World Cup 2022 Preview – What did we learn from the end of the Nations League?
With the Nations League wrapping up its group stages on Tuesday night, all eyes will soon fall on Qatar when this year’s World Cup finals get underway on November 20th.
As the likes of England suffered a stunning League A relegation last weekend, this month’s international break was the last chance for European teams to pick up some much-needed momentum.
With some of Europe’s biggest powerhouses appearing to stutter their way out to Qatar, what did we learn from this month’s Nations League finale and how will it affect our World Cup 2022 predictions for Qatar?
Pressure still remains on Southgate’s shoulders
While England might have signed off this year’s Nations League run with a stunning 3-3 draw at home against Germany, it does not cover what has been an extended struggle for the Three Lions.
Along with heading into the summer break with an infamous 4-0 drumming at home against Hungary back in June, Gareth Southgate finds a huge amount of pressure on his shoulders.
Marking their return to action on September 23rd with a sluggish 1-0 loss away at Italy, England remarkably failed to win any of their six League A3 appearances this year on route to losing their elite Nations League status. Some of the England World Cup squads of the past should have gone further in the competition and it feels like this golden generation could also fail under Southgate.
Likewise, making the trip out to Qatar in the midst of a six-match winless run – England’s longest winless run in 29 years – Southgate’s squad are screaming out for some stability.
While the Three Lions might still be tipped as a landslide pick to breeze their way to the knockout stage in two month’s time, Southgate faces growing scrutiny.
England’s World Cup Odds
To win the World Cup – 7/1 with bet365.
England to win Group B – 4/11 with William Hill.
France are stuttering their way to Qatar
Lifting their second world crown out in Russia four year’s ago and gaining a string of plaudits, France certainly found themselves enjoying what had become a record-breaking run under Didier Deschamps.
However, despite still being tipped as a standout pick with the bookmakers to defend their crown this year, Les Bleus have shown some real cause for concern during their Nations League adventure.
Despite marking their return from the summer break with a much-needed boost against Austria, France came crashing back down to earth with a woeful performance over the weekend.
Eventually hit with a deserved 2-0 defeat away at Denmark and really appearing to limp their way to this year’s World Cup finals, an under-pressure Deschamps saw his side win just one of their six Nations League appearances.
While the Blues might have just about clung to their League A status this month, France couldn’t have wished for a worse run before making the trip out to Qatar.
France’s World Cup Odds
France to win the World Cup – 6/1 with bet365.
France to reach the World Cup final – 3/1 with BetVictor.
Holland are on the rise
While some in Holland might have been shocked to see Louis van Gaal appointed for a third spell in charge 13 months ago, the European icons are enjoying a remarkable resurge.
Ending their exile from the world stage as they cruised their way to Qatar, the one-time Manchester United boss finds the mood in his camp at a red-hot high and they’re our World Cup Group A winners tip up against hosts Qatar, Senegal and Ecuador.
Marking their return from the summer break with back-to-back victories against Poland and Belgium, the Oranges stormed their way to the knockout stage of this year’s Nations League.
In fact, along with mustering 16 points from their six League A4 appearances this year, van Gaal’s high-flying squad are now unbeaten in each of their previous 15 matchups across all competitions.
Enjoying their brightest run in recent memory and eventually topping their Nations League group thanks to a commanding six-point buffer over Belgium, Holland could be looking to spring a real upset in Qatar.
Netherlands World Cup Odds
To win the World Cup – 29/2 with SBK.
To win Group A – 6/11 with SBK.
Serbia could be a European dark horse
Although Serbia might have marked their return to Nations League duties this month facing a real uphill struggle, the Eagles mounted a stunning flurry over the past fortnight.
Picking up a deserved 2-0 victory away at Norway on Tuesday night, Dragan Stojković’s men also managed to clinch a shock League A promotion thanks to that stellar display in Oslo.
With the attacking duo of Dušan Vlahović and Aleksandar Mitrović forming a fearsome international partnership over the past 18 months, Serbia have shown that they have the potential to be a real dark horse out in Qatar.
Signing off their Nations League romp by collecting 13 points from their final five League B4 appearances, Stojković’s side should fancy their chances of finding a route to the knockout stage.
Sharing Group G with Brazil, Switzerland and Cameroon, Serbia will undoubtedly have a second-place finish at the top of their agenda.
Serbia World Cup Odds
To win the World Cup – 119/1 with SBK.
To reach the quarter finals – 11/2 with bet365.
To win Group G – 6/1 with bet365.
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