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Europe’s favorites in Qatar – Spain, Germany, France and England – wrestle for World Cup

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The statistics betray the bookmakers for this year’s World Cup as a number of top international teams continue their battle in form.

England, Germany, France and Spain all suffered embarrassing defeats in the Nations League during the international match, which cast doubt on their chances at this year’s Qatar tournament.

And with Brazil and Argentina in South America looking good, and the emergence of a few dark horses in Europe, Sports post assesses which teams have the best chance of glory in Qatar later this year.

The race for World Cup glory later this year has been blown wide open following recent results

SPAIN

Luis Enrique’s side has fallen far from the pedestal they once stood on, in the international football scene.

Over the past decade, Spain’s dominance has seen them become the only national team to win three consecutive major titles – following success at Euro 2008 and 2012, with the 2010 World Cup in between.

In recent years, however, it has seemed that they are far from imitating this success – with their recent defeat in the Nations League, this idea only exacerbated.

Though they dominated possession, Enrique’s side failed to make it count when they were beaten 2-1 by Switzerland at the Estadio de la Romareda.

The 52-year-old boss hopes to turn his fortunes around and avoid an exit from the 16th of the World Cup in Qatar – as they suffered in Russia in 2018.

Spain suffered their first defeat since October 2021 when they lost 2-1 to Switzerland on Saturday

Spain suffered their first defeat since October 2021 when they lost 2-1 to Switzerland on Saturday

GERMANY

After disappointing performances at the most recent European Championship and World Cup, Germany will try to place itself at the top of the football pyramid once again.

And on their journey in the Nations League, they looked good – until their recent encounter with Hungary.

Hansi Flick’s side were undone by an early goal from Ádám Szalai at the Red Bull Arena on Friday night and were later criticized for their poor attacking display despite their wealth of talent.

This first loss of the Flick era suggested that Germany, who face England tonight, will have to solve many of their own problems if they are to stand a chance of conquering the world again.

Germany will try to match their 2014 World Cup glory when they travel to Qatar

Germany will try to match their 2014 World Cup glory when they travel to Qatar

FRANCE

The reigning World Cup champions will have much to prove when Didier Deschamps’ squad lands in Qatar later this year.

For several weeks now, there has been murmurs of discontent around Les Blues and the full effects are beginning to take shape on the pitch.

A disappointing 2-0 defeat to Denmark on Sunday night saw the national side criticized by French newspaper L’Equipe – with some players being given a brutal 3/10 rating.

Complemented by an injury roster that includes the likes of Paul Pogba, Karim Benzema, Ngolo Kante, Hugo Lloris and now Jules Kounde, Deschamps will have a tough job on his hands if Les Blues are to keep their crown later this year.

Reigning champions France have looked like a shadow of themselves in recent weeks

Reigning champions France have looked like a shadow of themselves in recent weeks

ENGLAND

So much can be said for Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions after their humiliating 1-0 defeat to Italy on Thursday.

The England boss has come under fire for lackluster performances in recent months and that continued when Giacomo Raspadori’s attempt relegated England from Tier A of the Nations League.

And now, with a scoreless run of five, with two defeats to Hungary in that series, the team seems a distant memory of the side that made it to the Euro 2020 final and the last four of the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

With a stern test against Germany before their final Nations League game on Monday night, Southgate will have one last chance to put their minds to rest ahead of their World Cup opener against Iran in November.

The Three Lions are winless in their last five competitive games - fall to beat in three

The Three Lions are winless in their last five competitive games – fall to beat in three

THE BEST OF THE REST

With four of the league’s favorites faltering just months before the start of the tournament, the increasing odds for glory in Qatar have propelled other teams to victory this week.

South America’s frontrunners, Brazil and Argentina, enjoyed a successful international breakthrough as they rode to 3-0 wins respectively.

With goals from defender Marquinhos and Tottenham’s Richarlison, Tite’s team defeated Ghana, while Lautaro Martinez and Lionel Messi helped Argentina beat Honduras in the US.

The World Cup in Qatar will mark two decades since both sides won the competition, dating back to Brazil’s 2002 triumph, but the tide may soon turn as Europe’s elite struggle to find form.

Tottenham's Richarlison (R) scored a brace as Brazil beat Ghana 3-0 in a friendly match

Tottenham’s Richarlison (R) scored a brace as Brazil beat Ghana 3-0 in a friendly match

The Netherlands can boast an unbeaten record when they finished first in their Nations League group

The Netherlands can boast an unbeaten record when they finished first in their Nations League group

Meanwhile, a number of dark horses begin to emerge as the Nations League draws to a close.

The Netherlands and Croatia both topped their Tier A groups, suffering just one defeat between their combined 12 matches.

The former secured their first place after Liverpool’s Virgil van Dijk gave Louis van Gaal a 1-0 victory over the Belgian with a well-taken header this weekend.

While Croatia avenged their defeat to Austria on Sunday night from June, when they beat their opponents 3-1 at home thanks to goals from Luka Modric, Marko Livaja and Dejan Lovren.

With Morocco, Canada and an aging Belgian squad in their World Cup group, the 2018 runner-up winners have a good chance of success this winter.

2018's runner-up Croatia could go one step further if they travel to Qatar in November

2018’s runner-up Croatia could go one step further if they travel to Qatar in November

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