Top teams to watch at the 2022 World Cup

World Cup
MOSCOW, RUSSIA – JULY 15: Raphael Varane of France celebrates with the World Cup trophy following the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final between France and Croatia at Luzhniki Stadium on July 15, 2018 in Moscow, Russia. (Photo by Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

With all 32 participants at the 2022 World Cup now finalised, we can now begin everyone’s favourite debate – who’s going to win the whole thing?

Will England finally bring football home? Will France become the first team to win back-to-back World Cups since Brazil in 1962? Who will be this year’s dark horses to keep an eye out for in the office sweepstakes?

Here are all 32 teams heading to Qatar – ranked on their chances of going all the way.

32. Saudi Arabia

Strength: Iconic kit colours
Weakness: They can’t just import Newcastle’s team to use like it’s an online FM save
Thanks for popping in, Saudi Arabia.

31. Qatar

Strength: They’re the hosts
Weakness: They’re Qatar

‘Let’s give it up for Qatar in their debut World Cup performance!’

30. Australia

Strength: They tend to do well at sporting world championships
Weakness: This isn’t one of those sports

Looks like it’s going to be a bad day, mate!!!

Is this mic on?

29. Costa Rica

Strength: Coolest country name
Weakness: Apparently Bryan Ruiz is still knocking around? What’s that all about?

I’m not saying Costa Rica’s team isn’t as good as that which so nearly reached the semi-finals in 2014, but three of the members from their most recent squad don’t have Wikipedia pages.

28. Tunisia

Strength: Prolific World Cup participants
Weakness: Prolific World Cup group stage fodder

Tunisia have won just two of their 15 World Cup games as an independent nation. Godspeed to the Eagles of Carthage.

27. Iran

Strength: Roly poly throw-ins
Weakness: Arsene Wenger’s bloodthirsty desire eliminate throw-ins

Here’s hoping Iran are remembered more for their football at this World Cup considering they were actually quite good at the last one.

Cameroon celebrates being crowned Champions during the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations Finals, Afcon Final match between Egypt and Cameroon at the Libreville in Gabon on 05 February 2017 ©Sydney Mahlangu/BackpagePix

26. Cameroon

Strength: Rigobert Song will be in the dugout
Weakness: Infamous Tottenham duo Georges-Kevin Nkoudou and Clinton N’Jie will be on the pitch

Reckon Samuel Eto’o fancies coming out of retirement for a few weeks?

25. Morocco

Strength: Adel Taarabt’s legacy
Weakness: Hakim Ziyech’s feud with head coach Vahid Halilhodzic

Does everyone have their Queens Park Rangers 2010/11 season reviews ready to watch? Morocco are going to need some good ol’ fashioned ‘streets won’t forget’-ball to stand a chance.

24. USA

Strength: None
Weakness: Many

The United States should probably treat this tournament as a prelude to the World Cup on home soil in 2026. Doesn’t mean they should try and tank for a better draft pick here, mind.

23. Canada

Strength: Like USA, but nicer
Weakness: Paul Stalteri is retired

Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David have some heavy lifting to do, but Canada are worthy of their spot at their first World Cup since 1986.

22. Ghana

Strength: They’ll have revenge on their mind
Weakness: Won just one of 10 games in 2022 so good luck with that

Ghana vs Uruguay is on December 2. Book that day off for all the content.

21. Ecuador

Strength: Emerged from a decent CONMEBOL qualifying group
Weakness: They’re still relying on Enner Valencia

If you’re looking for a dark horse, then Ecuador could be the team for you – they gave Brazil and Argentina a rough ride in qualifying.

20. Wales

Strength: The best anthem at the tournament
Weakness: This isn’t Eurovision

Wales qualify for their first World Cup in generations and obviously they have to play their closest neighbours.

19. South Korea

Strength: Son Heung-min
Weakness: Criticisms from Son Heung-min’s father

Everyone desperately need to see Son Woong-jung as a pundit for this tournament.

18. Poland

Strength: Robert Lewandowski scores lots of goals
Weakness: Poland concede lots of goals

To paraphrase the great Michael Owen, if Poland don’t score goals then they probably won’t win.

17. Japan

Strength: The undivided loyalty of everyone associated with Celtic
Weakness: The undivided hatred of everyone associated with Rangers

Kyogo Furuhashi, don’t blow your chance to become a World Cup cult icon.

