PST’s 2022 World Cup predictions: Standings, winner, awards, USMNT fate

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It’s almost here. While there’s long been a debate about whether the 2022 World Cup would arrive in Qatar, the winter tournament is hitting Middle East pitches for the next five weeks.

The mid-season timing has provided for lots of intrigue and injuries but there are still a lot of traditional favorites as Brazil, France, and England duke it out to be named World Cup winners.

[ MORE: Sadio Mane out of 2022 World Cup ]

There are new faces like Canada and (sorta) the United States men’s national team, too, as the CONCACAF neighbors are joined by fellow confederation mates Costa Rica and Mexico.

It’s set to be Lionel Messi’s last World Cup and probably Cristiano Ronaldo’s as well, though the Portuguese is gathering headlines for any number of reasons heading into Qatar.

Our staff of Joe Prince-Wright, Andy Edwards, and Nick Mendola have laid out their group stage, knockout round, and award predictions below, also making some USMNT projections ahead of the Yanks’ Group B fight with Wales, England, and Iran.


World Cup predictions: Group-by-group

Group A

JPW: Netherlands, Senegal, Ecuador, Qatar
Andy: Netherlands, Senegal, Qatar, Ecuador
Nick: Netherlands, Senegal, Qatar, Ecuador

Group B

JPW: England, Wales, USMNT, Iran
Andy: England, Wales, Iran, USMNT
Nick: England, USMNT, Iran, Wales

Group C

JPW:  Argentina, Poland, Mexico, Saudi Arabia
Andy: Argentina, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Poland
Nick: Argentina, Mexico, Poland, Saudi Arabia

Group D

JPW:  France, Denmark, Australia, Tunisia
Andy: France, Denmark, Tunisia, Australia
Nick: France, Denmark, Tunisia, Australia

World Cup predictions
COPENHAGEN, DENMARK – SEPTEMBER 25: Christian Eriksen of Denmark, Dayot Upamecano of France, Thomas Delaney of Denmark and Antoine Griezmann of France compete for the ball during the UEFA Nations League match between Denmark and France at Parken on September 25, 2022 in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo by Lars Ronbog / FrontZoneSport via Getty Images)

Group E

JPW: Spain, Germany, Japan, Costa Rica
Andy: Germany, Spain, Japan, Costa Rica
Nick: Spain, Japan, Germany, Costa Rica

Group F

JPW: Belgium, Croatia, Canada, Morocco
Andy: Belgium, Croatia, Morocco, Canada
Nick: Belgium, Croatia, Morocco, Canada

Group G

JPW: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon
Andy: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon
Nick: Brazil, Switzerland, Serbia, Cameroon

Group H

JPW: Portugal, Uruguay, Ghana, South Korea
Andy: Uruguay, Portugal, South Korea, Ghana
Nick: Uruguay, South Korea, Portugal, Ghana

World Cup predictions
(Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

World Cup predictions: Knockout rounds

JPW – Round of 16

Netherlands def. Wales
Denmark def. Argentina
France def. Poland
England def. Senegal
Croatia def. Spain
Brazil def. Uruguay
Germany def. Belgium
Serbia def. Portugal

JPW – Quarterfinals

Brazil def. Croatia
Netherlands def. Denmark
Germany def. Serbia
England def. France

JPW – Semifinals

Brazil def. Netherlands
England def. Germany

JPW – Final

Brazil def. England

World Cup predictions
(Photo by Stefano Guidi/Getty Images)

Andy – Round of 16

Wales def. Netherlands
Argentina def. Denmark
Germany def. Croatia
Brazil def. Portugal
England def. Senegal
France def. Mexico
Belgium def. Spain
Uruguay def. Serbia

Andy – Quarterfinals

Argentina def. Wales
Brazil def. Germany
France def. England
Uruguay def. Belgium

Andy – Semifinals

Argentina def. Brazil
France def. Uruguay

Andy – Final

Argentina def. France

World Cup predictions
(Photo by Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Nick – Round of 16

