World Cup outright predictions: Dark horses Portugal offer great value
- Brazil favourites to lift the trophy
- Unique circumstances mean it could pay to go for an outsider
- Recommended bet: Portugal to win the World Cup
The first ever winter World Cup — and the first to ever be held in the Arab world — gets underway in Qatar next Sunday and it will likely be a tournament like no other.
Taking place in the midst of the European domestic season, this year's World Cup could be impacted by player fatigue more than usual and it looks tough to pick a winner with the likes of Brazil, Argentina, France, Spain and England all fancied to go the distance.
Brazil favourites to claim record sixth title
Not since 2002 have the Selecao won the World Cup but they are shaping up nicely ahead of the tournament and it is easy to see why they are well-fancied.
Their squad features key experience in the likes of Alisson, Thiago Silva and Casemiro, as well as some of the most exciting attacking talents on the planet in Vinicius Junior, Neymar, Raphinha, Richarlson and Gabriel Jesus.
Argentina contenders for Messi swansong
Each of the last four World Cups have gone the way of European nations but in that time, Argentina came the closest of any South American side to lifting the trophy, finishing runners-up to Germany in 2014.
This year, there is plenty of hype surrounding the Albiceleste with Lionel Scaloni's men putting together a 35-match unbeaten run heading into the tournament.
England aim to build on Euro 2020 run
After making the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and then finishing as runners-up at Euro 2020, England have to be mentioned as contenders for the trophy in Qatar but there are also reasons to oppose the Three Lions.
They are 17/2 to go the distance with LiveScore Bet but their group is not necessarily a foregone conclusion with Wales and the USA likely to raise their game against England while Iran are typically stubborn opponents.
Gareth Southgate also still seems unsure of his best starting combination and there are better outright bets out there.
Value could be with dark horses Portugal
Fernando Santos led a much worse side to Euro 2016 glory and his squad for Qatar is littered with stars, including the likes of Joao Cancelo, Ruben Dias, Bernardo Silva, Joao Felix and Bruno Fernandes.
Cristiano Ronaldo will of course be out to prove a point in his final ever World Cup as well and Portugal find themselves in a relatively straightforward group with Uruguay, South Korea and Ghana.
Nobody knows how the first ever winter World Cup could unfold and it could be a tournament full of shock twists and turns.