Messi Tabs Brazil and France as Top Challengers in World Cup, Oddsmakers Agree

  • Messi and Argentina are tied for the third-best odds, behind Brazil and France
  • This is going to be Messi’s final appearance at the World Cup, regardless of result
  • Argentina recently won the Copa America and CONMEBOL–UEFA Cup of Champions
  • Messi also praised England, Germany, and Spain as potential title challengers
Lionel Messi
Lionel Messi named Brazil and France as the two most formidable countries standing between Argentina and the 2022 World Cup trophy. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Counting down the days

Argentinian soccer star Lionel Messi has tabbed Brazil and France as his toughest opponents at the upcoming FIFA World Cup in Qatar.

Brazil is the odds-on favorite to bring home the trophy at +430, while France is second at +550.

There is just one month left until the global tournament kicks off. According to FanDuel, Brazil is the odds-on favorite to bring home the trophy at +430, while France is second at +550. Messi and Argentina check in with +700 odds, tied for third best.

The tournament gets underway on November 20 with a match between the hosts and Ecuador. Argentina and Messi will make their debut two days later when they face Saudi Arabia in Group C’s Matchday one of three.

Messi names his World Cup opponents

Messi is widely regarded as a top-two player of his generation, alongside Portuguese legend Cristiano Ronaldo. His incredible resume has also vaulted him into the discussion for the greatest player of all time. 

The 2022 World Cup will be Messi’s swansong on the international stage. He confirmed his plans to step down from the Argentinian national team in an October 6 interview with Sebastian Vignolo on his show “In First Person.”

The decision has been made. I am counting down the days to the World Cup.”

“This will be my last World Cup—for sure,” said Messi. “The decision has been made. I am counting down the days to the World Cup.”

The only tangible item missing from Messi’s list of accomplishments is a World Cup trophy. He has found other success with Argentina, though.

Messi lifted the Copa America with his home country in July 2021, defeating Brazil in the final 1-0. He also helped win the CONMEBOL–UEFA Cup of Champions by defeating Italy 3-0 earlier this year.

Clearly, the Argentinian team is entering the World Cup with as much momentum as just about anyone. Messi is still greatly concerned, however, by the prospect of facing either France or Brazil en route to the final.

“We always say the same names, but France and Brazil are favorites. They have a clear idea, a similar group for many years and the same coach, [French national team manager Didier] Deschamps and [Brazilian national team manager Adenor Bacchi],” Messi said in a recent interview with DirecTV Sports’ Pablo Giralt. 

Looking into the future

In addition to Brazil and France, Argentina’s captain also singled out England, Germany, and Spain as countries that could present problems for his side. Of those, England has the best odds of winning the World Cup at +700. 

While Messi is ready to step down from the national team, his domestic future is also up in the air. He has not properly gelled with Paris Saint-Germain, with whom he is now in his second season, and could be headed for the exit door once his contract runs out.

a return to FC Barcelona, where he had been since the age of 13, is “always on his mind”

He recently revealed that a return to FC Barcelona, where he had been since the age of 13, is “always on his mind.” With that being said, Messi will not return to his boyhood club as long as Joan Laporta is still the president after he essentially forced Messi out the back door a couple of years ago.

Barca could certainly use its talisman as they are struggling to match the firepower of rivals Real Madrid without their regular #10. 

Major League Soccer club Inter Miami has also been rumored as a potential destination if Messi wants to follow the likes of Giorgio Chiellini, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Andrea Pirlo, and other all-time greats that spent their later playing years in America.