2022 World Cup preview, picks, predictions: Group F odds



The 2022 World Cup in Qatar will be different for many reasons. It’s the 22nd iteration of the tournament but the first one to ever be held in the American Winter. It’s also the first time the event will be hosted by a country that had never qualified for the competition before. It’s also taking place in the Middle East for the first time ever.

Even though the circumstances, look, and feel of the tournament may be different from previous versions, it’s still the usual suspects that are expected to contend for the Jules Rimet Trophy.

In all likelihood, the winner of the competition will be one of the following teams: Brazil, Argentina, France, Spain, England, Germany, Portugal, Belgium, or the Netherlands.

But don’t be surprised if one or two of those teams also completely flame out in the group stage. It happens every four years.

In Russia, it was Germany that finished at the bottom of their group. Four years earlier, it was absolute chaos as Spain, Croatia, Italy, England, and Portugal were all sent packing before the knockout rounds. Four years before that, Italy and France both finished at the bottom of their respective groups. 

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In other words, you can expect (and bet on) one of the blue bloods to crash and burn in Qatar.

World Cup Group F prediction: Belgium to finish bottom (+2000, bet365)

For the better part of a decade soccer fans have been hearing about Belgium’s Golden Generation. And for good reason.

A core featuring Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Romelu Lukaku, Thibault Courtois, Axel Witsel, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld was as good as any international team over the last three major tournaments ( Brazil 2014, Euro 2016, Russia 2018 and Euro 2020), but this group’s best days are now in the rear-view mirror.

De Bruyne is still a world-beater at 31 years of age, but he’s really the only player of that group still at the height of his powers, and every one of them is past 30 except Lukaku, who is 29.

During their prime years, Belgium was an offensive force and hired a manager that suited that ethos. Roberto Martinez prefers to play an aesthetically pleasing, romantic brand of soccer that allows his creative player’s freedom to put the ball on the rug and work their magic.

Eden Hazard
Eden Hazard
DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Unfortunately, that philosophy of footy leaves Belgium open to counter-attacks pretty regularly. And a few years ago, defensive players like Witsel, Vertonghen, and Alderweireld were able to snuff out those counters and keep things tidy, but they’re all way past their prime and vulnerable in transition.

That will be a major problem in a group that features the ageless Croatians, plus two fearless upstarts, Canada and Morocco. It’s a wide-open group that features three teams that could easily put an end to this Golden Generation once and for all.

There are several ways to try and fade Belgium in Qatar. You can go the straightforward route and bet them to not qualify from the group stage (+450), or you could go big-price hunting with a bet on Canada/Morocco Dual Forecast (meaning those two teams advance out of Group F) at +4000. The other option is to back Belgium to finish bottom of Group F, which is being offered at +2000.

It may seem unlikely that Belgium fall apart and get eliminated before the knockout rounds, but every four years, we see one of the favorites finish at the bottom of their group.

It could be Belgium’s turn this time around.


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