FIFA World Cup: Portugal worth a punt…

The 2022 FIFA World Cup kicks off on Sunday, with Qatar hosting the first such tournament in the Middle East, as well as the first to take play in the European winter.

While the delay of a few months means no 40+ temperatures, winter remains above the 20 mark in Qatar, and so climate could still have an impact. With this in mind, the odds of the two South America giants, Brazil and Argentina, have shortened into the event. However, if they both win their groups, as they should, they are drawn to meet in the semifinal – a coin flip, and something that puts us off betting on either to triumph given their short prices.

All of the major European rivals have questions about their form this year, judging from the results from the Nations League. Spain and Portugal took points off each other as well as both losing to Switzerland. France and Germany registered only one win from six matches, and England none.

Given the climate, we’re going to side with a southern European side. Spain have drawn Germany in their group, which means their potential route to the final is uncertain, hence we’re drawn to their neighbours, Portugal. They have an abundance of talent, have won a major tournament in the last decade, should avoid the South American giants until the final and are quoted at a nice price.

Much may depend on how their talisman Cristiano Ronaldo is used, but he will undoubtedly want to end his storied international career with a bang.

The race to become the leading scorer in the tournament, the Golden Boot, is also wide open. The average number of goals needed to claim the crown across the last five World Cups has been exactly six, with the majority of the strikes tending to come in the group stages.

With this in mind, we like the look of France’s group, with Denmark, Australia and Tunisia all games that could be won in style. Topping Group D would give France a likely route of Mexico, England and one of Belgium or Portugal, all winnable.

Karim Benzema has had a stellar 2021/22 season with Real Madrid, scoring 44 goals in 46 appearances across all competitions, culminating in him winning the Ballon d’Or. He scored four at Euro 2020 even as France suffered a shock last-16 exit, and has netted six goals in his last seven competitive appearances for France. He’s a hefty price at 20/1, and we’ll be on.


Portugal to win, 1 pt, at 17/1, Unibet

Benzema to win Golden Boot, 1 pt, at 20/1, Unibet

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