France: with cup chances again

Fifa Ranking – 3rd

France NT


The French national team’s prospects for this winter’s World Cup are looking pretty good. Why? They were drawn into a group that was relatively easy to advance out of, and they were able to advance out of it by a six-point margin. In their eight matches, they allowed just three goals while scoring 18. Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappé, and Karim Benzema all scored 14 of the 18. Read more.

Notable Player – Kylian Mbappe

Belgium: red devils have team to win

Fifa Ranking – 2nd

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Despite the presence of challenging opponents such as the former bugbear Wales and the Czech Republic, Belgium was expected to dominate Group E while taking first place with a 5-point lead. The team scored 25 goals in eight matches, 13 of which came in an 8-0 victory over Belarus and a 5-2 win over Estonia. Read more.

Notable Player – Kevin De Bruyne

Spain: the perfect mix of experience and youth

Fifa Ranking – 7th

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Spain began their qualifying campaign for Euro 2016 with a home draw against Greece (1-1) and then eventually lost to Sweden, who had gained valuable confidence from a narrow win over Georgia. But Spain, with a squad blossoming at its first international tournament in eight years, was still full of talent. They were able to win four matches in a row, which led to them finishing first in the group. Unfortunately, Sweden lost to Georgia and was eventually out of the competition. Yet it was an example of how Spain can dominate weaker teams.

Notable Player – Ferran Torres

England: it may be the year of the English

Fifa Ranking – 5th

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Gareth Southgate’s England are one of the top national teams in not just Europe but the world. They proved this at Russia 2018 when they got to the semi-finals. England enters the winter tournament in excellent form. After routing a weak Group I, the Three Lions scored 39 and gave up three (goals) in qualifying. England enters Qatar as a serious threat. Read More.

Notable Player – Raheem Sterling

Denmark: the talent that can explode

Fifa Ranking – 11th

Denmark World Cup 1

Denmark’s fairytale run at Euro 2020 was something born of dreams. Coach Kasper Hjulmand insisted that Denmark’s performance at Euro 2012 should not be considered a fluke after the Scandinavian nation enjoyed an auspicious run in the qualifying campaign for the competition, losing just one of its ten matches and scoring 30 goals while surrendering only three and accumulating a +22 goal difference. Read more.

Notable Player – Christian Eriksen

Portugal: the last dance of Ronaldo?

Fifa Ranking – 8th

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After just missing out on a spot at the World Cup in Group A, Portugal claimed the top spot in the playoff table, ensuring Cristiano Ronaldo would make his last hurrah at the World Cup. Portugal may have nearly not qualified for the World Cup, but they’ll be a squad to watch once the tournament begins. With Cristiano Ronaldo and a talented roster, Portugal could surprise some teams and make a run in the tournament.

Notable Player – Cristiano Ronaldo

Netherlands: a new surprise?

Fifa Ranking – 10th

Netherlands World Cup

It’s hard to believe that the Netherlands, a nation of soccer-lovers and producers of world famous players like Johan Cruyff and Marco van Basten, who have influenced the game from its roots up have never won a World Cup. It’s even more surprising that this soccer-loving nation did not qualify for the FIFA World Cup in Russia. After failing to get out of the Round of 16 in Euro 2016, the Dutch must set the record straight about who they are under legendary figure Louis van Gaal. Their topping of Group G—ahead of tough teams Turkey and Norway—does give them credit in the bank, but many questions remain about their ability to score goals through multiple avenues.

Notable Player – Virgil Van Dijk

Germany: little is expected and yet it can do a lot

Fifa Ranking – 12th

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Eight years ago, Germany was on top of the world after demolishing host Brazil 7-1 in the World Cup. But it wasn’t long before the team hit hard times. Germany were eliminated from the group stages at Russia 2018 after winning its qualifying group. But Germany is a team that has shown its true identity over the last year, defeating all opponents and scoring more than 30 goals while allowing two. Which Germany will show up? Only time will tell. Read More.

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Notable Player – Joshua Kimmich

Croatia: maybe the new total soccer

Fifa Ranking -16th

Croatia World Cup

Croatia hold a special place in the hearts of many soccer fans around the world because of their fairytale run at the 1998 World Cup, when they finished 3rd as an independent nation. That summer, Davor Šuker captained Croatia’s golden generation to victory while Josip Šimunić was voted the tournament’s best player. Since then, a number of Croatian teams have been successful. Read more.

Notable Player – Luka Modric

Switzerland: high soccer efficiency

Fifa Ranking -14th

Switzerland World Cup

Switzerland was in top form during UEFA qualifying, beating out Italy to top Group C. The 2-0 win over Italy in Milan was especially impressive, considering that the Azzurri had won ten of their last 11 matches at home. The Swiss also made a habit of drawing rather than losing or winning in other high-profile games, including against France and Argentina. And they performed very well at Euro 12, despite being underdogs throughout the tournament. Read more.

