All Eyes on CR7
The 2022 World Cup will be Cristiano Ronaldo’s last tournament with Portugal. As if that wasn’t enough to attract all the attention, besides being one of the best strikers in the world, he recently gave an interview in which he called Manchester United, his current club, a joke. In other words, the best thing that could happen to him is to win the WC and retire immediately.
Not so fast, though. First, the Navigators have to make it out of Group H, in which they’ll face South Korea, Ghana and Uruguay, three rather tough tests.\
The last time Portugal faced three tough tests in the Group Stage of a WC was in the 2014 edition, and they couldn’t advance to the Round of 16. However, several things have changed since then, including that they don’t fully depend on Ronaldo. In terms of individual talent, Portugal is one of the best teams in Qatar 2022. They just need to improve chemistry as a unit.
As if that wasn’t enough, we’re talking about pretty much the same team that won the 2016 Euros, including head coach Fernando Santos. In other words, we’re talking about a squad that has suffered, enjoyed and grown together.
The Navigators, which will make their debut on Nov. 24 against Ghana, are offering a -165 price in the sportsbook to win the group.
Son Heung-min, who plays for Tottenham in the English Premier League, will be leading the way for the Tigers of Asia. Overall, we’re talking about a very disciplined team. They are also a very strong squad in terms of physical condition.
South Korea won Group H of the AFC qualifiers thanks to a 5-1-0 record, 22 goals for and only one against. Later, in the third and final round, they finished second in Group A, two points behind Iran, thanks to a 7-2-1 record, 13 goals for and three against.
This will be the 11th WC for the Tigers of Asia, who are offering a +950 price to win the group. They haven’t missed an edition since 1986, but they’ve advanced to the Round of 16 only twice. Will this be the third?
In 2010, Ghana became only the third African team to reach the WC quarterfinals. However, after missing the 2018 edition, this will be only their fourth WC. Yes, they lack experience, but we’re talking about a team with a strong, winning mentality. Let’s not forget that they eliminated Nigeria in the third and final round of the CAF qualifiers.
Besides Andre Ayew and Jordan Ayew, who are considered the best players on the team, make sure to keep an eye on Mohammed Kudus and Inaki Williams. The two young attacking players that have taken Europe by storm – Kudus with Ajax and Williams with Athletic Club.
Even so, as expected, the soccer lines aren’t on the Black Stars’ side. They’re offering a +1500 to finish atop the standings.
If you were looking for an underdog to include in your soccer picks Federico Valverde to win the Golden Ball is a great option. The 24-year-old midfielder is having an incredible season with Real Madrid. Plus, he can play every single position except for the goalkeeper.
Besides Valverde, Uruguay’s roster includes Darwin Nunez, Luis Suarez, Edinson Cavani and Diego Godin. If you ask me, that’s a really nice mixture between young, promising stars and veterans who’ll be playing in their last WC, making it even more special.
Los Charruas, who finished third in the CONMEBOL qualifiers, are offering a +200 price to win the group. Finally, let’s not forget that Uruguay already won the title twice. Also, they finished fourth in 2010 and fifth in 2018.
Ronaldo and Portugal must go all-in right from the start. It’s now or never for this talented generation. We often talk about the Navigators’ attacking unit, but let’s not forget that the defense is equally talented thanks to players such as Ruben Dias, Joao Cancelo and Antonio Silva. In other words, they should have no trouble fulfilling their role as betting online favorites.
Second place will be much disputed, but again, Uruguay has a very good mix between young and experienced players. Plus, Los Charruas are well known for not giving up easily.
The odds and predictions in the article are based on the time of writing and publication. They may differ as to when the actual event takes place.