Football Features

World Cup 2022 power rankings: who’s the best team going to Qatar?

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 13:06, 16 June 2022 | Updated: 21:00, 20 June 2022

Finally we have assembled our cast of 32 teams for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

After a delay of a few months, the final three spots were decided and everyone is ready to go. We’ve got title winners, big favourites, dark horses and more. But with just one more international window left before November’s big showpiece, how do the teams stack up?

We’ve decided to look at each of the teams and rank them, not in terms of their reputation or even how well they’re going to do at the tournament. This is more a ranking of where they stand right now, with the form they have shown over this recent international break, with special weighting given to how they did in qualification for tiebreaker purposes.



32. Australia

Confederation: AFC
World Cup outright odds: 150/1

Australia might have sealed qualification in the most ridiculous and dramatic way imaginable thanks to Andrew Redmayne their dancing sub goalie. But the fact that they were even in a play-off and that it went to penalty should illustrate how weak they are, failing to beat any of the three teams that did qualify directly.

31. Ghana 

Confederation: CAF
World Cup outright odds: 250/1

Ghana are a legendary nation back at the World Cup after missing 2018. However their form in 2022 has been nothing short of miserable. They’ve won just once all year, against Madagascar, and have otherwise drawn five times and lost four. They’ve recently convinced some players with Ghanaian ancestry to play for them and on the evidence of their current form they’re going to need all the help they can get.

30. Saudi Arabia

Confederation: AFC
World Cup outright odds: 500/1

Saudi Arabia really played well in qualification, finishing above Japan. However their form over the last nine games has been quite poor and their awful showing at the 2021 Arab Cup does not bode well for their success in Qatar.

29. Morocco

Confederation: CAF
World Cup outright odds: 250/1 

Morocco are a side in decent form, having lost just two of their games in 2022. However the problem is that those two defeats were against the only good teams they’ve faced (Egypt and the USA) so even with the likes of Achraf Hakimi, Amine Harit and Youssef En-Nesyri you can never be sure what you’re going to get.

28. Wales

Confederation: UEFA
World Cup outright odds: 80/1

Everyone loves Wales, even so that they eliminated Ukraine from contention to play in the World Cup. And the thing is on their day, they’re a genuinely formidable force. However those days all take place in Cardiff with the full voice of the Welsh people behind them. Away from home, as they will be in Qatar, they are a spirited but limited side.

27. Iran

Confederation: AFC
World Cup outright odds: 500/1

With Mehdi Taremi and Alireza Jahanbakhsh leading the line (both men scored four goals each during World Cup qualification), Iran could be an exciting prospect out in Qatar. They won all but two of their qualification matches, but losses to South Korean and Algeria cast doubts.

26. Ecuador

Confederation: CONMEBOL
World Cup outright odds: 150/1

Ecuador clinched automatic qualification by limping over the line. They won none of their last four qualifiers, drawing three of them. And although Pervis Estupinan is a delight to watch and Enner Valencia the top goalscorer in the country’s history, they could be short on quality without their epic home advantage.

25. Japan

Confederation: AFC
World Cup outright odds: 200/1

Japan are World Cup veterans at this point, with 2022 set to be their seventh straight tournament appearance. However as good as they have been lately, their squad is lacking in true top quality players and that should become apparent in Qatar.

24. Costa Rica

Confederation: CONCACAF
World Cup outright odds: 750/1

Costa Rica were the last team to qualify for the World Cup, beating New Zealand 1-0 in their play-off. While that doesn’t sound too impressive, they’ve actually been in good form across 2022 and have proven World Cup and Champions League veterans like Keylor Navas to call upon, which should allow them to “level up” for the tournament proper.

23. Switzerland

Confederation: UEFA
World Cup outright odds: 80/1

Despite packing a talented squad, Switzerland are not a good side right now. Their form through 2022 has been so poor and they’ve shown little of the magic that saw them knock France out of Euro 2020, but their squad is brimming with talent.

22. South Korea

Confederation: AFC
World Cup outright odds: 200/1 

South Korea were sublime in qualifcation, winning nine and drawing two to secure their spot at the World Cup. After that they chilled out and lost to UAE, then a friendly to Brazil, but those are their only two reverses in the last two years. With the likes of Hwang Hee-chan and the world-class Son Heung-min linking up in attack, Korea could shock some people.

