The 2022 FIFA World Cup hosts a field of 32 countries all hoping to be the last one standing. And for every soccer power like Italy that failed to qualify, a door has opened for another, like Canada, to impress on the global stage. These are all the teams competing in the World Cup with our predictions of how far they'll go.
Play In Teams: Peru, Costa Rica, Wales, Australia, Ukraine, UAE, New Zealand, And Scotland
Eight nations will be vying for the final three World Cup spots, and it's safe to guess that none of them will fair well if they make it to the group stage.
The most notable names here are Costa Rica, Peru, and Wales, all of which have become early favorites to land the final three spots. But still, they won't all be Cinderella stories.
Saudi Arabia finished at the top of their table during qualifying but will struggle mightily during the World Cup if they can't figure out how to score more goals.
In 10 qualifying matches, Saudi Arabia only scored 12 goals. That number was enough to get through to the big show but won't get them past the group stage as the World Cup kicks off.
For the World Cup group draw, Tunisia ended up being put in the same group as France and Denmark, two world scoring powerhouses. With a lack of offensive power of their own, Tunisia likely won't make it out of the group stage.
At the very least, Tunisia could give any team in their group a run for their money, even if they run out of steam at the end of a full 90 minutes.
As the beneficiaries of representing the host country, Qatar did not have to qualify for the World Cup, they were automatically placed into the group stage draw. But how much luck will they continue to have?
Qatar won the 2019 Asian Cup but should have a hard time getting past their draw mates: the Netherlands, Ecuador, and Senegal.
Having only missed two World Cups since 1998, it's not shocking the country qualified this year. It will be shocking if they make it out of the group stage, though.
Iran opens their run against England, one of the top-ranked teams in the world. They'll need their defense to step up to have a chance to survive.
Japan qualified for their seventh straight World Cup but drew into one of the hardest groups in the competition. Going up against Germany and Spain, it won't be an easy task for Japan to make it out of the group stage.
The bottom line is this: as experienced as Japan is, it will take a miracle for them to place second in their group.
If any lower-ranked team has a chance at a Cinderella run this World Cup, it's Canada. The Canadiens dominated their qualifying run and appear to have a bit of magic in their legs this year.
How long that magic will last is the only question. Still, don't be surprised if Canada pulls off an upset and makes it out of the group stage.
One of the younger teams in the World Cup this year, Ecuador will be a team to watch, even if they don't win. Considered full of talent but lacking age and experience, this could become one of the best international teams in the world.
Ecuador will open their official World Cup run against Qatar, which will be must-see TV.
Ghana didn't put on a good show during the Africa Cup of Nations, but luckily for them, that didn't affect their World Cup chances. Ghana played Nigeria in a play-off, edging out their rival to compete on the world stage.
But the group stage at the World Cup might be as far as Ghana goes. The nation got drawn into one of, if not the hardest group.
A team with less talent than iterations past, Cameroon could still make waves at the World Cup. Their last-minute, game-sealing goal against Algeria in their World Cup play-off showed just how much potential they have.
Cameroon also got a fairly neutral group draw, giving them a decent chance to be one of the lower-ranked teams to make it into the elimination stage.
Morocco was the little team that wouldn't stop scoring during their World Cup Qualifying run. They scored three or more goals in four of their final six matches, letting the rest of the world know not to rest on them.
Morocco will need a lot of firepower to keep up once the tournament starts and should be one of the more interesting teams to watch.
Coming to the World Cup with one of the biggest stars in the world, Son Heung-min, South Korea is poised to make a splash. If they can reach the knockout round, then anything can happen.
Son has honed his game in the English Premier League playing for Tottenham. That high level of competition should help him lead South Korea against the best of the best.
Mexico isn't the national team it used to be. They've struggled in CONCACAF play recently and nearly failed to qualify for the World Cup. Now they face a group with Argentina and Poland.
Getting out of the group stage just might not be plausible for Mexico this year, but the country might also keep its eyes on development as it will be one of the host countries in 2026.
Already surprising the field with an upset victory over Portugal during qualifying, Serbia will look to keep the good vibes going when the World Cup starts.
And if Serbia really wants to announce they've arrived on the world stage, they have no better opportunity than in their group draw. An upset over Brazil would easily put every other national team on high alert.
