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PST’s 2022 World Cup predictions: Standings, winner, awards, USMNT fate

It’s almost here. While there’s long been a debate about whether the 2022 World Cup would arrive in Qatar, the winter tournament is hitting Middle East pitches for the next five weeks.

The mid-season timing has provided for lots of intrigue and injuries but there are still a lot of traditional favorites as Brazil, France, and England duke it out to be named World Cup winners.

[ MORE: Sadio Mane out of 2022 World Cup ]

There are new faces like Canada and (sorta) the United States men’s national team, too, as the CONCACAF neighbors are joined by fellow confederation mates Costa Rica and Mexico.

It’s set to be Lionel Messi’s last World Cup and probably Cristiano Ronaldo’s as well, though the Portuguese is gathering headlines for any number of reasons heading into Qatar.

Our staff of Joe Prince-Wright, Andy Edwards, and Nick Mendola have laid out their group stage, knockout round, and award predictions below, also making some USMNT projections ahead of the Yanks’ Group B fight with Wales, England, and Iran.

World Cup predictions: Group-by-group

Group A

JPW: Netherlands, Senegal, Ecuador, Qatar
Andy: Netherlands, Senegal, Qatar, Ecuador
Nick: Netherlands, Senegal, Qatar, Ecuador

Group B

JPW: England, Wales, USMNT, Iran
Andy: England, Wales, Iran, USMNT
Nick: England, USMNT, Iran, Wales

Group C

JPW: Argentina, Poland, Mexico, Saudi Arabia
Andy: Argentina, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, Poland
Nick: Argentina, Mexico, Poland, Saudi Arabia

Group D
JPW: France, Denmark, Australia, Tunisia
Andy: France, Denmark, Tunisia, Australia
Nick: France, Denmark, Tunisia, Australia

World Cup predictions

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK - SEPTEMBER 25: Christian Eriksen of Denmark, Dayot Upamecano of France, Thomas Delaney of Denmark and Antoine Griezmann of France compete for the ball during the UEFA Nations League match between Denmark and France at Parken on September 25, 2022 in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo by Lars Ronbog / FrontZoneSport via Getty Images)

FrontzoneSport via Getty Images

Group E
JPW: Spain, Germany, Japan, Costa Rica
Andy: Germany, Spain, Japan, Costa Rica
Nick: Spain, Japan, Germany, Costa Rica

Group F
JPW: Belgium, Croatia, Canada, Morocco
Andy: Belgium, Croatia, Morocco, Canada
Nick: Belgium, Croatia, Morocco, Canada

Group G
JPW: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon
Andy: Brazil, Serbia, Switzerland, Cameroon
Nick: Brazil, Switzerland, Serbia, Cameroon

Group H
JPW: Portugal, Uruguay, Ghana, South Korea
Andy: Uruguay, Portugal, South Korea, Ghana
Nick: Uruguay, South Korea, Portugal, Ghana

World Cup 2022 schedule

SOCHI, RUSSIA - JUNE 30: Luis Suarez of Uruguay sahkes hands wuth Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal during the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Round of 16 match between Uruguay and Portugal at Fisht Stadium on June 30, 2018 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Julian Finney/Getty Images)

Getty Images

World Cup predictions: Knockout rounds

JPW - Round of 16
Netherlands def. Wales
Denmark def. Argentina
France def. Poland
England def. Senegal
Croatia def. Spain
Brazil def. Uruguay
Germany def. Belgium
Serbia def. Portugal

JPW - Quarterfinals

Brazil def. Croatia
Netherlands def. Denmark
Germany def. Serbia
England def. France

JPW - Semifinals

Brazil def. Netherlands
England def. Germany

JPW - Final

Brazil def. England

World Cup predictions

TURIN, ITALY - NOVEMBER 17: Neymar Jr of Brazil reacts during the Brazil Training Session at Juventus Training Center on November 17, 2022 in Turin, Italy. (Photo by Stefano Guidi/Getty Images)