21. Qatar

Confederation: AFC
World Cup outright odds: 500/1

Given they qualified automatically, Qatar have had a strange run of games lately. They were losing semi-finalists in 2021’s CONCACAF Gold Cup and finished third in the Arab Cup at the tail end of last year. They’re a decent side and with the home advantage all hosts tend to get, they could acquit themselves nicely.

20. Cameroon

Confederation: CAF
World Cup outright odds: 200/1

Cameroon were the most fun side to watch at the Africa Cup of Nations, where they finished third. And their impressive 1-2 away win in Algeria clinched their participation at their eighth World Cup. With Rigobert Song as manager and a squad with goalscoring talent in it, don’t rule Cameroon out from making a splash in Qatar.

19. Poland

Confederation: UEFA
World Cup outright odds: 100/1 

Poland are not a great side and their current form is inconsistent at best. However when you have the deadliest goalscorer in the world as your starting striker, you will always be taken seriously. If Poland can stay organised and furnish Robert Lewandowski with enough chances, he could fire them into the later stages.

18. Tunisia

Confederation: CAF
World Cup outright odds: 200/1 

Tunisia had a mixed Cup of Nations, being eliminated in the quarter-finals just a month after losing the 2021 Arab Cup final. However their form since March of this year has been positive with big wins over Chile and Japan to win the 2022 edition of Kirin Cup Soccer.

17. USA

Confederation: CONCACAF
World Cup outright odds: 100/1

While the USMNT are nowhere near as dominant as the USWNT, they are steadily improving as a side under Gregg Berhalter. Their squad is young and they will perhaps be building more for 2026 where they will be one of the hosts, but they could make some waves here.

16. Serbia

Confederation: UEFA
World Cup outright odds: 100/1 

Serbia topped their World Cup qualification group ahead of Portugal, with Aleksandar Mitrovic proving that he can handle international football just as well as the Championship. They’ve had a few slips since then, but with Dusan Tadic, Filip Kostic and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic in midfield loading the bullets for Mitrovic, they could get something done.


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15. Canada

Confederation: CONCACAF
World Cup outright odds: 400/1

Canada topped their World Cup qualification group thanks to a great run at the end of 2021 and start of 2022, but their recent form has been far less consistent. Still, they are an organised side and with Alphonso Davies and Jonathan David will have two quality players as they head for just their second-ever appearance at a World Cup finals.

14. Mexico

Confederation: CONCACAF
World Cup outright odds: 100/1 

After some dodgy results in 2021, Mexico have had a much more effective 2022. One expects them to do what they usually do at the World Cup and make the Round of 16 and then lose (as they have done the last seven straight tournaments), but with Tata Martino in charge they could go further. The Argentine coach guided Paraguay to the quarter-finals of the 2010 World Cup and could do similar with El Tri, which would equal their best-ever showings from 1970 and 1986 when they were hosts.

13. France

Confederation: UEFA
World Cup outright odds: 5/1

Yes, the defending World Cup champions are as low down as 13th. That obviously seems harsh, but if you watched Les Bleus during the most recent international break you would understand.

France as a side look completely broken, unable to match neither the offensive potency nor defence solidity they showed when they won the 2018 World Cup. Without Raphael Varane anchoring defence they can’t hold leads and with Paul Pogba injured and Antoine Griezmann out of form they struggle to create chances for their all-star forward line of Kylian Mbappé and Karim Benzema.

They will probably recover and do better in time for the World Cup, but as things stand right now there is no way France are among the 10 best sides going to Qatar. They didn’t win a single game and are already eliminated from the Nations League.

12. Croatia

Confederation: UEFA
World Cup outright odds: 50/1

2018’s World Cup finalists are currently doing quite well for themselves, barring a bizarre 0-3 defeat to Austria. That was their only loss since they Euro 2020, and their performances in the games against France in particular have been impressive, including their first win over Les Bleus. Even the ageless Luka Modric must know this will be his last World Cup, could he go out with the biggest of bangs?

