The US Guide to Predicting the 2022 FIFA World Cup

We can admit we’re a little late on predicting the first game.

To be fair, we were going to call 3-0 for Ecuador. To be even more fair, it was pretty much 3-0 Ecuador.

The 2022 FIFA World Cup is officially upon us. I felt like a kid on Christmas this morning, even waking up early to watch the opening ceremony in Spanish because Peacock only owns the Spanish rights, and I’m not paying for any more streaming services. Note – I do not speak Spanish.

The opening match is done and out of the way – despite some eye-brow-raising refereeing, Ecuador put host nation Qatar to bed 2-0 in a dominant performance. 

Now, we’ll call the remaining group matches and our prediction for how the knockout stages will line up.

Predicting the 2022 FIFA World Cup Group Stage

Group A

Teams: QatarEcuadorSenegalNetherlands

Match 1: Qatar vs. Ecuador

Prediction: 0-3, Ecuador

Actual: 0-2, Ecuador

Notes: Qatar looked really out of sorts in their first World Cup match. The game was physical. Ecuador looked tough, but not unbeatable. Enner Valencia got his brace (nearly got the hattie), but what looked like a knee hyper-extension will be concerning moving forward. 

Match 2: Senegal vs. Netherlands

Prediction: 0-2, Netherlands

Notes: With Sadio Mané officially out, it’s hard to see Senegal being able to upset the loaded Netherlands here. 

Match 3: Qatar vs. Senegal

Prediction: 0-2, Senegal

Notes: Even without the aforementioned Mané, Senegal doesn’t have too much to worry about here. 

Match 4: Netherlands vs. Ecuador

Prediction: 3-1, Netherlands

Notes: Ecuador showed in their first match that their scoring abilities hinge heavily on Valencia, whose injury status is still unclear. 

Match 5: Ecuador vs. Senegal

Prediction: 1-2, Senegal

Notes: This will be the battle for second in the group, one that we think Senegal has an edge in.

Match 6: Netherlands vs. Qatar

Prediction: 4-0, Netherlands

Notes: Netherlands might even rest their starters against Qatar.

Final Standings (Points): 

1. Netherlands (9) 

2. Senegal (6)

3. Ecuador (3)

4. Qatar (0)

(1A) Netherlands and (2A) Senegal advance. 

Group B

Teams: EnglandIranUSAWales

Match 1: England vs. Iran

Prediction: 1-0, England

Notes: England has struggled to score lately, so they’ll probably barely squeeze by Iran on a Kane penalty.

Match 2: USA vs. Wales

Prediction: 2-1, USA

Notes: The USMNT has what it takes to squeeze by Wales in their opener.

Match 3: Wales vs. Iran

Prediction: 2-2

Notes: Both teams can score, and both could use a little more defense. 

Match 4: England vs. USA

Prediction: 1-1

Notes: The colonies will start another revolution on Black Friday in what will likely be the most-watched USMNT soccer game yet.

Match 5: Iran vs. USA

Prediction: 0-1, USA

Notes: Hopefully, the USMNT has found their form by the time they face Iran. 

Match 6: Wales vs. England

Prediction: 1-3, England

Notes: There’s no way Wales could actually win this… Could they?

Final Standings (Points): 

1. England (7) 

2. USA (7)

3. Wales (1)

4. Iran (1)

(1B) England and (2B) USA advance.

Group C

Teams: ArgentinaSaudi ArabiaPolandMexico

Match 1: Argentina vs. Saudi Arabia

Prediction: 5-0, Argentina

Notes: Argentina should roll over Saudi Arabia pretty easily here. 

Match 2: Mexico vs. Poland

Prediction: 2-3, Poland

Notes: This will probably be the most competitive match of Group C group play with Lewandowski proving too much for Mexico.  

Match 3: Poland vs. Saudi Arabia

Prediction: 3-0, Poland

Notes: Saudi Arabia is unlikely to present a challenge for Poland.

Match 4: Argentina vs. Mexico

Prediction: 4-2, Argentina

Notes: Mexico feels like they got something to prove against Argentina, but Messi has bigger fish to fry. 

Match 5: Poland vs. Argentina

Prediction: 1-3, Argentina

Notes: Poland will be a challenge, but Argentina is simply better. 

Match 6: Saudi Arabia vs. Mexico

Prediction: 2-0, Mexico

Notes: Mexico will have some poetic justice before heading home early. 

Final Standings (Points): 

1. Argentina (9) 

2. Poland (6)

3. Mexico (3)

4. Saudi Arabia (0)

(1C) Argentina and (2C) Poland advance.

Group D

Teams: FranceAustraliaTunisiaDenmark

Match 1: Denmark vs. Tunisia

Prediction: 2-1, Denmark

Notes: Denmark is underrated and firing on all cylinders at the moment.

Match 2: France vs. Australia

Prediction: 4-0, France

Notes: France got bad news last week in losing Nkuku and Benzema to injuries – it’s a good thing they still have Mbappe and Dembele, plus like 14 other stars. 

Match 3: Tunisia vs. Australia

Prediction: 3-1, Tunisia

Notes: Tunisia has some real firepower, enough to outplay the Thunder from Down Under.

Match 4: France vs. Denmark

Prediction: 3-2, France

Notes: True – Denmark has beaten France twice this year. Can they do it again? We think not. 

Match 5: Australia vs. Denmark

Prediction: 0-3, Denmark

Notes: Despite having one of the best nicknames in the tournament (Socceroos), Australia cannot compete with Denmark. 