Getty Images

Andy - Round of 16

Wales def. Netherlands
Argentina def. Denmark
Germany def. Croatia
Brazil def. Portugal
England def. Senegal
France def. Mexico
Belgium def. Spain
Uruguay def. Serbia

Andy - Quarterfinals

Argentina def. Wales
Brazil def. Germany
France def. England
Uruguay def. Belgium

Andy - Semifinals

Argentina def. Brazil
France def. Uruguay

Andy - Final

Argentina def. France

World Cup predictions

Lionel Messi of Argentina taking the ball down during the FIFA World Cup match France versus Argentina at Kazan Arena, Kazan, Russia on June 30, 2018. (Photo by Ulrik Pedersen/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

NurPhoto via Getty Images

Nick - Round of 16

Netherlands def. USMNT
Argentina def. Denmark
Spain def. Croatia
Brazil def. South Korea
England def. Senegal
France def. Mexico
Japan def. Belgium
Uruguay def. Switzerland

Nick - Quarterfinals

Argentina def. USMNT
Brazil def. Spain
France def. England
Uruguay def. Japan

Nick - Semifinals

Brazil def. Argentina
France def. Uruguay

Nick - Final

Brazil def. Uruguay

World Cup schedule

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 16: Neymar of Brazil and Luis Suarez of Uruguay during the International Friendly between Brazil and Uruguay at Emirates Stadium on November 16, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images)

Getty Images

World Cup predictions: Golden, Silver, and Bronze Balls

Golden Ball: Vinicius Jr.
Silver Ball: Harry Kane
Bronze Ball: Jamal Musiala


Golden Ball: Lionel Messi
Silver Ball: Kylian Mbappe
Bronze Ball: Emiliano Martinez


Golden Ball: Neymar
Silver Ball: Kylian Mbappe
Bronze Ball: Bruno Guimaraes

World Cup predictions: Golden, Silver, and Bronze Boots

Golden Boot: Harry Kane
Silver Boot: Kylian Mbappe
Bronze Boot: Neymar


Golden Boot: Kylian Mbappe
Silver Boot: Vinicius Jr.
Bronze Boot: Romelu Lukaku


Golden Boot: Neymar
Silver Boot: Luis Suarez
Bronze Boot: Richarlison

World Cup predictions: Who will win the Golden Glove?

JPW: Alisson
Andy: Emiliano Martinez
Nick: Alisson

World Cup predictions: Who will win the Young Player Award?

JPW: Jamal Musiala
Andy: Eduardo Camavinga
Nick: Eduardo Camavinga

Liverpool transfer news

DOHA, QATAR - NOVEMBER 17: Eduardo Camavinga of France poses during the official FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 portrait session on November 17, 2022 in Doha, Qatar. (Photo by Michael Regan - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images)

FIFA via Getty Images

World Cup predictions: All-Star Team/Best XIs


Alisson Trippier, Marquinhos, Van Dijk, T. Hernandez Casemiro, Musiala, Kimmich Neymar, Kane, Vinicius Jr.


Martinez Pavard, Varane, Gimenez, Tagliafico Casemiro, Bentancur Vinicius Jr, Messi, Mbappe Lukaku

Nick Alisson Koulibaly, Kounde, Gimenez Betancur, Camavinga, Mitoma, De Bruyne Mbappe, Richarlison, Neymar

World Cup predictions: USMNT leading scorer

JPW: Christian Pulisic
Nick: Christian Pulisic

Realistic worst-case result for USMNT

JPW: Out in group stage with 1 point
Andy: Out in group stage with 1 point
Nick: Out in group stage on tiebreakers

Unrealistic worst-case result for USMNT

JPW: Out in group stage with no wins
Andy: Out in group stage with 0 points
Nick: Out in group stage with no goals, one point vs Wales

Realistic best-case result for USMNT

JPW: Round of 16
Andy: Round of 16
Nick: Round of 16

Unrealistic best-case result for USMNT

JPW: Quarterfinals
Andy: Quarterfinals
Nick: Semifinals

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