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Which nation will score the fewest goals at the World Cup?

A large part of the build-up to the World Cup is centred on which player might win the Golden Boot. Indeed, every discussion show in the lead-up will embark on a deep dive into which player might shine and end up winning one of the most coveted individual prizes in world football. However, very few, if any, have ever focused on who the lowest-scoring nation might be.

Revealingly, the Qatar World Cup 2022 betting odds on the country likely to find the back of the net the fewest times makes for intriguing reading. As things stand, the Saudi Arabians are tipped to endure the worst goal drought in the desert having been priced at 13/2 to finish as the lowest-scoring team in the tournament.

Is a Saudi drought on the cards?

The Saudis will, of course, come up against Argentina, Poland, and Mexico in the group stages which makes the case for them being the lowest-scoring nation a strong one. In addition to that, the Middle Eastern country could also only manage two goals in Russia four years ago whilst in a group with the 2018 hosts, Egypt and Uruguay. All of a sudden, at 13/2, you can see why this market is an untouched one that deserves special attention.

Will Group B defenders have a whale of a time against Bale?

As you can imagine, if the favourite nation to score the fewest goals in Qatar is priced at astonishing odds of 13/2, then you don’t necessarily have to go that far down the list of available odds to find truly extraordinary value. In particular, one of those options which stands out is Wales, who are at odds of 22/1 to be the lowest-scoring nation. As we know, Rob Page’s men will be in a group with England, Iran, and the USA, and with a general lack of firepower up front, they present an interesting choice to punters.

Unsurprisingly, the Welsh will rely on Gareth Bale’s goals to power them through the group stage but at 33 years old and currently plying his trade in the MLS for LA Galaxy, it remains to be seen how effective the former Real Madrid player will be at international level. After Bale, there isn’t much in the way of recognized goalscorers in this Welsh side which makes them a nation to keep in mind when deciding who the lowest scores might be.

The wild (card) French

If you scroll all the way to the bottom of the list you will find France at odds of 250/1 to be the lowest-scoring nation in Qatar. That’s preposterous I hear you say, but before you close this page in protest at the suggestion that Didier Deschamps' men will be short of goals in the desert, quickly cast your mind back to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. If you do, you will remember that Les Bleus only managed one goal in their three group games before being dumped out of the tournament. It was, to say the least, a turbulent World Cup for France in the Rainbow Nation as mutiny spread across the changing room with a host of players also being sent home after falling out with coach Raymond Domenech.

This type of thing, tellingly, can happen to France given that for all their footballing magnificence, they tend to spectacularly implode from time to time. At the very least, 2010 seems far too recent for France to be priced at 250/1 to be the lowest-scoring nation.