Notable Player – Xherdan Shaqiri

Serbia: aspirations for the semifinals

Fifa Ranking – 25th

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Few expected Serbia to outperform a highly talented Portugal side. But, Aleksandar Mitrović’s goal in the 90th minute gave Serbia a valuable 2-1 win against Portugal in their qualification match, giving them hope to move on to the World Cup. The country still produces top class players and they will be looking to shine on the World Cup stage. Read more.

Notable Player – Dusan Tadic

Poland: Goals and good game

Fifa Ranking – 26th

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Poland have a dangerous striker in Robert Lewandowski. The Bayern Munich star is the unquestioned focal point for a Poland outfit that has not moved away from its reliance on his services. Poland should be aiming to move out of the group stages as a primary objective. With quality in their ranks all they need to do to stand a chance is feed the GOAT, Robert Lewandowski.

Notable Player – Robert Lewandowski

Argentina: the Messi moment

Fifa Ranking – 4th

Argentina World Cup

Argentina will return to the World Cup for the 12th consecutive time this summer, having last missed out on qualification in the 2002 tournament. However, unlike any of their previous appearances, this time marks a period of transition. The team is largely the same as it was when it last faced off in 2014, but several players have retired from international duty or are unwell and may not be able to participate, including Sergio Agüero (33), Gonzalo Higuaín (31), Ángel Di María (34), Lucas Biglia (32), and Éver Banega (29). Lionel Messi, who earned his 100th cap in 2017 and is three goals away from surpassing Gabriel Batistuta’s all-time leading Argentine goal-scorer record, currently leads an excellent supporting cast that will look to secure victory in what could be Messi’s last trip to the World Cup. Read more.

Notable Player – Lionel Messi

Brazil: the dream team

Fifa Ranking – 1st

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Qatar will host the 2022 FIFA World Cup and Brazil seem to be one of the strongest contenders of the tournament. Neymar, who is also a Brazilian national icon will lead his team as they try to win their sixth World Cup title. It can be remembered that for the previous two World Cups, Brazil finished in fourth place both times. This proves that they are one of the strongest teams in the world at the moment and will surely give their fans something to cheer about. Read more.

Notable Player – Neymar

Uruguay: South American giants

Fifa Ranking – 13th

Uruguay World Cup

Though South American giants Uruguay were eliminated in the first round of the 2018 World Cup, the future is bright for La Celeste. The team has a core of talented players—including Luis Suárez, Edinson Cavani, and Diego Godín—that have been essential to both qualifying campaigns under José “El Maestro” Gómez (2010-2014) and Óscar Tabárez. But some veterans are nearing the end of their careers—Suárez, Cavani, Godín, Martín Cáceres, and Fernando Muslera are all over 34 years old and have a combined 662 caps. Though it’s safe to say that Uruguay will be competitive on the international stage for years to come, what comes next for La Celeste after 2022?

Notable Player – Luis Suarez

Ecuador: killing offensive

Fifa Ranking – 46th

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With a final automatic qualifying spot in CONMEBOL and two points ahead of Peru, Ecuador enter their fourth World Cup tournament with few expectations. The team’s main goal will be to advance beyond Group Stage play in hopes that Enner Valencia, who scored the country’s all-time leading goal total during qualifiers, can continue to produce for his side.

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Notable Player – Enner Valencia

Iran: always in expectation

Fifa Ranking – 21st

Iran World Cup

Though Iran has never advanced past the group stage at the World Cup, they have made it to the tournament five times, and they qualified for this World Cup with the most points, goals scored, and fewest goals allowed of any team in Asia. They will be led by Sardar Azmoun, Alireza Jahanbakhsh, Ehsan Hajsafi, Mehdi Taremi, and Saman Ghoddos. These players should be exciting to watch.

Notable Player – Sardar Azmoun

Qatar: the king of the party

Fifa Ranking – 52nd

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The Maroon by Félix Sánchez is a fascinating account of Qatar’s winning journey to the 2019 Asian Cup. The tiny nation, which will be hosting the 2022 World Cup, defeated Japan (final) and South Korea (quarter final) on the way to their Asian Cup win. Read more.

Notable Player – Almoez Ali

Japan: smart soccer

Fifa Ranking – 23rd

Japan World Cup

Some of the most technically gifted players in Asia come from Japan. Japanese soccerers have played in six consecutive World Cups since 1998, and came very close to reaching the next round on three occasions. Although Japan lost only by a small margin to Saudi Arabia, who were already qualified for the World Cup, and Australia, who made it to the playoffs, they still managed a solid goal difference.

Notable Player – Takumi Minamino

Korea Republic: a team feared by everyone

Fifa Ranking – 29th

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Over the years, South Korea has been a mainstay in the World Cup. Although South Korea has even more talent in its ranks than it did nearly 20-years-ago, they finished second behind Iran while racking up an undefeated record in qualifying. However, South Korea’s upset loss in the final qualifying match against the UAE is why South Korea did not top the group. Getting out of the group stages will defiunitely be the target but with players like Son, they should be aiming higher.