Netherlands def. USMNT
Argentina def. Denmark
Spain def. Croatia
Brazil def. South Korea
England def. Senegal
France def. Mexico
Japan def. Belgium
Uruguay def. Switzerland

Nick – Quarterfinals

Argentina def. USMNT
Brazil def. Spain
France def. England
Uruguay def. Japan

Nick – Semifinals

Brazil def. Argentina
France def. Uruguay

Nick – Final

Brazil def. Uruguay

World Cup schedule
(Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

World Cup predictions: Golden, Silver, and Bronze Balls

JPW

Golden Ball: Vinicius Jr.
Silver Ball: Harry Kane
Bronze Ball: Jamal Musiala

Andy

Golden Ball: Lionel Messi
Silver Ball: Kylian Mbappe
Bronze Ball: Emiliano Martinez

Nick

Golden Ball: Neymar
Silver Ball:  Kylian Mbappe
Bronze Ball: Bruno Guimaraes


World Cup predictions: Golden, Silver, and Bronze Boots

JPW

Golden Boot: Harry Kane
Silver Boot: Kylian Mbappe
Bronze Boot: Neymar

Andy

Golden Boot: Kylian Mbappe
Silver Boot: Vinicius Jr.
Bronze Boot: Romelu Lukaku

Nick

Golden Boot: Neymar
Silver Boot: Luis Suarez
Bronze Boot: Richarlison


World Cup predictions: Who will win the Golden Glove?

JPW: Alisson
Andy: Emiliano Martinez
Nick: Alisson


World Cup predictions: Who will win the Young Player Award?

JPW: Jamal Musiala
Andy: Eduardo Camavinga
Nick: Eduardo Camavinga

France Portraits - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
Eduardo Camavinga of France (Photo by Michael Regan – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

World Cup predictions: All-Star Team/Best XIs

JPW

Alisson
Trippier, Marquinhos, Van Dijk, T. Hernandez
Casemiro, Musiala, Kimmich
Neymar, Kane, Vinicius Jr.

Andy

Martinez
Pavard, Varane, Gimenez, Tagliafico
Casemiro, Bentancur
Vinicius Jr, Messi, Mbappe
Lukaku

Nick
Alisson
Koulibaly, Kounde, Gimenez
Betancur, Camavinga, Mitoma, De Bruyne
Mbappe, Richarlison, Neymar


World Cup predictions: USMNT leading scorer

JPW: Christian Pulisic
Nick: Christian Pulisic


Realistic worst-case result for USMNT

JPW: Out in group stage with 1 point
Andy: Out in group stage with 1 point
Nick: Out in group stage on tiebreakers


Unrealistic worst-case result for USMNT

JPW: Out in group stage with no wins
Andy: Out in group stage with 0 points
Nick: Out in group stage with no goals, one point vs Wales


Realistic best-case result for USMNT

JPW: Round of 16
Andy: Round of 16
Nick: Round of 16


Unrealistic best-case result for USMNT

JPW: Quarterfinals
Andy: Quarterfinals
Nick: Semifinals



Australia vs Denmark: How to watch live, stream link, team news

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This will be an epic battle in Group D as Australia and Denmark can both reach the last 16 of the World Cup heading into their final group game.

STREAM LIVE AUSTRALIA v DENMARK

After their superb win against Tunisia last time out, Australia know a win against Denmark puts them in the last 16 of the World Cup for just the second time in their history. Graham Arnold has had plenty of criticism for the way his team play but they were totally committed against Tunisia and always carried a threat on the counter. They will have to put in a very similar display against the talented Danes but a point could well be enough as Tunisia would have to beat France in the other game in Group D to complicate matters further for Australia and Denmark.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub

As for Denmark, they have had a very poor tournament so far. They were woeful in attack against Tunisia in an opening game stalemate, while they were beaten by France last time out and Kasper Hjulmand has failed to get his team going in attack. Christian Eriksen and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg are trying to drive Denmark on from midfield but they just haven’t look dangerous going forward. They have to win against Australia and then hope Tunisia doesn’t beat France and it goes down to goal difference. 

