Which Red has the best chance of World Cup glory?

Thursday 17 November 2022 14:00

There are 16 Manchester United players representing their nations at this winter's 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Could any of them lift the coveted trophy when it's all said and done?

Brazil and Argentina are the favourites this time around, while current holders France have also been tipped for success in the Middle East.

United have six players across these three nations at the tournament, as well as 10 other players combined between the squads of Denmark, England, Netherlands, Tunisia, Uruguay and Portugal, with each hoping to lift the iconic trophy on Sunday 18 December - the date of the final.

Ahead of the curtain-raiser between hosts Qatar and Ecuador on Sunday, our writers have offered their thoughts on the Red - or Reds - with the best chance of winning the World Cup this winter.

Which of the nine nations represented by United's players has the best chance of winning the 2022 World Cup?poll

Which of the nine nations represented by United's players has the best chance of winning the 2022 World Cup?


For decades, Argentina have had a reputation as being top-heavy: possessing bags of attacking talent but always appearing somewhat susceptible at the back. But with the emergence of our very own Lisandro Martinez, as well as Spurs's Cristian Romero and Aston Villa's Emiliano Martinez, this year feels different for the current Copa America champions.

Lionel Scaloni has found a shape and an approach which works well for his side, in both attack and defence. Superstar forward Lionel Messi and striker Lautaro Martinez offer superb attacking threat while La Albiceleste now look the most resilient they have in years. Add that to the mix of talent which includes Angel di Maria, Rodrigo De Paul and Paulo Dybala, and Argentina look to be one of the top sides in this winter's tournament.

This also feels like a last opportunity at World Cup glory for Messi, who came inches away from lifting the trophy back in 2014, but for Mario Gotze's extra-time winner for Germany in the final. It has also been 20 years since a South American side last won the tournament, when Brazil lifted it for a fifth time back in 2002. European teams have reigned supreme for the past two decades, and Argentina - the current Copa America champions - will want to bring the trophy back to their continent in December.

Joe Nelson


When it comes to winning World Cups, experience is key and, even without Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante, France have a rich seam of tournament know-how rippling right through the squad, coupled with some of the best young talents in the world. Kylian Mbappe, of course, straddles both of those groups after his sublime performances in helping Les Bleus win the 2018 tournament, while Hugo Lloris, Raphael Varane, Antoine Griezmann and Karim Benzema are generational players in their positions.

We hope to see Varane return to action and Didier Deschamps will be relying on him to reinforce the side’s spine, as the midfield has been questioned in some quarters, despite the presence of promising Real Madrid players Aurelien Tchouameni and Eduardo Camavinga.

Les Bleus have been boom or bust in recent World Cups but, given their quality, they should breeze through a group containing Australia, Denmark and Tunisia. Top sides tend to click into gear as the knockout rounds progress, and I expect this to happen with France as they seek to become only the third nation to win back-to-back tournaments, after Italy in the 1930s and Brazil in 1958 and 1962.

Sam Carney

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England's recent tournament record means they have to be taken seriously as contenders. But it's been a difficult 12 months or so for Gareth Southgate's team, in the wake of the Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy: the Three Lions have not won any of their last six games. But the hope is that, once Qatar kicks off, those tournament juices will kick in.

And few squads are better stocked than England's. Harry Kane is possibly the best striker in the competition, and already has 12 Premier League goals this season. Bukayo Saka, Phil Foden and our own Marcus Rashford are also storming through 2022/23 so far. Declan Rice and Jude Bellingham can be inspirational forces in midfield and, if we know one thing from the endless Trent Alexander-Arnold debates in recent months, it's that England have a few decent right-backs.

But I think the biggest thing in their favour is those near misses at Russia 2018 and Euro 2020. How often do we see teams fall just short of a big target, before going one better at the next attempt? What doesn't kill you makes you stronger and all that... England's form and the Qatar heat might have tempered expectations that they can succeed at the 2022 World Cup, but if Southgate's men can start well, their resilience and tournament experience could take them a long way.

Joe Ganley

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The bookmakers have installed Brazil as favourites to lift the trophy and one look at their awesome attacking power means it is easy to see why they are so fancied to go all the way in 2022.

I believe Casemiro will be one of the players of the tournament and rubber-stamp the view that he is a world-class performer, while the fact Brazil have so many options off the bench in forward areas could prove to be their trump card. Antony is in the mix as one of those attackers and what better platform for him to produce his own brand of magic? Fred will have the sort of energy that will be needed in such a competition, while Alex Telles will also hope to contribute to a team confident of emulating the great sides of the past and clinch a sixth World Cup success.

There is quality throughout the team, from Alisson in goal through to that glittering array of front-runners, with Neymar determined to sparkle. Group G does look tricky, however, with Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon awkward opponents, but it is difficult to see how any defence can keep the Selecao out for 90 minutes. Anything can happen in tournament football but it would be a surprise if Brazil are not competing towards the climax in Qatar.

Adam Marshall