Notable Player – Son Heung-min

Saudi Arabia: playing to win

Fifa Ranking – 53rd

Saudi Arabia World Cup

Saudi Arabia got a ticket to World Cup 2018 by topping their qualifying group. Saudi Arabian national soccer team has performed well in World Cup qualification campaigns. But the team has never made it past group stage at any of its five World Cup appearances. There are plenty of Saudi Arabian players who play for Saudi clubs and represent the nation at international level. Saudi Arabia will be featuring in its sixth World Cup but has never left the group stage.

Notable Player – Yasser Al-Shahrani

Morocco: the house of talents

Fifa Ranking – 24th

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Morocco failed to make it out of their group at the 2018 World Cup. The country made it to the second round in 1986, when they lost to West Germany in the quarterfinals. In 1994, they failed to make it out of the group stage. A host of good players, this Morocco side could improve on previous World Cup performances this year.

Notable Player – Achraf Hakimi

Senegal: heart and soul

Fifa Ranking – 20th

Senegal World Cup

After their success at the 2021 African Championship of Nations (AFCON), a tournament in which the Senegalese Soccer Federation (FSF) won the country’s first-ever international honour. The top-rated African nation was expected to be a part of the participant field in Qatar. The team has not disappointed, finally winning AFCON 2013 – their second continental trophy – after beating Egypt over two matches. They managed to once again edge out Egypt on penalties after the budding rivals were level after two-legs in their third-round qualifying tie.

Notable Player – Sadio Mane

Tunisia: soccer with happiness

Fifa Ranking – 35th

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Tunisia have managed just two wins across their five World Cup appearances. With top boss Jalel Kadri at the helm and having some intriguing attacking options that include Wahbi Khazri, Tunisia could surprise some people in Qatar if they get out of a difficult group.

Notable Player – Wahbi Khazri

Ghana: the beautiful game of Africa

Fifa Ranking – 60th

Ghana World Cup

Ghana fought their way to the quarterfinals of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, but the African nation has only qualified for three other World Cups since then. Ghana failed to qualify for 2018, but its recent qualification bid was decided by the thinnest of margins after it progressed through its group level on points, but with a better goal difference than Nigeria. Despite their struggles, Ghana still has some high-level talent on its roster coached by Otto Addo.

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Notable Player – Thomas Partey

Cameroon: the lions of Africa

Fifa Ranking – 37th

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Cameroon nearly missed the World Cup after losing against Algeria in the final match of the qualifiers. Cameroon won the game in stoppage time that included four minutes of added time. The final score was 2:1, with a goal in the 92nd minute by Karl Toko Ekambi. Aboubakar Vincent will once again be the focal point of Cameroon’s offense. Read More.

Notable Player – Vincent Aboubakar

Canada: new soccer talents

Fifa Ranking – 38th

Canada World Cup

For the second time in their nation’s history, Canada are off to the FIFA World Cup. They have made good on the soccering renaissance currently gripping the national team program under manager John Herdman. With star players like Cyle Larin, Jonathan David, and Alphonso Davies, Canada has harnessed its considerable talent to qualify for this year’s World Cup as well as top their qualifying group ahead of perennial powerhouses Mexico and the United States. Lucas Cavallini, Stephen Eustaquio, and Tajon Buchanan are just a few of the other players contributing to Canada’s success. It was no fluke that they topped their group; they shouldn’t be underestimated at the World Cup. Read More on Canada.

Notable Player – Alphonso Davies

United States: with victory in mind

Fifa Ranking – 15th

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If you ask any American who knows and/or loves soccer, they’ll tell you that the United States is at the forefront of youth development and is rife with elite players plying their trades across Europe. Despite that, though, questions still persist on if talent alone is enough for the U.S. Men’s National Team to make a deep run at the World Cup when tactically they are being held back under Gregg Berhalter. Even finishing third in qualifying, just one win away from second place, was certainly frustrating. But such is the young talent on the USMNT that anything is possible in Qatar. Read more on The United States.

Notable Player – Christian Pulisic

Mexico: the latin power

Fifa Ranking – 9th

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Though Mexico will be disappointed that they were not able to finish first in their CONCACAF World Cup qualifying group, they still made it to the next round of qualification because they had more points than Canada and the United States. Although FIFA ranks them very highly in the world of soccer, Mexico might be falling behind a bit, but their recent success at the World Cup 2018 shows that El Tri still has a lot of fight left in them. Though the days of Hugo Sánchez, Cuauhtémoc Blanco, Luis Hernández, and Jared Borgetti are gone, Mexico are always fun to watch at World Cups.

Notable Player – Raúl Jiménez