It’s here. The 2022 World Cup is underway. With that, we have the finalized rosters and up-to-date injury lists for each nation. Injuries will play a big part in this tournament. Already we see a favorite to win hobbled with a number of stars out.
France has dropped to the third-best odds to win the World Cup with odds at +360 per sportsbook BetOnline Sportsbook. Brazil still sits at the top of the oddsboard with +215 odds. Fellow South American side Argentina is second with +295 odds.
So what happened to France?
FIFA World Cup Odds
Odds as of November 20 at BetOnline Sportsbook
World Cup Odds: What Happened to france?
Injuries. With a November tournament, injuries were always going be a game-changer. They always are, of course. But with the club season only stopping days before the opening kickoff in Qatar, injuries were much more likely.
For defending champion France, injuries have decimated the squad.
2022 Ballon D’or winner Karim Benzema (thigh) was the latest addition to their injury list. The striker scored 27 goals in 31 starts for Real Madrid last year and also picked up 12 helpers. At the national level, he’s scored eight goals in 12 games across all competitions since 2021 for France. The best footballer in the world won’t be leading the line for France, which is a massive loss.
Then add midfielders N’Golo Kante and Paul Pogba to that list of unavailable players. While Kante isn’t a goal scorer, he’s absolutely crucial in the middle of the park.
The Chelsea midfielder is easily the best defensive midfielder in the game. His tackle, interception and block rates are above the 84th percentile, his shot-creating actions are in the 93rd percentile and his dribbles completed are in the 94th percentile. That’s compared to all midfielders who played at least 1,902 minutes in the top five leagues. Kante is elite at releasing pressure and getting the ball going forward. Another massive loss.
Pogba has more attacking flair than Kante. The central midfielder is particularly adept at unlocking the most tight defensive units with his excellent passing. He’s in the 85th percentile for midfielders for progressive passes received in the top five leagues.
Without these three players, France is going to find it hard to break up any attacks, set up their own and even finish them. At least against the other top teams in this competition.
That injury list also doesn’t include central defender Raphael Varane. That’s three players (Kante, Pogba, Varane) who were part of France’s 2018 World Cup-winning squad gone. The French are likely to keep the trend of defending champions failing to repeat.
So who is a good shot at winning the World Cup?
World Cup Best Outright Odds
Unlike France, Brazil doesn’t have any real injury concerns. Arthur Melo, who’s on loan with Liverpool, is injured, but that’s almost to be expected. The Brazilian midfielder has been injury-prone his entire career. And it’s not like Brazil is relying on Melo to win this World Cup.
All of their natural starting XI are seemingly perfectly healthy.
This is a squad that absolutely dominated in the CONMEBOL region, going 14-3-0 with a ridiculous +35 goal differential. Star Neymar led the way with eight goals in that qualification process and also put up eight assists. But Brazil doesn’t rely solely on Neymar to win.
They get solid contributions from everywhere on the pitch. Through qualifications, Tottenham’s Richarlison had six goals while four other players scored three each. They score goals at will.
If you’re worried about their defense, Brazil only allowed five goals in qualifications across 17 games. That’s 0.29 goals against per game. They’re solid defensively.
Angel Di Maria is fit and crushing it. The Juventus winger put up two goals and an assist for Argentina in a recent friendly against the United Arab Emirates. That display brought a huge sigh of relief for Argentina.
While they still have a ton of quality in their lineup with that Lionel Messi guy, having another goal threat or another playmaker makes all the difference in the world. Defenses certainly can’t cover both at all times – at least one of Messi or Di Maria will be open to create.
At the back, I love Lisandro Martinez’s bulldog-like play. His no-nonsense defending has been a revelation for Manchester United. His 78 percent take rate stops just about every play on the ground, forcing teams to try to beat Argentina in the air, which is where defensive partner Nicolas Otamendi steps in with his average 66.32 percent aerial duel won since 2018-19.
Argentina has players who can score freely. Messi has made a career of filling the net, scoring 368 goals in 382 games at the club level since 2011-12. That’s basically a goal every game over 11 years. Insane.
Defensively they’ve got players who can stop opponents from scoring. This squad is built to win the World Cup. I know it’s not always sexy to go chalk when making selections, but when it comes to the World Cup, chalk usually wins.
Since 1982, a side in the top three on the oddsboard has won the tournament eight out of 10 times. The only outliers were Italy in 2006 (fourth on the oddsboard at +800) and Italy again in 1982 (sixth at +1800). And Italy didn’t qualify for this World Cup. So, go chalk.
World Cup Previous Winners
2018 - France
2014 - Germany
2010 - Spain
2006 - Italy
2002 - Brazil
1998 - France
1994 - Brazil
1990 - West Germany
1986 - Argentina
1982 - Italy
Brazil was dominant through three full cycles between 1994 and 2002 with two championships and a runner-up medal, dropping the 1998 World Cup final to France 3-0.
West Germany saw an equally strong run between 1982 and 1990, winning one championship (1990) and finishing as the runner-up in 1982 and 1986.
France will try to challenge both runs by going deep yet again in 2022.
World Cup Group Odds
Not only do we break down the 2022 FIFA World Cup odds for the outright winner, but we’ve also looked at each of the groups and broken down the odds for the outright winner and who will qualify out of all eight groups.
World Cup FAQ
Who is the favorite for the 2022 World Cup?
Currently, Brazil sits at the top of the oddsboard for the 2022 World Cup at +215.
Who won the last World Cup in 2018?
France won the 2018 World Cup in Russia. France went 7-0, from the group stage to the final. Knocking out Argentina, Uruguay, Belgium and then Croatia in the Finals.
When is the 2022 World Cup?
Qatar will host the 2022 World Cup. It won't be held in the typical summer months but was moved to November when the weather is cooler in Qatar. The first game of the tournament will take place on November 20 at 11:00 AM ET.