Two of the three best teams from the 2018 World Cup in Russia have been placed in Group F. Both Belgium and Croatia were unable to knock off France in order to claim their first World Cup, and while they each still harbor World Cup aspirations, Belgium and Croatia know that they will have a very difficult time topping their performances from last time. That’s why the oddsmakers think that Morocco and Canada have a fighting chance to qualify for the knockout rounds.
Odds to win 2022 FIFA World Cup Group F
Belgium was ranked No. 1 in the world by FIFA for three years. The Red Devils made it to the semifinals of the 2018 World Cup, but their Golden Generation fell to eventual champions France after knocking off Brazil in the quarterfinals.
They were hammered by the Netherlands in Brussels in early June, casting doubt about their chances in Qatar. Belgium is still very talented, but the Golden Generation is a little long in the tooth now, and the back line might be too slow at this point. Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen have a combined 260 caps, but there has been a decline in their performance. Thomas Meunier figures to be the lynchpin in the back.
This is still one of the most intimidating attacks in the world though. Belgium has an elite goal scorer in Romelu Lukaku and arguably the best midfielder in the world in Kevin De Bruyne. Christian Benteke, Dries Mertens, and Michy Batshuayi are all proven performers, and captain Eden Hazard is a playmaker that can float between the midfield and up top as needed.
Croatia is coming off its best performance ever in an international competition. No one expected The Checkered Ones to make it to the 2018 World Cup Finals, but they went 3-0 and allowed just one goal in a group that included Argentina, Nigeria, and Iceland in the Group Stage. Croatia went on to best Denmark and Russia in penalties before scoring an added time goal against England to advance to the finals where they lost to France.
Luka Modric is the captain of this team and the best player in Croatia’s relatively short history as a national team. Modric won the Golden Ball as the best player at the 2018 World Cup, and this is certainly his last World Cup as he will turn 37 in September. He isn’t as sharp as he was four years ago, but he is still an excellent table setter.
Mateo Kovacic, Mario Pasalic, Marcelo Brozovic, and Nikola Vlasic will all be asked to do more in the midfield. The forwards are better than you might think despite the loss of Mario Mandzukic, as Ivan Perisic and Andrej Kramaric are a solid combination up top. Dejan Lovren, Domagoj Vida, and Sime Vrsaljko are the mainstays on the back line.
Morocco has only made it out of the Group Stage once at the World Cup, but the Atlas Lions are a sneaky pick to make it to the knockout rounds this time. They have been one of the top teams in Africa for the last few years, and they have an aggressive defense led by Achraf Hakimi that can push up and make plays.
There is talent all over the pitch, and many of the players have found success across the water at Sevilla. Youssef En-Nesyri is the leading active goal scorer and starting goalkeeper Yassine Bounou has made a name for himself with the club.
This is the most talented team that Canada has had in quite some time. The Canadians were the first North American team to qualify for the World Cup, and they have some elite players at key positions. Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies is the most talented player on the team, and Jonathan David and Cyle Larin are both solid goal scorers in their mid-20s that are now playing in Europe.
The back line is a real concern, so midfielders like Mark-Anthony Kaye, Atiba Hutchinson, and Tajon Buchanan will be tasked with helping out. That could pose a real problem against a side like Belgium, but even scoring a goal at this stage will be a win for Canada considering they have yet to do that.
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