In football like in life, the four years (and four months) since the last World Cup have been difficult. The Covid-19 outbreak has caused the season to be shorter and the calendar to be busier than usual, while the emergence of the UEFA Nations League has made it very challenging for nations outside the region to book matches against European opposition. It is very challenging to evaluate the national team’s form and Fifa World Cup outlook because of the potential effects of fatigue as well as the fact that almost no one has had adequate preparation time.
The best 5 football teams
Group G rivals: Cameroon, Switzerland, and Serbia
Brazil is playing with a rare aggressive vigor, with Neymar setting up a front three made up of Richarlison, Vincius Jnior, Raphinha, and Gabriel Jesus. Brazil has only lost one of its last 29 games—the Copa América final against Argentina. The main uncertainty is whether the back-midfield combination of Casemiro and Fred will be sufficient to compete with the best. This uncertainty is exacerbated by the fact that Brazil has only faced one European opponent since losing to Belgium in the quarterfinals four years ago.
Saudi Arabia, Mexico, and Poland are the opponents in Group C.
Argentina will set a new global record of 38 games unbeaten if it advances undefeated from the group stage in Qatar. Given that it has only faced three European opponents during that stretch, one of them being Estonia, it is debatable how meaningful that is. However, the run also included Argentina’s first senior championship since 1993—the Copa América—and a 3-0 victory over Italy in the Finalissima, a matchup between the current South American and European champions. It is evident that the roster crunch has been resolved by the retirement of many aging attackers, and Lionel Messi now has access to a balanced forward line.
Germany, Japan, Costa Rica are the opponents in Group E.
Even though it has only won three of its last six games, Spain is the only one of the elite European teams to enter the World Cup in anything resembling strong form after defeating Portugal in the Nations League. Although Luis Enrique’s team is capable of playing mesmerizing passing football, their September loss to Switzerland suggested that the recurring issue of turning possessions into opportunities and goals has not yet been solved.
Group A rivals: Qatar, Senegal, and Ecuador
After undergoing treatment for prostate cancer, Louis van Gaal has made a full recovery and, at 71, is given a third chance to lead the national team. No team had a better Nations League record than the Dutch, who had five victories and a draw from six games, saving a sinking qualification campaign. Memphis Depay, who scored 12 goals in qualifying, has regained form for his nation while struggling to deliver consistently at the club level with Barcelona. The manager has kept the back three that were a key component of his Netherlands team’s advance to the semifinals in 2014. However, the absence of Georginio Wijnaldum from the World Cup due to a fractured leg is a huge blow.
Group E rivals: Costa Rica, Spain, and Japan
While the Germany team has a lot of quality and qualified with nine victories out of ten games, the Nations League results were disappointing with just one victory out of six games. Although there is a glaring omission at center forward, the bigger problem might be at the back. After 15 years of Jogi Löw, Hansi Flick has brought a sense of freshness. However, even with goalkeeper Manuel Neuer sweeping behind it, implementing the high line that Hansi Flick prefers was risky at the club level.