The first winter World Cup in history is dawning upon us, as Qatar prepare to host the 22nd edition of the tournament. 32 nations from around the globe will come together for the showpiece event to be held from 21 November to 18 December 2022. To be hosted across 5 host cities, the Arab world’s first World Cup is bound to be full of excitement.

Reigning champions France will look to retain their crown, but it is certainly not going to be an easy task, given the footballing prowess of rival teams from South America and Europe. There have been only eight-winning countries of the tournament so far and all come from either one aforementioned continent. It doesn’t look like that’s going to change anytime soon.

With half the year already having passed by, let’s take a closer look at some of the early best bets for the World Cup –

  • France

Current holders France possess a squad few other teams can dare compete against. They are bound to give everything in order to retain their title, potentially becoming the first team since Brazil in 1962 to do so. Les Bleus are a force to be reckoned with on their best day, given the likes of match-winners in the squad. Mbappe, Benzema, and Pogba are some of the stars in the blue colors – not to forget the plethora of young talent at Didier Deschamps’ disposal. The defending champions have all the potential to bag a consecutive second.

  • Argentina 

Copa America winners Argentina look like a different breed in recent times, overpowering opposition with killer instinct and accuracy in the final-third. The South American heavyweights last won the World Cup thanks to the legendary Diego Maradona back in 1986, but have fallen short every time since then. Argentina have the perfect blend of young talent and experienced veterans in their ranks. Based on their current form, it is no exaggeration to tag the Albiceleste as favorites to lift a third trophy in their history.

  • Brazil 

Following an immense roller coaster ride through the South American qualification stage, Brazil are established bookmakers’ favorites to win the competition for a record sixth time – the last one arriving exactly two decades ago. The depth in Brazil’s squad is scary in every sense, meaning that they stand every chance to benefit perhaps more than any team from the increase in roster size from 23 to 26. Despite their recent tournament showings, the five-time winners possess an unmatched legacy on the greatest stage, and this could fuel their fire.

  • Spain 

It is no secret that La Roja do not possess the same fury and finesse they had a decade ago, when Xavi, Ramos, Casillas and Iniesta were in their prime. However, Luis Enrique’s current outfit are a curious bunch who will take inspiration from their semi-final exploits at EURO 2020. This new side is consistent and more importantly perseverant, but maintaining that will be a mammoth task, as they first have to overcome Germany and Japan in the group stages.

  • England

Having been ridiculed since time immemorial, the EURO 2020 finalists will seek motivation from their recent shortcomings and aim to upset all odds for a second World Cup trophy – their first in 52 years. The Three Lions can be a serious threat to any side, but gelling the team together at their best remains coach Gareth Southgate’s biggest task yet. They were eliminated by Croatia in the semi-final of the last edition in Russia, displaying determination and grit all the way until the final whistle. This is a chance to prove everyone wrong.

As per latest statistics provided by sports betting sites, Brazil edge France and England as odds-on favorites to grab the coveted title. Argentina and Spain trail the three, but are ahead of Germany, Belgium and Netherlands in the betting race. It takes only a handful of minutes to understand the nuances of placing one’s hands, as the one-stop resource provides A-Z information – from layman terms and country restrictions to betting strategies and unbiased sportsbook reviews. Players, whether old or new, can also benefit from a host of rewards and bonuses such as free bets, cash backs, accumulator schemes and loyalty points.

Will Brazil win a record sixth? Can Lionel Messi lead Argentina in his final World Cup? Do Belgium and Netherlands have the finesse to upset the top dogs? Or will Cristiano Ronaldo help Portugal spring a surprise en-route to their first? Only time will tell how things pan out on the grand stage.