The 2022 World Cup finals are approaching and the teams are finalising their squads. Who are the main contenders for World Cup glory? Which World Cup underdogs could cause a surprise? Pinnacle's World Cup 2022 Power rankings takes a look at 10 of the top contenders heading to Qatar.
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The 2022 World Cup gets underway on Sunday, November 20 and it promises to be another thrilling tournament.
The squads are being finalised and the world’s best players are preparing to shine in Qatar. Who will come out on top, though? Will there be a first-time winner or will it be one of the old favourites?
We have taken a look at the top 10 contenders going into the tournament.
Star Player: Federico Valverde
It is 72 years since Uruguay last won the World Cup, but the South Americans look to have a good chance of going far in this year’s tournament.
Having made the quarter-finals four years ago, they now have a really impressive mix of youth and experience in their squad, with Federico Valverde their shining light.
The Real Madrid ace has already won two La Liga titles and a Champions League winners medal at the age of just 24 and the midfielder could be one of the stars of this World Cup.
Liverpool striker Darwin Núñez and Tottenham midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur are also making a name for themselves in Europe, while Uruguay still have bags of experience with the likes Luis Suárez, Edinson Cavani, and Diego Godin.
Star Player: Kasper Dolberg
The first of the European nations in these Power Rankings, Denmark are looking to build on their semi-final appearance in last year’s European Championships.
A number of their squad have experience playing in some of Europe’s top leagues and the Danes lost just one of their 10 games in European qualification.
With Christian Eriksen back playing at the highest level and creating magic in the middle of the park, the likes of Sevilla’s Kasper Dolberg and Espanyol’s Martin Braithwaite should get plenty of chances in front of goal.
Star Player: Leroy Sané
The four-time winners head to Qatar without many pundits tipping them to go all the way, but ignore them at your peril.
A quick glimpse at their squad highlights the quality they still have, although the loss of injured striker Timo Werner is a big blow to coach Hansi Flick.
With the likes of Bayern Munich duo Leroy Sané and Serge Gnabry, Germany have the pace to cause any team problems.
They also have World Cup winners Thomas Müller and Manuel Neuer to offer the experience and knowledge of what is needed to lift the trophy.
Star Player: Kylian Mbappé
The defending champions have been hit hard by injury problems heading to Qatar and that could have a major impact on their hopes of lifting the trophy again.
Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté ran the team from the midfield four years ago and both players will be missing this time around.
That puts extra pressure on Kylian Mbappé and Karim Benzema to deliver goals, while Eduardo Camavinga is one to watch in Qatar. At the age of 20 though, it is a lot to ask for him to replace the missing stars.
Star Player: Harry Kane
England have enjoyed consistent major championship form under Gareth Southgate, having reached the semi-finals four years ago and then the final of the Euros.
But there are question marks hanging over the coach and players heading to Qatar, after a poor run of recent results.
They still have a big pool of top-quality players and a good mix of youth and experience, including skipper Harry Kane, Borussia Dortmund star Jude Bellingham and Manchester City’s Phil Foden.
Star Player: Pedri
Luis Enrique has a similar midfield in terms of quality to the Spanish teams that dominated tournaments between 2008 and 2021, with young Barcelona pair Pedri and Gavi looking like stars of the future.
The likes of Sergio Busquets and Rodri offer the youngsters protection, but it’s in attack where concerns surround the Spanish squad.
Veteran striker Álvaro Morata still looks like the first-choice frontman, with none of the other options having reached double-figures in international football appearances.
Star Player: Kevin De Bruyne
Four years ago, many believed Belgium’s golden generation were at their peak and ready to end their long wait for a trophy.
But they fell just short, eventually finishing third, and getting any further this time around might be a step too far for the ageing squad, although they still have plenty of quality at their disposal.
In Thibaut Courtois, Belgium have arguably the best goalkeeper in world football, while the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, and Yannick Carrasco offer quality going forward.
Although they should comfortably progress through Group F, defensively the Belgians look a little vulnerable and that could be exposed later in the tournament.
Star Player: Lionel Messi
He may be 35, but Lionel Messi has proved this season that he is still capable of having an impact in the big games and he will be desperate to secure his first World Cup winner’s medal.
In the past, there has been an argument for Argentina relying too heavily on the Paris Saint-Germain star, but they have plenty of attacking talent to complement Messi this time.
Lautaro Martínez, Julián Álvarez, Paulo Dybala, and Joaquin Correa have all impressed on the biggest stage domestically, whilst their midfield options also look strong.
Defensive strength will be a worry for those looking to bet on Argentina, but if their forward players make the impact many think they will, they might not have much defending to do.
Star Player: Memphis Depay
The Netherlands head to Qatar unbeaten in their last 15 competitive matches and are clearly in a confident mood as they seek their first World Cup success.
Having finished third in 2014, it was a big shock when the Netherlands failed to qualify for Euro 2016 and then the 2018 World Cup, but they have bounced back since that disappointment.
They qualified from a group that also included Turkey and Norway, while Louis van Gaal has also seen his side beat the likes of Belgium, Denmark, and Poland this year.
Memphis Depay is currently joint-second in his country’s leading scorer standings and is just nine goals away from taking the top spot.
Star Player: Neymar
The FIFA world rankings have Brazil as the top team heading into the tournament and it’s easy to see why when you look at the strength of the players they have in their squad.
Tite’s men finished top of the South American qualifying table and didn’t lose any of their 17 qualifying matches – winning 14 and drawing three.
English-based duo Alisson and Ederson are likely to battle it out to see who starts in goal, with the likes of Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Alex Tellas, and Roger Ibañez amongst the defensive options.
Premier League quintet Fabinho, Bruno Guimarães, Casemiro, Lucas Paquetá, and Fred could feature in midfield, but as ever, it is in attack that they pose a real threat.
Neymar is likely to lead the frontline, but Richarlison, Raphinha, and Vinícius Júnior could also play key roles in Qatar.
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