The FIFA World Cup is upon us and excitement is building for what should be an unpredictable tournament.
Several Paris Saint-Germain superstars will lead nations favored to win the tournament, including Kylian Mbappé with France, Lionel Messi with Argentina, and Neymar Jr. with Brazil, but several others could surprise many of the World Cup 2022 betting predictions.
Let’s start with Achraf Hakimi who will represent Morocco. There are few better at the fullback position than the 24-year-old. His pace alone can create separation and he is a great crosser of the ball. Having played for Real Madrid, Inter Milan, Borussia Dortmund, and now PSG, Hakimi has been on the big stage and should perform well against Belgium, Croatia, and upstart Croatia. I expect Hakimi to have a great tournament and alongside Chelsea FC’s Hakim Ziyech, I predict Morocco will surprise and advance to the knockout stage.
Marquinhos will join his teammate with the juggernaut that is Brazil but he has a lot to prove. Since PSG’s loss to Real Madrid last season in the Champions League, Marquinhos hasn’t lived up to expectations. He was once considered one of the top center-backs in world football, but he’s fallen off a bit. It might be the lack of defensive talent around him at PSG or it might be something else. Hopefully, playing with friend and former PSG teammate, Thiago Silva, will help return Marquinhos to his former glory. If Brazil is to win the World Cup, it will be just as much because of his defensive prowess as it is Neymar’s flair in attack.
I’ve saved my best for last. Keylor Navas with Costa Rica could shock the world. They’ve been drawn into Group E against Spain, Germany, and Japan. Now, I’m not saying they’ll win the group or even qualify to the knockout round, but I don’t think they’ll finish last and I think they’ll put a scare into one of the big boys and it’s all because of Navas. He’s won multiple Champions League titles with Real Madrid and there’s really no reason he isn’t PSG’s starter now other than Gianluigi Donnarumma is younger and had a higher transfer fee. Costa Rica will be able to grind out low-scoring draws and frustrate opponents into making mistakes.
Outside of the aforementioned players, PSG will be well-represented. Vitinha, Danilo, and Nuno Mendes will suit up for Portugal and Carlos Soler and Pablo Sarabia will represent Spain. Ultimately, I think it will be one of PSG’s big three who will be lifting the trophy when it’s all said and done.