As the big guns finalise their squads and the tournament opener draws nearer, we assess the key markets for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
After one of the most controversial, even strangest build-ups we’ve seen to a FIFA World Cup, the 2022 iteration in Qatar is finally upon us. For Aussie fans, the tournament will take on a different feel. Not only will we be tuning in at mostly ungodly hours — par for the course in this part of the world — but this FIFA World Cup is being played on the stroke of Christmas. Not, as they usually are, in the European summer months of June and July. So as we ready ourselves for the silly season, fans of the round ball code will be doubling our Christmas cheer with the best of the best in international football.
So who is favoured to take home the world’s most iconic sporting trophy? Who is fancied as tournament dark horses? What are markets suggesting for the Socceroos? And who will walk away with the feted golden boot? We’ve taken a look at Palmerbet’s main markets.
📍 Lusail Stadium
Ready to host the 2022 World Cup final 🏟️ pic.twitter.com/LON1nSipRt
— B/R Football (@brfootball) September 9, 2022
It’s perhaps an indication of how open this World Cup is expected to be that there are FIVE teams at single-figure odds with Palmerbet to take home the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Unsurprisingly, perennial pre-tournament fancies Brazil ($5.00) head the list as favourites, and looking at the almost outrageous levels of talent in their 26-man squad, it’s not hard to see why. Liverpool gun Roberto Firmino, for instance, didn’t make the cut.
— Frank Khalid (@FrankKhalidUK) November 2, 2022
South American rivals Argentina ($5.50) trail just behind, and will arrive in the Gulf after an unbelievable unbeaten streak spanning 35 games. In Lionel Messi’s final World Cup, they’re one to watch. Reigning champions France ($7.00) represent the best of the European teams and, as ever with the Didier Deschamps-coached side, talent is never the issue — it’s whether the historically volatile French squad can gel that will be the biggest question mark hanging over their side. If they can, then look out. England ($8.00) sit just behind the French, and while recent history suggests they can go deep (Gareth Southgate’s men reached the semi-finals in 2018 and the final of last year’s European Championship), a horrific UEFA Nations League campaign saw fail to win in all six of their games. In fact, the Three Lions haven’t won since March.
— England (@England) November 10, 2022
Spain ($8.50) round out the top five World Cup favourites, however one gets the sense their price is slightly bolstered by historical success. While Luis Enrique’s side is chock full of young talent, there’s a serious question mark of just where their goals will come from.
Ah, the time honoured (and risky) tradition of picking a World Cup dark horse. With ostensibly the 32 best teams in the world coming together, there’s always plenty of value in futures markets prior to the tournament kicking off. And this time is no different. Australia’s Group D opponent Denmark ($23) have emerged as plenty of pundits’ World Cup dark horses with an ultra-experienced side featuring the likes of Christian Eriksen, Kasper Schmeichel and Pierre-Emile Højbjerg.
Speaking of experience, 2018 runner-up Croatia ($36) also looms as another battle-hardened side that could go deep. In what will be 37-year-old Luka Modric’s last World Cup, coach Zlatko Dalić has retained much of the side that played France in the Russia showpiece. Uruguay (also $36) are not only in a friendly group to progress (if such a thing exists at a World Cup) but feature pure goalscoring veterans in the form of Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani. Suarez will be hungry for success (ahem).
Denmark seem to be everyone's World Cup Dark Horse. 👀 pic.twitter.com/To5dsPkH9m
— Squawka (@Squawka) September 28, 2022
What about the Aussies?
Unsurprisingly, not much is expected of this Graham Arnold-coached Socceroos group in Qatar. Although, they might take solace from the fact that even at $251 to take home the World Cup, there’s still ELEVEN nations considered a longer shot in the coming weeks.
Delving into more ‘achievable’ markets with Palmerbet, and the Aussies are still $11 outsiders to progress to the Round of 16 (something they’ve done just once in their history, in 2006) given the strength of France ($1.45 to progress) and Denmark ($2.80). The fixturing, however, could work in their favour. Little is expected from their World Cup opener against France (on November 23, 6am AEDT), and Arnold’s side can use the encounter to dust off the cobwebs before — should they be any hope of progressing — a must-win game against Tunisia ($26 to progress) on November 26. Should they take three points there, it could come down to a do-or-die clash against Denmark on December 1 for Group D progression.
Melbourne City forward Jamie Mclaren ($7.00) starts as favourite to finish as Australia’s leading goalscoring at the tournament.
From arriving in Australia as refugees to being selected to play for the @Socceroos at the @FIFAWorldCup!@awermabil17, @thomasdeng24 and Garang Kuol have inspirational football stories, and now they’re set to showcase their talents to the world! 🇦🇺🙌🏾
— FIFA.com (@FIFAcom) November 8, 2022
Golden Boot/Golden Ball
For the World Cup’s coveted top goalscorer award (the Golden Boot), England’s Harry Kane ($8.00) starts as favourite. And while this makes sense particularly given he will undoubtedly take the side’s penalties, it perhaps also hinges on England going deep in the tournament, which is in doubt given their aforementioned recent struggles. France’s Kylian Mbappe (next at $9.00) or reigning Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema ($13) are hot on Kane’s heels. Equal on $13 is Lionel Messi in his last ever World Cup and the ultra talented but who-knows-what-he’ll-bring-to-the-table Neymar.
The Play of the Tournament (Golden Ball) award is even more open, with Mbappe, Messi and Neymar are joint favourites at $11.00. Fans might look for big value elsewhere, such as Manchester City and Portugal star Bernardo Silva ($41), France’s Antoine Griezmann ($51) or Germany’s Toni Kroos ($51).
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) November 1, 2022