Warsaw, Poland – Every country dreams of winning the World Cup, and even though the host nation of 2022 (Qatar) was a controversial pick, this tournament is no different. Poland have never won it, and their best results of third (1974 and 1982) were a long time ago. But how far can they go this time, and what are their odds?
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Escaping Group C
As the pandemic hopefully recedes permanently, Poland is very much looking to put the global healthcare crisis behind it and the football team will be doing their best to bring a smile to their countrymen’s faces. The World Cup this winter puts the Poles in Group C, alongside Argentina, Saudi Arabia, and Mexico. Priority number one must be escaping the group phase, but this is far from guaranteed.
Argentina are one of the leading contenders to win the title outright, with odds of around 7/1, behind only Brazil and France, and tied with England. Beating them is not impossible, of course, but it would be a monumental feat for Poland. Even a tie would be a great step towards securing passage out of Group C.
At the other end of the scale is Saudi Arabia. Of their five previous World Cups, the team has only escaped the group stage once (on that occasion losing their first knockout match). Past performance is no guarantee of future results, but Poland should handily despatch Saudi Arabia.
Mexico will prove tougher customers and the match between them and the Poles will likely determine which team gets through. Mexico has a higher official ranking, and in 2022 to date have only lost a single match (of 12 played, with five draws and six wins) and that defeat was to Uruguay.
But if Poland can beat Mexico then that will almost guarantee them a route out of the group stage. This is the first match the two sides will play, and right now the betting has almost identical odds for winning, losing, and drawing.
The last 16
Regardless of whether they win or come second, if Poland make it out of Group C they will be facing a team from Group D in the last 16. If they end up finishing as runner up in the group, Poland might well face probable Group D victors France, who are just 6/1 to win the tournament outright and defend their title.
However, if France falter or Poland exceed expectations and win their group, then they could face Tunisia, Australia, or (most likely) Denmark. The Danes have also had excellent international form lately, having reached the semi-finals of the last European Championship.
Nothing is certain in football, but it does seem to be the most likely result that Poland will narrowly progress to the knockout rounds and then end up losing to the incumbent champions (France).
Poland’s recent form and outright odds
It’s worth noting that every side can have a rough time or a purple patch. England, widely tipped as a contender due to strong recent tournament results, have been rather iffier in 2022 than might have been predicted.
Poland’s form this year has been so-so, but the losses have been to top team Belgium, and victories achieved over Sweden and Wales. Drawing against the Netherlands is still a pretty good result, although the same outcome against Scotland was rather less impressive.
To win the title, Poland have odds of 100/1 (the same as Mexico). This might sound like a no-hoper bet, although it’s worth noting that Greece had even longer odds before they won the European Championship in 2004.
Poland are on a knife-edge to escape their group, but even if they do so their probable last 16 match will be against title hopeful and current holders France, which is a rough draw. Hopefully, if France do have a good run their fans will manage to end up in the right country this time… But France are not the only team seen as having a great shot at World Cup glory.
Brazil are usually one of the shortest teams in the betting odds and the same is true once again, as they’re seen as the likeliest side to win the tournament and have odds of 9/2. France and Argentina’s odds have been mentioned (6/1 and 7/1 respectively) with England also on 7/1 and Spain just a hair longer.
Belgium and Germany each have odds of 10/1, and the Netherlands and Portugal are also contenders at 12/1. The fact that Poland will probably face two of the top three teams in the betting markets in their group and first knockout match is unlucky, to say the least.
Poland will probably make it through the group phase but will do very well to get any further than the last 16. But if they face, and beat, France then the sky’s the limit.