There will be joy and agony over the next 30 days and from pundits to commoners the global audience will pick their winners and favourites for Qatar 2022.
Here’s a set of predictions for you: Winner, Golden Boot, Golden Ball, Golden Glove, Surprise Team and Emerging Player.
1. Winner: Brazil.
Why: They have a good all-round team. They have two good keepers in Alisson and Ederson. But their real strength is their frontline that contains Neymar, Jesus, Richarlison, Vinicius Jr among others. That is serious power and the many of the European teams are still sorting their issues ranging from injuries to a settled line-up.
2. Golden Boot: Kylian Mbappe
Why: The French player is at the prime of his skills, or even you can say that he still on the way to the top. But he is already a World Cup and Nations Cup winner with the Les Blues. Skills, speed and a fine mindset make Mbappe a worthy contender for the golden boot award in the FIFA World Cup 2022.
3. Golden Ball: Lionel Messi
Why: Generally, we don’t associate Messi with the World Cup and justly so as he has a very mediocre record in the quadrennial extravaganza — 6 goals from 18 appearances. It is in stark contrast to the magic he weaves at Barcelona. But coming to the Qatar 2022, the little Argentine seemed motivated and had pulled in couple of power performances for his team in the South American Qualifiers. This will certainly be Messi’s last World Cup at 35. He would want a glorious swan song.
4. Golden Glove: Alisson
Why: “I have played against Alisson in Brazil and he is so difficult,” Jesus told Sky Sports. “Two times I went against him one-vs-one and he defended my shots. They were good shots and he defended them because Alisson is so big.” Those words from his Brazil teammate and opponent in the Premier League shows why Alisson is regarded so highly by his peers. At 30, Alisson is at the top of his craft and his brooding presence behind the bars is a relief for Brazil and worry for opponents. A potential Golden Ball awardee indeed.
5. Surprise team: Serbia
Why: They play a very aggressive brand of football with a 3-5-2 formation, a key to them getting qualified for the FIFA World Cup 2022. The way they swept aside Sweden and Norway were good examples of their skills. They have a brilliant set of players who appear for top European clubs such as Sergej Milinkovic Savic, Darko Lazovic, Dusan Tadic, Aleksandar Mitrovic, Dusan Vlahovic and Nemanja Radonjic. They can really shake things up in this World Cup and the only hindrance that they are in Group G along with Brazil, Cameron and Switzerland. But a lot of pundits believe that they have the right mix to reach till semifinals.
6. Emerging Player: Vinicius Jr
Why: Skill and form, the Brazilian has everything going for him in the Qatar 2022. Over the past year, Vinicius, a 22-year-old, has been in fine touch. He is a very versatile player who plays as the support striker to Neymar or on the left-wing. The Brazil footballer possesses explosive acceleration, balance and that typical Latin American flair. He has scored just 1 goal for Brazil in 16 matches, something he would like to correct and the World Cup will be a very fine stage for that.