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The Curses of the Qatar 2022 World Cup. Will Any Be Broken?

With the arrival of the FIFA World Cup in Qatar 2022, the statistics mark trends that curse players or teams. Will this be the year records and anti-records are broken?

Karim Benzema and France Soccer Team

Photos: IG-karimbenzema, IG-equipedefrance

LatinAmerican Post | Santiago Gómez Hernández

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Leer en español: Las maldiciones del mundial de Catar 2022. ¿Se romperá alguna?

The countdown is almost at 0 and the 4 and a half years that football lovers had to wait is about to end. The first World Cup in the Middle East is the setting for a new leaf in the book of great feats.

Each fan will have their favorite and will expect a win from the team they are supporting. However, there are certain trends that already seem like curses. Will Qatar be the perfect place for any of these curses to be broken and a team to be crowned champion despite the trends?

You can also read: The 5 Teams that Can Surprise in Qatar 2022

FIFA Ranking Curse

Since 1993, FIFA has published a list in which it classifies all the teams in the world. According to its recent results, the highest instance of world football defines the order of the best national teams. An important fact is that no team that reaches the World Cup first in the ranking has been crowned champion.

In the United States `94, Germany came as favorite and first in the FIFA ranking, the champion ended up being Brazil, number 3 prior to the event. In France 1998, Brazil was only runner-up, and France, the hosts who came 18 to the event, took the crown. 4 years later, the French came in 1st place and Brazil (second) was crowned in the final against Germany (number 11). In Germany 2006, Brazil could not repeat the title, despite being the favorite according to the list, and the champion was Italy, which came in 13th place.

Finally, Brazil returned to favoritism before the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, but the champion was Spain in 2nd place. In Brazil 2014, the red was the favorite, but the title went to Germany (2nd place in the FIFA Ranking). In Russia, the favorite was Germany, but the title went to France, who arrived as the seventh candidate.

For this year, Brazil bears the burden of being the ranking candidate, but it also has a payroll and a performance in the South American qualifiers that support its favoritism. But breaking the curse of the FIFA Ranking does not seem like an easy task.

The Champion's Curse

One of the main curses that has never been broken is that of the current champion. Since 1962, a world champion has been able to repeat the title consecutively. The last to achieve it was Brazil, when they repeated the title in 1958 and 1962 in Sweden and Chile.

Added to this additional weight, in recent years, the current champion has not only not repeated the title or reached the final, but ends up disappointing and is eliminated in the group stage. This was the case with Italy in 2010, Spain in 2014 and Germany in 2018.

Now it is the turn of France, a selection with luxury names, but that has not shown signs of being reliable. In the last European Championship (played in 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic), France only reached the round of 16, being eliminated against Switzerland. To this must also be added their failure in the current Nations League, remaining 3 in their group (behind Croatia and Denmark, and only above Austria). This prevents him from defending the 2020-2021 title.

Added to this is the absence of Paul Pogba and N'Golo Kanté, two of the title figures in 2018 and key figures of the team.

Golden Ball

Additionally, France will also have to combat one of the recent curses: the current Ballon d'Or is left without a World Cup. This year, the best player of the season was Karim Benzema. The striker for Real Madrid and the French national team was awarded the trophy that endorses him as the best player on earth. His League of Spain and the Champions League endorse it. However, it is possible that this frustrates him and his team being world champion. Normally, the winner of the World Cup gets the Ballon D'Or, but not the other way around, and this year, by calendar and first the individual prize was awarded, and then the World Cup is played.

Non-European Champion

Another anti-record that the South American teams (and the rest of the world) carry is the string of European titles. It was at the beginning of this century that the crown was worn by the last South American: Brazil. Since then, Italy, Spain, Germany, and France have passed. In addition to getting 3 of the 4 runners-up since then. Only Argentina could reach silver in 2014 when they lost to the Teutons.

Precisely, this anti-record is the one that both Brazil and Argentina, the top favorites outside of UEFA, want to break. Those, led by Neymar and Lionel Messi (respectively), hope to lift an elusive title for years or decades.

However, spirits and optimism are on the rise. Brazil is presented as a competitive and solid team, while Argentina is motivated after winning the Copa América in 2021, ending a drought of almost 20 years, when Argentina won the title in 1993. In addition, it will very possibly be the last World Cup of Lionel Messi, and his opportunities to give his country the 3rd world title, is running out.

Netherlands

The most anti-record team is, without a doubt, Holland (or the Netherlands). There is no other country in the world that has reached more World Cup finals without winning, not even one (Hungary and Czechoslovakia reached 2). In 1974, 1978 and 2010, the Dutch were on the verge of eternal glory, but Germany, Argentina, and Spain (respectively) snatched their chance to claim champions. To this, is added a 4th place in 98 and third in 2014.

This happens despite being one of the most powerful teams in history and being in the golden books of football with the Clockwork Orange of the 70's, when he dazzled the world with Total Football. Possibly the only team that changed the sport without becoming world champion.