Hackett: 0-1

Dan Hepburn: 2-1

Wales come into their first World Cup in a generation on strong form, with Gareth Bale a fundamental part of the side grasping their place at the finals. A young and hungry USMNT meet them, with Tyler Adams leading a side that includes plenty of Premier League talent. The USA plays in a way that draws deep defences towards them before striking on the counter, which could give the likes of Christian Pulisic and Brenden Aaronson the perfect chance to nick a winner in a 1-0 victory.

Joe Blackburn

Argentina vs Saudi Arabia

Joe Blackburn: 5-0

Joseph Howes: 4-0

Jamie Rooke: 3-0

Jordan Hackett: 3-0

Dan Hepburn: 4-0

Argentina come into this tournament as one of the favourites. A final hurrah for Lionel Messi, it’s do or die for him and his teammates seem keen to win it for him. It may not be a steam-rolling but Scaloni’s side are surefire favourites!

Jamie Rooke

Denmark vs Tunisia

Joe Blackburn: 2-0

Joseph Howes: 1-0

Jamie Rooke: 2-0

Jordan Hackett: 2-1

Dan Hepburn: 2-0

Denmark have been a solid team in recent years. They went out in the round of 16 to eventual finalists Croatia on penalties in 2018. They are fancied to push an injury-hit France all the way in Group D and can get through this game against a Tunisia side that went out in the groups in 2018 and have a tough ask to get out of them in Qatar. 

Jordan Hackett

Mexico vs Poland

Joe Blackburn: 1-2

Joseph Howes: 1-1

Jamie Rooke: 1-2

Jordan Hackett: 1-2

Dan Hepburn: 2-2

1970 and 1986 quarter-finalists Mexico come into this game having lost to Sweden in a World Cup warm-up friendly but are likely show themselves on the big stage in Qatar. Poland, however, had a disappointing 2018 campaign with Robert Lewandowski failing to score. They will be looking to do better this tournament and could get off to a winning start in a tight game. 

Jordan Hackett

France vs Australia

Joe Blackburn: 3-0

Joseph Howes: 2-0

Jamie Rooke: 1-0

Jordan Hackett: 4-0

Dan Hepburn: 3-0

France’s confidence going into this game won’t be at an all time high. Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema will be injured for the competition, as will fellow striker Christopher Nkunku, while their most recent Nations League campaign involved some shocking results. Australia, it has to be said, head to the World Cup in much better form after qualifying on penalties against Peru and then winning two recent fixtures against New Zealand. That said, France’s squad is simply stacked with talent, and they should be able to beat Australia and overcome the curse of the reigning champions which has seen the previous World Cup winners crash out at the group stages in all of the last three tournaments.

Joseph Howes

Morocco vs Croatia

Joe Blackburn: 0-1

Joseph Howes: 1-2

Jamie Rooke: 1-1

Jordan Hackett: 1-2

Dan Hepburn: 1-2

Having been drawn alongside Spain and Portugal in 2018, Morocco have again been dealt a tough hand, facing Croatia and Belgium in Group F. Croatia come into this game six games unbeaten – winning their last five and can get off to a good start here.

Jordan Hackett

Germany vs Japan

Joe Blackburn: 2-1

Joseph Howes: 2-0

Jamie Rooke: 3-1

Jordan Hackett: 2-0

Dan Hepburn: 3-1

Having crashed out of their last World Cup, Germany will be hoping to get back to winning ways this time around. Their first opponents at this year’s World Cup, Japan, actually outperformed them last time around, with Germany finishing rock bottom of Group F in 2018 while Japan reached the round of 16 and were knocked out by a comeback victory involving a last minute winner for Belgium. While their recent form is slightly concerning, Germany still should have the quality to win this one with a fair amount of comfort: 2-0.

Joseph Howes

Spain vs Costa Rica

Joe Blackburn: 1-0

Joseph Howes: 3-1

Jamie Rooke: 1-1

Jordan Hackett: 3-0

Dan Hepburn: 2-1

As one of the favourites, Spain will fancy themselves heading into the 2022 World Cup. They won their most recent Nations League group, and with a squad like theirs, one can see why. A match up between them and Costa Rica has a pretty sizeable gap in quality, and although the Central American side have been known to hold their own in past World Cups (in 2014, against all odds, they won the group consisting of themselves, Uruguay, Italy, and England) Spain should have enough in them to see this through.

Joseph Howes

Belgium vs Canada

Joe Blackburn: 3-2

Joseph Howes: 1-1

Jamie Rooke: 2-1

Jordan Hackett: 3-1

Dan Hepburn: 3-0

Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku are normally two of the biggest stars for Belgium, but neither has form or fitness on their side. Meanwhile Canada are in the midst of a golden generation, so everything may not be in this fixture. Belgium may well sneak through in this one but that doesn’t tell the full story.

Jamie Rooke

Switzerland vs Cameroon

Joe Blackburn: 1-0

Joseph Howes: 1-0

Jamie Rooke: 1-0

Jordan Hackett: 1-1

Dan Hepburn: 2-0

Switzerland began the 2022 international campaign in a sluggish manner as they failed to win any of their five first fixtures. A recent change in form, however, saw La Nati beat Portugal, Czech Republic and Spain. Alternatively, Cameroon have lacked any bite recently as they are without a win in five. Breel Embolo will be looking to fulfil Switzerland’s goalscoring void after scoring in two of their last three fixtures and could bag one in their first match of their World Cup campaign.

Dan Hepburn

Uruguay vs South Korea

Joe Blackburn: 2-0

Joseph Howes: 1-1

Jamie Rooke: 3-1

Jordan Hackett: 2-0

Dan Hepburn: 2-1

Possibly the underdogs of the competition, Uruguay have the perfect mix of youth and experience in the squad in Qatar. All eyes will be on Heung min Son. Despite his recent injury, he is highly likely to be included in the first matchday team but the reliance on him may be too much for him on the grandest stage of all. Uruguay’s ageing attack and inconsistencies in front of goal may limit their ability in their tournament but their firepower should be enough to see off South Korea. 2-1.

Dan Hepburn

Portugal vs Ghana

Joe Blackburn: 2-2

Joseph Howes: 4-0

Jamie Rooke: 2-1

Jordan Hackett: 3-1

Dan Hepburn: 1-1

Cristiano Ronaldo is living a whirlwind life at the moment and missed their most recent match where they put four past a sound Nigerian outfit. Even in his absence, Portugal were fluent in attack, with Bruno Fernandes grabbing two on the night. Ghana, however, have proved they will be more than just a match for Portugal. In a fierce opener for both sides, a draw with one a piece seems likely.

Dan Hepburn

Brazil vs Serbia

Joe Blackburn: 4-0

Joseph Howes: 3-1

Jamie Rooke: 2-1

Jordan Hackett: 2-0

Dan Hepburn: 2-1

Brazil come into this competition with an incredible run of form, having only one loss in the last few years. The star-studded Selecao take on Serbia in the first match of the tournament, with an attack including players such as Dusan Vlahovic and Alexander Mitrovic. Brazil should have more than enough to overcome the Europeans, with a 4-0 win on the cards.

Joe Blackburn

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