16. Switzerland

Strength: Their flag is a big plus!!!
Weakness: You’re not getting a weakness until you laugh at my joke

Switzerland are ranked 16th because they’re the most round-of-16 team ever.

15. Mexico

Strength: Arjen Robben isn’t knocking around anymore
Weakness: They’re still destined for a last-16 exit

Mexico are just the North American Switzerland with seven successive last-16 eliminations to their name.

14. Serbia

Strength: Mitro’s on fire
Weakness: Football’s played on land

[To the tune of Gala’s ‘Freed from Desire’]

Na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na na- you get the idea with that.

13. Uruguay

Strength: Luis Suarez might scare the daylights out of Ghana
Weakness: He’s 35

Uruguay have won six and drawn one of their seven games so far this year. No need to check who they were playing, I can assure you they were the very best opponents out there.

12. Senegal

Strength: Champions of Africa
Weakness: Lasers won’t save them this time

Do you think Mohamed Salah will be at home cheering on Sadio Mane to lead Senegal to World Cup glory? Me neither.

11. Croatia

Strength: Not many other sides can boast a Ballon d’Or winner
Weakness: Get over it lads that was four years ago

Croatia head into the tournament as the reigning runners-up. Is that an expression? Can we make it one?

10. Denmark

Strength: Actually very good
Weakness: They’ve lost their ‘dark horse’ status after actually becoming very good

If you ask me – someone who covers Brentford, who have plenty of Danish players – Denmark don’t have enough representatives from Brentford in their team. It will ultimately be their downfall.

9. Netherlands

Strength: This is Louis van Gaal’s Oranje army
Weakness: This is Louis van Gaal’s Oranje army

Do you really trust a team with Wout Weghorst and Vincent Janssen in their squad to score goals?

8. Belgium

Strength: A core featuring Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, Axel Witsel and Eden Hazard
Weakness: Father time

Belgium are still clinging onto their ‘golden generation’ the way a mid-table Premier League footballer clings onto their last locks of hair before getting a transplant.

7. Portugal

Strength: You always have a chance with Cristiano Ronaldo in your team
Weakness: That worked so well for Manchester United

Any danger of using all of your amazing attacking options to play at the very least not terrible attacking football, Fernando Santos?

6. Spain

Strength: An immense number of technically gifted players
Weakness: Everyone bar Ansu Fati and Ferran Torres has 60 pace on FIFA

Ok, now we’re down to the serious contenders.

Luis Enrique has largely succeeded in making Spain a half-decent team to watch again. Will that translate to tangible success?

5. Germany

Strength: They’re literally Germany
Weakness: They were rubbish at their last two tournaments

Hansi Flick’s Germany look rather formidable and are decent bets to make a deep run at the World Cup again. Their lack of a centre-forward top could hinder them – it might be worth giving Miroslav Klose a bell.

4. England

Strength: This is an England-based site and I can place England however high I want
Weakness: The Welsh and Irish editors

England were probably going to rank in the top three until they lost 4-0 at home to *checks notes* Hungary.

The Three Lions have a great track record at recent tournaments and that should serve them well, but there remain question marks over the ability to kill important games against teams on their level.

3. Brazil

Strength: It’s in Brazil’s DNA to win this competition
Weakness: The possibility of Neymar attending a birthday party during the knockout stages

Richarlison is a good player but it is funny that the most decorated team in international football start an Everton player up front.

But anyway, the Selecao have one of the strongest cores possible and that should help free their attackers to do their thing.

2. France

Strength: Reigning champions
Weakness: The reigning champions’ curse

Italy won in 2006, out in the groups in 2010. Spain won in 2010, out in the groups in 2014. Germany won in 2014, out in the groups in 2018. Your move, France.

Didier Deschamps’ men have stumbled recently, but Kylian Mbappe’s ability to turn a match on its head instantly will be their get-out-of-jail-free card.

1. Argentina

Strength: Their captain is the third-greatest player of all time (listen, I didn’t make that list, take it up with Jack Gallagher)
Weakness: Do the pre-tournament favourites ever usually win?

Argentina have looked formidable in the last couple of years, and Lionel Messi will have his eyes firmly set on finally leading his country to World Cup glory. This is probably the most balanced Albiceleste team he’s played on.