A World cup is always a special event and an emotional one too. There are the players who may be making their final appearance in the finals. Then (aside from 1966), there’s’ that moment when England’s title hopes came to an end. What can we expect in 2022?
Qatar is likely to see some major farewells. Cristiano Ronaldo is likely to be playing in his final World Cup. Any list of the top five players of all-time is likely to see his name included. He’s broken many footballing records but yet to win a World Cup. Could that change for Ronaldo in Qatar?
2006 saw Ronaldo play in the World Cup semi-final. Portugal’s dream of a first final ended with a 2-0 defeat by France. Since then, despite winning the European Championships and Nations League, Portugal have had a poor World Cup record. Even with Ronaldo in the side, they’ve failed to make it past the last 16 and didn’t even get out of their group in 2014.
They nearly didn’t make it to Qatar, having to come through the play-offs. Ronaldo last scored in a World Cup game when scoring a hat-trick against Luxembourg in October 2021 and two of those were penalties.
This is a tournament that will have a massive amount of bets placed on it. That will include gamblers in New York and New Jersey as the US gambling industry continues to expand. In 2026, the World Cup will also host New Jersey and New York. You can already bet on the US team online in New Jersey, the expectation for the US team to win is +25,000, the chances, unfortunately, of reaching the playoffs tend to be zero, predict NJ online sports betting comparison site.
Ronaldo will have a couple of milestones to aim for in Qatar. He’s scored 117 goals in international football but 20 have come in friendlies. Three in the World Cup finals will take him to 100 competitive international goals.
That would also take him to 10 goals in finals and reaching that mark would take him above Eusebio who’s the top Portuguese goal scorer in the finals with nine. His fans will swiftly mention how all those goals came in 1966, the only finals he ever played in.
What chance has Ronaldo of lifting the World Cup trophy in December? Portugal has a potentially difficult group to get out of. They take on South Korea, Ghana and Uruguay, who knocked them out of the 2018 World Cup.
If they win Group H, then they’ll face the country finishing second in Group G. That could well be Switzerland but might even be Brazil. Belgium are their likely quarter final opponents. If Portugal were to only finish second in their group, then the last 16 could see them up against Brazil.
Ronaldo insists this won’t be his last international tournament. That is most likely going to be at Euro 2024.. He’s known for his fitness and that shouldn’t be too much of a problem. After all, he’s spent a lot of this season sitting on a bench now he’s not a first-choice starter for Manchester United.
The goals aren’t flowing in the way he used to.. Last year saw him score 13 goals in 14 games for Portugal. 2022 has seen score two in seven internationals, both in the Nations League win over Switzerland
You can never rule out Cristiano Ronaldo. This isn’t just an important tournament for his international career. There will be plenty of talk about a possible move in January. Scoring a few goals in Qatar will get a few more clubs interested in signing him.