The FIFA World Cup in Qatar will get underway on the 20th of November, with 32 nations from six different continents showcasing their quality to a worldwide audience.
The biggest footballing nations will be bidding to be champions of the World come the 18th of December, while lesser nations will harvest smaller ambitions of making it out of the groups or a surprise run to the quarter-finals.
Some nations may even be simply aiming to score their first-ever World Cup goal or record their first-ever win at the peak stage of international football.
The key favorites heading into the tournament will certainly be Brazil, England, and France.
Brazil is the record winner of the tournament but has not lifted the trophy since 2002 and will be desperate to extend their lead. In betting odds, Brazil is offered by a majority of bookmakers like the ones outlined in the ultimate guide to online bookmakers in Canada as the out-and-out favorites.
Neymar Jr’s legacy hinges on his nation’s potential success at the tournament, the playmaker has enjoyed a stellar career but now has to prove he can carry his nation to World Cup glory like greats of the past, such as Ronaldinho Gaucho similarly did.
Neymar has a solid supporting cast with Alisson Becker in goal, who is perhaps the world’s best goalkeeper right now as well as Thiago Silva and Marquinhos rounding off an impressive defence.
New Arsenal recruit Gabriel Jesus is in stunning form for his new club and will surely provide support in the attack for the Paris Saint Germain star.
Lionel Messi. pic.twitter.com/StMMG9D1bM
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England remains one of the pre-tournament favorites however their form has been incredibly disappointing recently, having been relegated from their UEFA Nations League group.
Harry Kane is in excellent form and is one of the best strikers in the world, so he will have to spend his time off and on the pitch as the captain.
England has a solid team overall and is a huge shout to be tournament winners if they can turn their poor form around.
France is one of the favorites simply due to being World Cup holders; they are currently facing an injury crisis and do not look like the unstoppable force of four years prior and would present a slight surprise if they were to lift the trophy again in Qatar.
There are a number of nations that could be potential dark horses at this year’s event, however often a nation that no one expects to make an impact tends to make waves at the World Cup.
African Cup of Nations winners Senegal could certainly make a surprise run to the latter stages led by Sadio Mane, who finished second place in the Ballon d’Or.
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Canada could also be set to surprise as they enter their first competition in almost 40 years. They have a relatively young squad, and emerging out of the group stages would be a hugely impressive feat for the Concacaf nation.