[ MORE: Group D standings, schedule, scores ]

Here is everything you need for Australia vs Denmark.


How to watch Australia vs Denmark live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 10am ET – Wednesday, November 30
Stadium: Al Janoub Stadium, Al Wakrah
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Australia will set up exactly the same as they did against Tunisia as they will whip in balls to Mitchell Duke who was the hero with his superb flicked header. Both Duke and Arnold pointed to the ‘Aussie Spirit’ getting them the win against Tunisia and there is a real grit and determination about this team.

Denmark know they have to win, so they will go for a more attack-minded lineup and they have the quality to beat Australia. They will likely start Braithwaite and Dolberg as they try to get something going in attack and this is basically a knockout game in the group stage.


Australia quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 38
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified from AFC via the intercontinental playoffs
Coach: Graham Arnold
Key players: Mathew Ryan, Aaron Mooy, Mathew Leckie

Denmark quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 10
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 5
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (Won Group F)
Coach: Kasper Hjulmand
Key players: Kasper Schmeichel, Simon Kjaer, Christian Eriksen


Niclas Fullkrug provides huge point for Germany vs Spain

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A pair of substitutes did the scoring Sunday as Alvaro Morata and Niclas Fullkrug traded second-half goals in a 1-1 draw that leaves World Cup Group E wide open heading into the final match day.

WATCH SPAIN vs GERMANY FULL MATCH REPLAY

Spain now meets Japan will one more point than its final day opponents, while Germany will meet Costa Rica with one point to Los Ticos’ three.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]


Germany stays alive as two giants stage chess match of sorts

Luis Enrique’s Spain predictably didn’t have the control they had over Costa Rica on Sunday, but they did keep around 65 percent of the ball for most of the game and clogged up the heart of the box when Germany got the ball to a dangerous part of town.

When Germany did manage to find the goal, standing there Unai Simon. The Athletic BIlbao keeper was especially impressive when he stopped Jamal Musiala point blank after the hour mark, but his dominance wouldn’t last when Germany found a second bite at the apple from around the same spot.

Hansi Flick would have wanted all three points for his German team after beating Japan on the first day and now will hope Costa Rica looks more like the team waxed 7-0 by Spain and less like the side that pounced on a Japan error and won 1-0 on Sunday.

Spain, meanwhile, suddenly has to look at two solid performances and realize it has to at least draw Spain to reach the knockout rounds.


Stars of the show

Jordi Alba

Unai Simon

Niclas Fullkrug

Leon Goretzka

Jamal Musiala

Spain vs Germany
fotmob.com

Alvaro Morata goal video

Niclas Fullkrug goal video


How to watch Spain vs Germany live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 2pm ET, Sunday (November 27)
Stadium: Al Bayt Stadium, Al Khor
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Streaming en Español: Peacock (all 64 matches)


Key storylines, players to watch closely

Though they’re unlikely to score seven goals again (probably) at this World Cup, Spain will undoubtedly cause one or two more sides (at least) plenty of fits and problems with their high-tempo press. Young and athletic as they were with Pedri, Gavi, Dani Olmo, Ferran Torres and Marco Asensio all in the attacking half, Luis Enrique’s side won’t be getting ahead of itself after just one game, with the experience of Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and Cesar Azpilicueta keeping them grounded and leading the way.

Things in the German camp are quite the opposite right now, as Hansi Flick already finds himself under immense pressure in his first major tournament in charge. Even at 1-0 up, Germany were unconvincing and only in the lead because Japan needed to make three substitutions before they could come to life. Once they saw that Germany were there for the taking, Japan upped their tempo considerably and Die Mannschaft simply couldn’t cope.


