The 2022 World Cup is just days away now with all domestic soccer action wrapped up across the globe. The tournament will see 32 teams travel to the heat of Qatar for several weeks of battle chasing the World Cup trophy.
Bookmakers.com has teamed up with USA legend and 82-time-capped goalkeeper Brad Friedel to preview the tournament, and we will keep Brad on side throughout the whole tournament for analysis, insights and previews of all the biggest games as they come.
Brought to you in association with our World Cup ‘22 betting partners Cobra Bet, you will surely enjoy every game, each ball kicked, every card shown and every VAR reversal in what is set to be a truly unique World Cup experience.
Brad sat down with broadcaster and football fanatic Tom Lee to discuss the opening salvos of the World Cup. Given Brad's history with the Premier League having spent many seasons at the biggest clubs in England, they unsurprisingly focused on Gareth Southgate’s team. When the England chat concluded, Team USA's chances in Qatar were properly dissected. Expect humour, World Cup betting predictions, insights and stories of yesteryear as Brad runs through the toughest groups, likely winner, top goalscorer and dark horses for this wonderful tournament.
Brad discusses the England squad make-up and what decisions face Gareth Southgate regarding team selection. He then delves into how the players will take those decisions. One of the hardest calls to make revolves around the understudies to captain, and striker, Harry Kane. Friedel was more than happy with the Callum Wilson call.
"I just think Wilson will be incredibly happy being in the squad and he'll be incredible, a different perspective for someone coming off the bench and a different type of player coming off the bench. You need someone to really run in between defenders and who will work tirelessly up front."
The question needing to be answered by Friedel, a man who spent so much of his playing career in England, is can they actually end a 56-year drought and land the World Cup in Qatar? There is no doubt that Southgate is a nice guy, but does he have the tactical skill to navigate England to a final, and win that final this time? Brad also gives his thoughts on England's current price available on soccer betting sites.
"You know, this England team, if you look at no matter what 26 players they name for the squad on their given day, Saka what a player, Foden great player, Grealish can open up teams, Sterling can open up teams, Kane can score at any time against anybody, he's one of the best number nines on the globe. So, this team has the ability to do well. I think 7/1 / +700? That's not a bad punt!"
Brad Friedel, a man with 3 World Cups, two Olympics and 82 caps over 13 years for the USA in international football, is clearly looking forward to what the USMNT can do this time in Qatar for the World Cup. Injuries will be tricky to navigate but what about the chances of the US soccer team against England, Wales and Iran in Group B?
“So for the US, it all is going to come down to who is who is fit, because our starting 11 for the US is very, very good and better than what people would say. We have a couple of injury problems.”
Brad knows all about how hard it is to get through to the knockout stages of tournament football, and this year's World Cup in Qatar will be trickier for some big teams given the strength of some of the groups they find themselves in. Tom and Brad preview the worst of the worst and discuss who might come unstuck in their group games and perhaps miss out on a last-16 place.
"I think the group with Spain, because Costa Rica are really good, Japan can cause problems and Costa Rica will not be fazed, by the way with the conditions. And I don't think the Japanese will be fazed too much by the conditions. I think the conditions could affect Germany the most out of all the teams… at this World Cup."
There are always some teams at a World Cup that underperform, with unrest in the camp, injuries to key players, and the inability to handle the pressure of a major tournament all contributing factors. Tom asked Brad which of the big teams - Brazil, Argentina, France, Spain and others - might just not be ready to deliver in the intense heat and cauldron of a World Cup this time around.
"I don't see any out-and-out flops. You know, I don't see too much turmoil. What I would say is, if Belgium, France, and Holland don't get results in their first game, then history would suggest that in-house fighting starts a little bit."
The question we all want to know the answer to is who will win this World Cup in Qatar?
"I'm going to go a little bit nostalgic here because it's probably his last tournament, but I think I'm going to go with Argentina. Ronaldo got his big win in the European Championships and it would be rewarding for as good as Lionel Messi has been to cap it off with a World Cup win. I don't think too many people would argue it."
Tom checks with Brad that if Argentina are to come good in Qatar and win the World Cup then surely that man Messi will be a good call for the Golden Ball? What about top goalscorer too?
"If Lionel Messi ever joins any competition, club or international, he's going to be in the reckoning for player of the tournament. You know he's a focal point of the team. Yeah, I could see him getting it if Argentina lift the trophy. Yes, I could see him being the player of the tournament. I could see him being leading goalscorer as well."
Finally, some players will break through at the World Cup and become household names if they shine in Qatar. Brad gives Tom a few names on his radar to deliver and light up the tournament this time around.
"A guy that you do know is Saka (England). I think how he started the season is just remarkable with Arsenal, special. He is a special talent and somebody like him could really catch the eye of everyone in the world."
Stay with Bookmakers.com for more from Brad Friedel and our host Tom Lee during the World Cup in Qatar as we bring you insight and reviews from the biggest soccer tournament in the world. When considering your own World Cup betting, be sure to check out Cobra Bet for literally hundreds of markets on the World Cup this winter.
More Related Articles