The 2022 World Cup started with a few surprises. Saudi Arabia beat Argentina in one of the biggest upsets in tournament history. Teams such as Belgium and Germany failed to reach the knockout stages.
But there weren’t many surprises among the remaining teams in the tournament. Of the eight teams still in contention for the World Cup, seven are in the top 12 of FIFA’s rankings. Only Morocco, ranked 22nd, is not in the top 20. Morocco is one of the best performing teams in this tournament.
The remaining six teams can realistically claim they have a good chance of winning the World Cup, with another Croatian team reaching the final in 2018. Here’s how we look at the teams making it to the final three rounds of the tournament.
8. Morocco (BetMGM odds +4000)
Finishing Morocco in eighth place is no small feat – a sign of the depth of this quarter-final field. Morocco has international stars like Hakim Ziyech and Achraf Hakimi and has conceded just one goal in four games. Its victory in Group F was no fluke and Morocco deservedly became the first African team to reach the quarter-finals of the World Cup since Ghana in 2010.
7. Croatia (+4000)
The core players who powered Croatia’s run to the World Cup final in 2018 are also part of the team’s 2022 tournament run. Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic have been brilliant in midfield and Ivan Perisic has been one of the best wingers in the past two World Cups. While another run to the final seems unlikely, the Croatian will not go out comfortably against Brazil on Friday.
6. Netherlands (+1400)
The Dutch scored twice in the first half to beat the US in the round of 16. Holland’s Denzel Dumfries is one of the best attacking full-backs in the world, while Cody Gackpo will soon be playing in one of Europe’s biggest leagues after scoring three goals in the group stage ball. Barcelona striker Memphis Depay is also getting fitter.
5. Portugal (+600)
Portugal had a solid performance against Switzerland with Ronaldo on the bench. This is a talented Portuguese team that doesn’t need an aging star striker and, in fact, could be a lot more dangerous without him on the pitch. After all, 23-year-old winger Rafael Leao has no place in the starting XI. After scoring seven goals and providing nine assists in 20 appearances for AC Milan this year, he has been coming off the bench.
4. Argentina (+600)
Argentina recovered from their World Cup opening defeat to Saudi Arabia to claim a third straight win. Lionel Messi remains a key part of Argentina’s attack as Julian Alvarez dominates up front, while Lautaro Martinez and Angel Di Maria remain on the bench starter. While Argentina’s winning streak has been cut from 35 games to 3, this team is still capable of beating any team in the tournament as long as Messi is on the pitch.
3. England (+600)
England gave up a three-man centre-back and it paid off in the form of nine goals against Iran and Senegal. The defence, too, was not affected as Jude Bellingham had been the engine of the midfield and Declan Rice held down the defense in front of the backline. Harry Kane’s sides also have a lot of interchangeability. Saturday’s game between England and France could be a Championship game.
2. France (+400)
Is this a better team with Olivier Giroud in the squad than Karim Benzema? It may sound like a fantasy, but this injury-ridden French team is still very, very good. Kylian Mbappe has been the attacker of the tournament, while Antoine Griezmann has moved seamlessly into the role of attacking midfielder ahead of the duo of Adrien Rabiot and Aurelien Tchouameni, who have excelled in Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante’s place.
1. Brazil (+175)
Brazil have shown nothing to dissuade people from believing they are favorites to win the World Cup. Its only loss came against Cameroon, when Brazil were a full second-tier starter of 11. Brazil scored four goals in the first half against South Korea, while Brazil’s starting lineup conceded just one goal in three games.