Spain quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 7
World Cup titles: 1 (2010)
World Cup appearances: 16
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Luis Enrique
Key players: Rodri, Pedri, Pau Torres, Jordi Alba

Germany quick facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 11
World Cup titles: 4 (1954, 1974, 1990, 2014)
World Cup appearances: 20
How they qualified: Qualified automatically from UEFA (1st place)
Coach: Hansi Flick
Key players: Manuel Neuer, Antonio Rudiger, Joshua Kimmich, Leon Goretzka

Germany vs Spain live
fotmob.com

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Lionel Messi set for richest deal in MLS history, summer move to Beckham’s Miami

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Lionel Messi is close to moving to Inter Miami next summer, where he’ll become the richest player in Major League Soccer history according to a sensational report in The Sunday Times.

Considered by many to be the greatest player of his generation, the 35-year-old Messi is still playing at an elite level with Paris Saint-Germain — and Argentina — and was expected to consider a return to Barcelona among several possible stops after his PSG contract expires this summer.

[ LIVE: Watch World Cup en Espanol en Peacock ]

A report in May said Messi would join Inter Miami and acquire 35% of the David Beckham’s club, as the Argentine already has a home in Miami as does close friend Luis Suarez. Speculation has linked Suarez and Cesc Fabregas to Inter Miami in moves that would be stratospheric for a league that has grown younger but also shown that world-class veterans can star late in their careers.

Messi to Miami: What it means for club, player, MLS

This is the rare deal that will make everyone with an MLS opinion nod at each other, whether defiant of the outdated “retirement league” criticism or those who think the league still needs big names to be relevant.

Messi is closing in on his 700th goal between Barca and PSG and has added 93 more for Argentina, with nearly 400 combined assists through club and country. He’s won seven Ballons d’Or and, according to FBRef.com, still ranks in the 99th percentile in net expected goals and assists, shot-creating actions, passes attempted, and progressive passes. He’d get some criticism from the diehard Cristiano Ronaldo and/or Real Madrid crowd and perhaps from those hoping he’d one day go home to Newell’s Old Boys, but Messi will be closer to Argentina and a closer event for South American and North American fans.

Inter Miami made its first playoff appearance in 2022, its third season in MLS. The club is coached by Phil Neville and boasted Messi pal Gonzalo Higuain until the player retired this summer. Alejandro Pozuelo is also out of contract and star Leonardo Campana was on loan from Wolves this season. Still on the roster are USMNT back DeAndre Yedlin, former Arsenal back Kieran Gibbs. Suffice it to say that if Pozuelo and Carlos Vela can affect a club the way they have in their 30s, Messi’s going to contend for every league honor a la Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Every single MLS club would sell out their dates against Inter Miami well in advance of the game. If you thought David Beckham was a box-office smash, get ready for something even bigger… if in fact this happens.

Spain squad for 2022 World Cup

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The 26 players in the Spain squad for the 2022 World Cup have been confirmed by head coach Luis Enrique.

Spain go into the World Cup as the 5th favorites (+800) to win the trophy as La Roja tries to get past the round of 16 for the first time since winning the World Cup in 2010.

[ MORE: World Cup 2022 hub

Since then, only disappointment with a group-stage exit in 2014 and a round-of-16 elimination by hosts Russia in 2018. Since Vicente del Bosque, the man who guided that Spain side in South Africa, left in 2016, four different coaches have held the head job in five different stints.

Spain will have their hands full in a difficult Group E alongside Germany, Japan and Costa Rica.

[ MORE: Everything you need to know for the World Cup in Qatar ]

Below is a look at the confirmed Spain squad for the World Cup.


Confirmed Spain squad for 2022 World Cup

Goalkeepers: Robert Sanchez, David Raya, Unai Simon

Defenders: Cesar Azpilicueta, Eric Garcia, Pau Torres, Jose Gaya, Hugo Guillamon, Jordi Alba, Dani Carvajal, Aymeric Laporte

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets, Marcos Llorente, Koke, Gavi, Rodri, Carlos Soler, Pedri

Forwards: Alvaro Morata, Marco Asensio, Ferran Torres, Nico Williams, Yeremy Pino, Dani Olmo, Pablo Sarabia, Ansu Fati

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