Arsene Wenger has named France as his favourites to win the 2022 World Cup.
The reigning World Cup champions begin their defence against Australia on Tuesday evening, while Didier Deschamps’ side will also play Denmark and Tunisia in Group D.
France are without several key players heading into the tournament, including Karim Benzema, Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante, Presnel Kimpembe and Christopher Nkunku.
But Wenger believes France’s pre-World Cup setbacks could be a positive for Deschamps’ side in Qatar.
‘If Didier Deschamps manages to ensure the necessary stability on the defensive, then the reigning world champion will have a good chance of successfully defending his title.
‘When you’re the reigning world champion, the biggest danger is not having any worries. The teams that take it easy and aren’t focused enough on their task almost always get a nasty surprise and don’t stay in the race for long.
‘To be honest, I even consider it good news that the French national team has work to do. As a result, she had to renew a few things and I am now firmly assuming that this can only have a positive effect on the performance in Doha, because Didier Deschamps’ team will be even more focused as a result.’
Wenger also believes Brazil, Argentina, England and Spain as France’s closest challengers.
‘In the past 12-15 months, the Brazilian national team has made the best impression,’ said Wenger.
‘A very experienced side with a leader like Neymar who has been in fantastic shape for the last six months.
‘Argentina will certainly also be a factor to be reckoned with. Lionel Messi will do everything to break this curse and finally become world champion.
‘England definitely has the potential to go far. Gareth Southgate’s team has always finished in the last four in previous tournaments. This is certainly no coincidence.
‘With Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden, Mason Mount, Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford, and so on, England have plenty of young talent in their ranks.
‘I also see Spain, which should never be written off, because technically there is enormous potential in this team, especially with the defensive midfield duo of Pedri and Gavi.’
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