Match 6: Tunisia vs. France

Prediction: 1-3, France

Notes: Tunisia can score, but so can France – unfortunately for Tunisia, France is better at it. 

Final Standings (Points): 

1. France (9) 

2. Denmark (6)

3. Tunisia (3)

4. Australia (0)

(1D) France and (2D) Denmark advance.

Group E

Teams: SpainCosta RicaJapanGermany

Match 1: Germany vs. Japan

Prediction: 2-1, Germany

Notes: Japan is good, but Germany is probably better.

Match 2: Spain vs. Costa Rica

Prediction: 3-0, Spain

Notes: Spain’s mix of youth and experience will prove deadly to Group E opponents.

Match 3: Japan vs. Costa Rica

Prediction: 3-2, Japan

Notes: Japan should be able to squeeze by Costa Rica here.

Match 4: Spain vs. Germany

Prediction: 1-2, Germany

Notes: This one could go either way, but it’s hard to bet against ze Germans. 

Match 5: Japan vs. Spain

Prediction: 1-2, Spain

Notes: Japan is highly-competitive and could survive most groups… too bad they’re in a group with Spain and Germany. 

Match 6: Costa Rica vs. Germany

Prediction: 0-4, Germany

Notes: Germany’s heavily Bundesliga-influenced style of Blitzkrieg ball will prove too much for CR. 

Final Standings (Points): 

1. Germany (9) 

2. Spain (6)

3. Japan (3)

4. Costa Rica (0)

(1E) Germany and (2E) Spain advance.

Group F

Teams: CroatiaMoroccoBelgiumCanada

Match 1: Morocco vs. Croatia

Prediction: 1-1

Notes: Morocco and Croatia match up pretty well, like most of the teams in this group.

Match 2: Belgium vs. Canada

Prediction: 3-1, Belgium

Notes: Canada is improving, but Belgium is too much. 

Match 3: Belgium vs. Morocco

Prediction: 2-2

Notes: Morocco just might have the firepower to steal a point off the Belgians. 

Match 4: Croatia vs. Canada

Prediction: 2-1, Croatia

Notes: We could easily see Canada turning this into a tie or win on the backs of Alfonso Davies and Jonathon David. 

Match 5: Croatia vs. Belgium

Prediction: 2-2

Notes: Group F is really hard to call.

Match 6: Canada vs. Morocco

Prediction: 2-2

Notes: Again – could see this one going either way. 

Final Standings (Points): 

1. Belgium (5) 

2. Croatia (5)

3. Morocco (3)

4. Canada (1)

(1F) Belgium and (2F) Croatia advance.

Group G

Teams: CameroonSerbiaSwitzerlandBrazil

Match 1: Switzerland vs. Cameroon

Prediction: 3-2, Switzerland

Notes: We think the Swiss have the edge in what’s sure to be a banger.

Match 2: Brazil vs. Serbia

Prediction: 3-1, Brazil

Notes: Brazil has what it takes to side-step an opening match upset against the talented Serbians. 

Match 3: Cameroon vs. Serbia

Prediction: 2-1, Cameroon

Notes: Cameroon’s attack will stun the Serbians, possibly at the last minute.

Match 4: Brazil vs. Switzerland

Prediction: 2-0, Brazil

Notes: Brazil’s attack is just too much for any team not named Argentina this year.  

Match 5: Serbia vs. Switzerland

Prediction: 1-1

Notes: Serbia will save a point against Switzerland thanks to their high-flying attack.

Match 6: Cameroon vs. Brazil

Prediction: 1-2, Brazil

Notes: Cameroon will play them close, but Brazil’s stars simply shine too bright to be ignored. 

Final Standings (Points): 

1. Brazil (9) 

2. Switzerland (4)

3. Cameroon (3)

4. Serbia (1)

(1G) Brazil and (2G) Switzerland advance.

Group H

Teams: PortugalGhanaUruguaySouth Korea

Match 1: Uruguay vs. South Korea

Prediction: 3-2, Uruguay

Notes: The Underrated Uruguayans have an edge named Darwin Nunez in this battle of the top two teams in the group… But watch out for South Korea’s Son. 

Match 2: Portugal vs. Ghana

Prediction: 2-2

Notes: This will likely be the first upset of three for Portuguese fans.

Match 3: South Korea vs. Ghana

Prediction: 2-1, South Korea

Notes: Ghana can keep up with anybody, but nobody has an answer for Son in the zone. 

Match 4: Portugal vs. Uruguay

Prediction: 2-4, Uruguay

Notes: In a game that’s sure to have at least two penalties, the Uruguayans will put Ronaldo’s dreams of a World Cup to sleep. 

Match 5: Ghana vs. Uruguay

Prediction: 1-1

Notes: Ghana will catch Uruguay by surprise.

Match 6: South Korea vs. Portugal

Prediction: 1-1

Notes: We think Portugal’s World Cup will be all about the team problems caused by Ronaldo in his Man U exit interview. 

Final Standings (Points): 

1. Uruguay (7) 

2. South Korea (4)

3. Ghana (2)

4. Portugal (2)

(1H) Uruguay and (2H) South Korea advance.

Here’s the knockout stages picture these predictions leave us with:

As you can see from above, we expect Argentina, Brazil, France, and Uruguay to advance to the semifinals. Argentina will have to beat the best to become the best – but this year, no one is stopping Messi from reaching the top of the mountain like a true GOAT.

What do you think of our predictions? Sound off below!

Featured Image: Generated Image: DALL-E 2/FIFAWorldCup/DM

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