11. Denmark

Confederation: UEFA
World Cup outright odds: 33/1

Denmark were one of the great feelgood stories of Euro 2020 for the way they rallied around and then played for the stricken Christian Eriksen. Now a year later, Eriksen has recovered and is part of the team again, and what a team! Denmark are capable of solid defensive displays and can also find explosive match-winning turns from unlikely places, like when Tabzonspor’s Andreas Cornelius buried France with two sublime goals. A dark horse for the World Cup, for sure.

10. England

Confederation: UEFA
World Cup outright odds: 11/2

No, England should not sack Gareth Southgate. Stop being silly. However it’s clear their recent form has been absolutely miserable which is why they’re down in 10th despite having reached the World Cup semi-finals and the Euro final. England have the squad to do much, much better than they are whether playing defensive sufferball or even embracing all the great attacking talent at their disposal. So things will get better, but for now they’re quite bad.

9. Belgium

Confederation: UEFA
World Cup outright odds: 12/1

You have to feel for Roberto Martinez and Belgium’s Golden Generation. They were comfortably the best team in the world for a good few years playing vibrant, inventive football.

But at the World Cup they ran into a brick wall called Varane & Umtiti and then the delay to Euro 2020 meant that the defence that had been so good in 2018 was all washed up in 2021, meaning that Belgium fell victim to defensive calamity.

The outrageous form of Thibaut Courtois should see them with at least half a chance at Qatar providing Romelu Lukaku leaves Chelsea and rediscovers his goalscoring touch, but the goalkeeper didn’t play in this recent round of internationals and they missed him.

8. Germany

Confederation: UEFA
World Cup outright odds: 11/1

Germany were consistently one of the top three teams in the world right up to the point when Miroslav Klose called it a day. Without the elegant striker leading the line things just kind of stagnated for Germany. Hansi Flick is guiding them back onto the right path but they’re not back at the top of the mountain yet. Four straight draws, three in the Nations League, confirm that. With the way Flick is rebuilding they might do something in Qatar but they almost certainly will be a threat to win Euro 2024.

Tip: Germany to win Group E @ 11/10 with Paddy Power

7. Portugal

Confederation: UEFA
World Cup outright odds: 12/1

In classic Portuguese fashion they qualified for the World Cup the hard way, finishing second in their group and then just about squeaking by Italian conquerors North Macedonia in the play-offs. Portugal are a good side with good players capable of playing great football. They don’t always reach those heights thanks to Fernando Santos but the potential is there and if Ronaldo hits goalscoring form… that’s trouble.

Tip: A first time World Cup winner @ 4/11 with Paddy Power

6. Senegal

Confederation: CAF
World Cup outright odds: 80/1

No African team has ever made it beyond the quarter-finals of a World Cup (Senegal reached the last eight in 2002) but if any side had the power, organisation and intelligence to make that bold leap, it’s Senegal.

Unlike many (any?) other African team, Senegal are not really fun to watch but are devastatingly good at defending. Led by Kalidou Koulibaly and an array of hard-working midfielders, they can shut down opponents so well that you’d back them to frustrate and defeat all but a couple of sides.

If they avoid the truly elite in the early knockout rounds don’t be surprise if they, 20 years on from their first-ever World Cup appearance and having won the Cup of Nations earlier this year, make some history for African football.

Tip: Senegal to qualify from Group A @ 4/5 with Paddy Power

5. Uruguay

Confederation: CONMEBOL
World Cup outright odds: 50/1

You can’t talk about defensive powerhouses without mentioning Uruguay. After a hideous run of four straight defeats to close out 2021, Uruguay rebounded with a massive six wins out of seven in 2022. In Ronald Araujo and Darwin Nunez they have two genuinely world-class superstars in the making, ready-made replacements for Diego Godin and Luis Suárez. They are ferocious warriors, canny operators and above all else just really damn good.

Tip: Uruguay to reach quarter-finals @ 23/10 with Paddy Power

4. Netherlands

Confederation: UEFA
World Cup outright odds: 12/1

With Louis van Gaal at the helm again, we know the Dutch will play organised, tactically coherent football. We also know that they will be incredibly motivated to win it for their coach who is retiring for health reasons after the tournament.

