It is nearly the time that only occurs once every four years—the biggest event in the soccer calendar, the FIFA World Cup Finals. Americans might call it soccer, but to the rest of the English-speaking world, the game with the round ball and twenty-two players is football. The F in FIFA is for football. For the purposes of this article, when we talk about football, we are talking about soccer. The best teams in the world have played their way through to the final thirty-two, and the action will kick off on November 20th when the hosts Qatar face off against Ecuador.

Group A

The decision to host the tournament in Qatar was not without controversy – Qatar is not known as a footballing nation, but there is also the issue of the relentless heat. Summer temperatures, sometimes over 41 degrees centigrade, meant that the tournament had to be rescheduled. The host nation usually gets a home advantage that sees them get out of their group, but Qatar is unlikely to do so. As well as Ecuador, they must contend with Netherlands and Senegal in the battle for Group A. Unfortunately, there aren’t many World Cup betting sites that favor Qatar over these better-known national sides.

Group B

The competition in Group B is going to be intense. Euro runners-up England will be hoping to repeat their 1996 claim on the World Cup and are the bookies’ third-placed favorites. While the USA may not have the same footballing credentials, England has failed to beat them in two previous world cup meetings. England’s closest neighbors, the plucky Welsh Dragons, have made it through this far for the first time in 64 years. The possible exclusion of Iran from this group adds some political frisson too.

Group C

Argentina has previously hoisted the trophy and were the winner of last year’s Copa America. Their chances look good. The question is whether Mexico or Poland will join them in the playoffs. No one fancies Saudi Arabia’s chances.

Group D

Current World Champions and second favorites to win in 2022, France are expected to romp out of Group D. This could be one of the hardest groups to call. All the teams are strong contenders in their own way, but it is Denmark who have the edge over the other two teams, Tunisia and Australia.

Group E

Another group that will deliver a clash of the Titans as there are two former World Champion teams here. Germany and Spain are the top-tipped teams, although Spain has performed dismally in the last two world tournaments. Japan and Costa Rica will be rocking the boat if they advance further.

 Group F

This group initially appears more open, with Belgium, Morocco, Canada, and Croatia all in contention.  The Belgians qualified after an unbeaten run, but their back row could be their Achilles heel. Morocco, meanwhile, have a side who are formidable in attack mode. Croatia must be hotly tipped, having narrowly missed out in the final in 2018. One thing is for sure, Canada are the outsiders here.

Group G

No one is going to bet against Brazil in these early stages, so they are expected to go through. The question is, who will join them? Switzerland, Cameroon, or Serbia? All of these teams have their issues, so it could be anyone’s game – it will depend entirely on their ability to pull together as the best team.

Group H

A group with Portugal and Uruguay should be the easy one to call. However, there are doubts about the European team after they finished behind Serbia in the qualifying stages of the competition. South Korea had an easy passage through and are trained by Portugal’s former coach, Paulo Bento. Ghana are not highly rated and topped their group after a very questionable penalty in their game against South Africa. However, their new coach, Otto Addo, has brought new resolve to this sub-Saharan team.