American Football Athletics: European Championships 2024 Basketball Cricket Cycling Darts Esports Football Golf Horse racing Ice Hockey Motorsport Olympics 2024 Poker Politics Rugby Union Snooker Tennis WWE Yachting Other sports Other odds Old odds Casinoranker

Will the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar provide us with any surprises?

Everyone loves an underdog in sports, especially if we are fortunate enough to back their unlikely success along the way, cashing in on the kind of bets that few people tend to take seriously. But unexpected outcomes are what makes football so appealing, especially when paired with lengthy odds and the prospect of lucrative wagering opportunities.

Now the countdown to Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup is just around the corner, oddsmakers have been busy fine-tuning the outright winner betting markets, analysing the recent form to predict which team is likely to lift the iconic golden trophy. As tends to be customary every four years when the tournament is held, Brazil find themselves as the favourites with the majority of online betting sites.

But varying form can also make things all the more interesting, especially when trying to predict whether there will be any surprises. Indeed, nobody expected Croatia to reach the final in 2018, ahead of the last World Cup in Russia. The so-called lesser nations can suddenly find themselves inspired, capable of taking on the most powerful teams and causing huge upsets, making the competition itself all the more exciting.

Anything is possible in the group phase

Portrait of young man football playing in motion training isolated over black studio background kicking ball

Due to the World Cup draw being seeded, the strongest sides are usually always kept apart in the initial group stage of the tournament, making it more likely the favourite teams will progress through to the knockout phase. That being said, there will be plenty of interesting wagering opportunities as we look ahead to the World Cup 2022 Group Stage, particularly when putting the detailed tournament guide via Arabian Betting to good use.

Along with detailing the previous World Cup accomplishments of all 32 qualifying teams, this guide also provides further insight, focusing on the key battles we can expect to encounter within each of the groups. Favourites to progress are clearly defined, although perhaps even more interesting, there is an emphasis on teams that could be considered as underdogs. These are the sides we might want to watch a little more carefully.

If previous World Cup tournaments have taught us anything, it’s the fact that so-called lesser nations are keen to make the most of their moment in the spotlight, eager to prove their appearance is much more than about making up the numbers. At the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the group stage brought significant upsets in the opening phase of the tournament, catching many punters and pundits alike by surprise.

Croatia dominated their group and even handed Argentina with an unexpected 3-0 thumping, while Germany flopped spectacularly in their group, losing against both Mexico and South Korea. In the other groups there were plenty of near misses, including Spain just beating Iran and scraping a last-minute draw against Morocco, and England requiring a late winner to beat Tunisia. Many of these encounters were tighter than anyone could have predicted.

Arabian pride could forge the 2022 underdogs

Top view of caucasian football or soccer player on green background of grass. young male sportive model training, practicing. kicking ball, attacking, catching. concept of sport, competition, winning.

When considering the possibility of upsets, we must first focus our attention on those with strong regional interest. As the host nation, the Qatar team will be keen to give a good account of themselves, and they could be in with a good chance of progress. Group A rivals include Ecuador and Senegal, both of whom they will consider beatable, before what could be a decisive match against the Netherlands.

Iran will need little inspiration against any of their Group B opponents, all of whom are considered to be fierce enemies on the geopolitical stage, which will briefly be transferred to the football pitch. And what better time to face England in their opening match, especially with the Three Lions in such poor form heading into the World Cup. The Iranians will also fancy their chances against Wales, before what promises to be a tasty clash with the United States.

Many people have already dismissed Saudi Arabia, who have lengthy odds firmly stacked against them, yet after they open Group C with a supremely difficult match against Argentina, anything is possible. The Saudis will be backed by massive support in their neighbouring country of Qatar, so even if they can’t beat Argentina, there’s every possibility of them causing upsets against Poland and Mexico.

Last but by no means least, underestimate the North African teams at your own peril. Tunisia have plenty of talents in their squad, making them a good prospect for surprises in Group D, where they will face an out of sorts France, plus Denmark and Australia. Group D could also be good for Morocco, where they will face an ageing Croatia side in their first game, before taking on Belgium and Canada.