world cup soccer

Glory, heartbreak, and a Cinderella story are all on the horizon this winter as the Qatar 2022 World Cup prepares to kick off. Powerhouses such as Brazil, Germany, Argentina and France will look to continue traditions of success while younger squads such as the United States, Uruguay and the Netherlands look to shock the world. The News Record’s staff attempts to solidify predictions ahead of the world’s biggest tournament.

Aidan Leonard

Champion: Brazil

Second Place: Germany

Golden Boot: Karim Benzema (France)

A World Cup like any other will kick off on Nov. 20 in what will be the final run for both Christiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to win their respective country the top prize in the sport. 

South American giants Brazil and Argentina are the odds-on favorite, but the young and scrappy American side is looking to cause havoc. Placed in a group with Wales, England, and Iran, the U.S. will finish second in Group B. 

Then in the Round of 16, a Christian Pulisic penalty kick in extra time will get them past Netherlands before falling to Argentina in the quarterfinals. As long as the Americans can get out of the group stage, the tournament will be viewed as a success due to the squad’s young age. 

In every World Cup, one giant gets knocked out early. In 2014, it was Spain and in 2018 it was Germany. This year, it’s going to be Belgium. Slotted in Group F with Croatia, Morocco and Canada, Belgium’s aging “golden generation” will lose its first two matches and finish last in the group. 

In the semifinals, Argentina will face off against Brazil and Germany will take on France. Brazil will advance on penalties and Germany will hold off the defending World Cup champs 2-0. This will set up an Argentina and France rematch from 2018, but this time for third place. 

In the final, Brazil will get its revenge from the embarrassing, historic 7-1 loss in 2014 in the semifinals to take the prize. Brazil will win the World Cup final 2-1 thanks to a Vinícius Júnior goal in the 79th minute. It will be Brazil's first World Cup victory since 2002, and the perfect way to send off the likely-done Neymar Jr.

Landon Bartlett

Winner: Germany

Second Place: England

Golden Boot: Thomas Müller (Germany)

What a bounce back it would be, going from the world’s laughing stock in 2018 to World Cup champions in 2022. Fortunately for Germany, seven of its star players play for the same squad, Bayern Munich, and will bring the chemistry needed to make a deep tournament run. Germany will be spearheaded by World Cup superstar Thomas Müller, who currently sits at an active player-best 10 goals and six assists in previous World Cups.

The United States and England will battle atop of Group B, though the United States will bow out of the tournament in the Round of 16 whereas England advances to the final. Heartbreak will encompass the prime England squad as it loses its second major-tournament final in a row.

Shocking soccer fans around the globe will be the young Uruguay squad, spearheaded by talent all around Spain’s La Liga. Uruguay will power through a gauntlet of Portugal, Switzerland, and Belgium before eventually falling to England in the Semifinals. Federico Valverde, just 24 years old, will cement himself as one of the world’s biggest stars as Uruguay makes its deepest tournament run since 2010.

France will be the tournament’s biggest shock, bowing out in the group stage and continuing the World Cup curse — the past four winners have not made it out of the group stage.

Zac Swain

Champion: Brazil

Second Place: Argentina

Golden Boot: Neymar Jr. (Brazil)

Argentina and Brazil will make it to the final. Two of Paris Saint Germain’s superstars will face off against each other, Lionel Messi captaining Argentina and Neymar Jr. leading Brazil. It’s easy to imagine Neymar Jr. leading Brazil to the top in Qatar beating Argentina (2-1). The winger has had a stellar season for PSG up to this point, and he won’t slow down in the World Cup. Neymar is second in goals (11) and assists (eight) in France’s Ligue 1.

A big talking point in the World Cup is the United States. The U.S. will make it out of the group stage with England and run into the Netherlands in the round of 16. I think Pulisic’s U.S. will take down superstar Frenkie De Jong’s Netherlands, 3-2. The U.S. will then run into one of the greatest players of all time in the quarter finals, Messi, and Argentina. Unfortunately for the Americans, their World Cup hopes will end there, falling to Argentina 3-1.

Denmark is the sleeper team for this year’s World Cup. The Danish made it to the semifinals in the 2020 European Champions, which was last year due to Covid-19 delaying the tournament. Denmark has a star-studded midfield headed by Christian Eriksen, who is joined by Pierre-Emile Højbjerg and Thomas Delaney. Those three stars will look to take Denmark deep in the tournament.