Uruguay sits in one of the most interesting group draws in the World Cup. Portugal should be a shoo-in to finish at the top of the group, but then it's a toss-up between Uruguay, Ghana, and South Korea.
One spot for three teams that ends up being a toss-up. Uruguay, on paper, might be the best of the three, but it's just a very slight advantage.
One of the most talented teams the United States has ever had almost didn't qualify after a messy looking qualifying run with head coach Greg Berhalter.
Will the team with their newish coach be fully gelled by the time the World Cup starts, or will the international exposure show why a Major League Soccer coach shouldn't be the head of a national team?
Switzerland is very good at qualifying for major international tournaments, and here they are again at the 2022 World Cup. They also benefit from a group draw that includes Serbia and Cameroon.
Getting out of the group stage will be easy. Making it far in the knockout round will be the big test this year.
Croatia managed to get drawn into a group with Canada, Belgium, and Morocco, making their path to the knockout stage a fairly simple one. That is unless Canada comes through as this year's tournament Cinderella.
All eyes for Croatia fans will be on Luka Modric, who is competing in his fourth World Cup and is still competing at a high level. Will he see glory in his final run for gold?
Poland has one of the best players in the world on their side with Robert Lewandowski, and his presence alone should be enough to push the team through the group stage.
Of course, it's one match in that group stage that will have everyone watching. When Poland goes up against Argentina, it will be must-see TV as the Bayern Munich star faces off against soccer icon Lionel Messi.
Senegal's national team may not be as well known as some others, but they've always shown how talented they are at the World Cup. They should have no problem advancing to the knockout stage thanks to stars Sadio Mane, Edouard Mendy, and Kalidou Koulibaly.
In 2002, Senegal shocked the world by making it to the quarterfinals. This year they could surprise again by going even further.
Despite being ranked so high, Denmark could find it tough to advance out of the group stage. France will surely win the group, leaving Denmark to battle for second against Tunisia and either Australia, the UAE, or Peru.
This has the makeup of a group where what you expect to happen... won't.
Belgium knows all about what it takes to advance into the knockout round of the World Cup and eventually win it all. That road, of course, is filled with Peril.
When Belgium advances out of the group stage, they are likely to face either Spain or Germany. Those matchups won't be easy, proving the former champions could be a simple one and done in 2022.
Christiano Ronaldo is one of the best soccer players in the world. He has also never won the World Cup. According to many analysts, this could be his last shot as he may well be retired four years from now.
Will Portugal find the magic to bring their headliner home a winner... finally?
The Netherlands has only gotten better since the last World Cup, and this year have a legitimate shot at winning it all. Led by Virgil van Dijk and Matthijs de Ligt, this isn't a side anyone will want to go up against in the knockout round.
The country is no stranger to deep World Cup runs, and this year they'll do their best to be the last team standing.
Germany didn't exactly strike gold with their group stage draw. Although they will be expected to make it to the knockout stage, there's no guarantee. Costa Rica and Japan won't go down easily as the Germans look to start a deep run.
Then again, Germany should be playing angry soccer after their disappointing showing in the last World Cup tournament.
One of the favorites to win the 2022 World Cup gets to go up against Germany in the group stage in a match that everyone needs to watch. These are two world powerhouses essentially previewing what could be the World Cup Final.
Spain has a lot of young talent, and a deep run should cement their current generation of players as global phenoms.
England hasn't been this poised to win the World Cup since the last time they won it all in the '60s. Led by Harry Kane, the team is stacked with talent and will look to prove their deep run in the Euros was no mistake.
Then again, it's very likely that when England makes it to the knockout stage they will face France in the quarterfinals...
Argentina and Lionel Messi will have no issues getting out of the World Cup's weakest group stage. Getting to the knockout round that easily could cause issues, though, if Argentina gets cocky.
At this level of international play, we doubt Argentina gets too big for itself as they try to make Messi a World Cup champ for the first time.
Familiarity is the name of the game for Brazil. The country will face familiar foes in the group stage, having been placed in groups with Serbia, Cameroon, and Switzerland across the last two World Cups.
That familiarity should serve Brazil well, but it could also prove dangerous if their opponents use their tactics against them.
The defending World Cup Champs look poised to defend their title this year - if they can make it out of a tricky group stage ripe with upset potential.
We've already covered the matchup between Denmark and France, which could be a win or loss. If they lose, it could spell doom as Peru is a sneaky team to have to face on the road to repeat glory.