The Dutch squad is a mix of guys who are good but not great being elevated by Van Gaal’s system (chief among them Memphis Depay and Daley Blind who really take their game to new heights in the orange kit) and two world-class superstars in Virgil van Dijk and Frenkie de Jong.

This is almost a dream blend and Van Gaal’s only concern will be how effective his goalscorers will be come tournament time. The Dutch breezed through qualification and have won four out of six games so far this year, including a 1-4 hammering of Belgium.

Tip: Netherlands to reach final @ 5/1 with Paddy Power

3. Spain

Confederation: UEFA
World Cup outright odds: 8/1

Spain should have won Euro 2020 but they just couldn’t finish their chances. Spain should have won the 2021 Nations League but just couldn’t finish their chances. Now what happens at the World Cup? Luis Enrique will be hoping it’s third-time-lucky for him.

Spain dominated qualification and what’s more they have repeatedly shown an ability to rebound from set-backs. They started the Nations League run with two draws because defensive errors, so they tightened up at the back and then won the next two games keeping two clean sheets to take control of their Nations League group.

While their ongoing search for a good-enough right-sided centre-back will continue up to the tournament itself, and they are still waiting for either Ansu Fati to stay fit or for Ferran Torres or Marco Asensio to finally become a regular goalscorer, Spain will be able to compete with anyone thanks to their midfield.

Sergio Busquets and Pedri are certain starters as two of the very best in the world in their respective positions, which leaves the third slot where Lucho can choose from the excellent Koke, the dynamic Marcos Llorente or the impossibly brilliant teenage sensation Gavi. Either way Spain will have the best midfield in Qatar, can it overcome their other two lines to lead them to victory?

Tip: Spain to win all Group E games @ 3/1 with Sky Bet

2. Brazil

Confederation: CONMEBOL
World Cup outright odds: 9/2

It’s probably not a startling observation to say that Brazil are good but goodness gracious are Brazil ever good. The Selecao have lost just once since the start of 2020, and while it’s not all been Joga Bonito, it’s been deadly effective and the rise of the likes of Vinicius Jr., Raphinha and Lucas Paqueta has given them a new edge.

Brazil’s squad is stacked, their manager is street-wise, their players are hard-working and hysterically skilled, they have one of the best goalkeepers in the world, too. Their group is admittedly just three classic trap games, but you’d back Neymar and co., to evade those traps then romp onto victory. In the heat of Qatar, what European team could step to them?

Tip: Neymar to win Golden Boot @ 20/1 with Sky Bet

1. Argentina

Confederation: CONMEBOL
World Cup outright odds: 8/1

Unfortunately for Brazil, the only team to beat them in the last two years will also be at the World Cup. Unfortunately for everyone else, Argentina seem to have gotten over that thing where they choke in finals. Unquestionably one of the three best teams across the post-Spain decade of football, Argentina made three consecutive finals in 2014, 2015 and 2016 but just came up short.

Now they’ve won their last two finals, winning the Copa America against Brazil and then smashing Italy in the Finalissima. They’ve started winning and for a team as good as they are, that’s a scary prospect.

Argentina have been good for ages, and where before it was powered by Lionel Messi’s singular genius, now they have an actual midfield and goalkeeper to the extent that Messi is a really fancy, really, really good cog in a machine. Argentina don’t need Messi to shine to win games, as they showed in the Copa America final where Brazil put all their energy into stopping the wee man only for Rodrigo de Paul and Angel Di Maria to beat them instead. But of course Messi can still shine and help them win games.

The last match Argentina lost was the 2019 Copa America semi-final. Since then they have gone 33 games without tasting defeat, winning 22 games and drawing just 11. Leonel Scaloni has them happy, and the squad as a whole seems willing to run through a brick wall for captain Messi. They are unquestionably the best side in the world right now, the only question is can they keep it going and win their first World Cup since 1986? Winning three finals in a row would be the perfect way to redeem the three straight defeats, and would return the highest glory to a nation that hasn’t tasted it for the entire lifetime of their best player (Messi was born the year after Maradona’s heroics in Mexico).

Tip: Argentina to win Group C @ 4/9 with Paddy Power

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