The 2022 FIFA World Cup kicks off on Sunday, November 20, with Qatar playing Ecuador at 11 a.m. ET. With an estimated global audience of over three billion people, the tournament will involve dozens of games that will culminate in the World Cup Final on December 18. The Bachelor spoke to numerous Wabash international students to hear their thoughts on their respective country’s World Cup prospects.
What are your initial impressions of your country’s squad?
Brazil, Pedro Almeida ’26: “I honestly really like the team that was put together. The team is composed of many very young players who are in a very good phase of their careers.”
Japan, Yuma Ozaki ’24: “I think [the squad is] pretty reasonable because most of the players played [in the] Asia qualifying round. However, I was surprised that Genki Haraguchi and Yuya Osako are not in the squad even though they played well in the qualifying round and the last World Cup.”
Mexico, Luis Sanche ’24: “My impressions of the Mexican squad are bad, but Mexico is together facing every team hoping for the best for our players. Personally, I think there are better players that can represent Mexico.”
England, Ben Bullock ’23: “I can’t help but be baffled at some of the talent England manager Gareth Southgate has left out of this team. How on earth Fikayo Tomori, the AC Milan center back, didn’t make the team but perpetual laughing stock Harry Maguire did is beyond my comprehension. Overall, I think it’s a pretty weak squad, but maybe Southgate can work his magic”
What are your thoughts about your country’s preliminary group?
Brazil, Almeida: “I believe that the group Brazil is in (Switzerland, Serbia and Cameroon) is not very strong, historically speaking, so I think Brazil will advance and go to the round of 16 very easily”
Japan, Ozaki: “I think we are in a tough group: Germany, Spain and Costa Rica. Tons of Japanese supporters say that it is impossible to qualify, but I don’t think so. The first game is always important and we are playing against Germany. In the
last world cup, Germany was beaten by Korea, so we have a chance.”
Mexico, Sanchez: “I think that with our draw, against Poland, Saudi Arabia and Argentina, we have a good chance to advance to the round of 16. However, the quality of our squad may make it more difficult for us to beat Poland.”
England, Bullock: “I think England should win the group pretty comfortably. Only the USA poses a real threat to England’s dominance, and many will recall the 2010 World Cup when England and the USA drew 1-1. But this is a muchimproved England side, so hopefully the group doesn’t pose too much of an issue.”
What is your team’s biggest weakness?
Brazil, Almeida: “I think that the weakness may be the presence of many youngsters who do not have much experience in such important games, but I believe in the potential of each one.”
Japan, Ozaki: “I think Japan’s weakness is its low scoring ability. As I mentioned earlier, strikers Osako and Haraguchi are out of the team, and Ueda, who was called up in their place, has not scored a goal in 10 games for the national team.”
Mexico, Sanchez: “The weakness of the team is the bad administration of the coaches and how they are managing the Mexican selection.”
England, Bullock: “Center backs. Maguire is a joke, Eric Dier is out of form and Kyle Walker is not fully fit. That leaves only John Stones and Ben White. If England are going to struggle anywhere, it will be on defense.”
Final prediction; who wins?
Brazil, Almeida: “Even though we are competing against very qualified teams, I believe that Brazil will win the World Cup”.
Japan, Ozaki: “I think Argentina will win the World Cup. Looking at the players selected for this World Cup, many members who won the Copa America last year have been called up. And for Lionel Messi, he will want to win this World Cup at all costs.”
Mexico, Sanchez: “Argentina. I want to see Messi with the World Cup in his hands.”
England, Bullock: “Argentina. Under the guidance of underdog manager Lionel Scaloni, I really think Argentina could go all the way. It would be a perfect way to cap off Lionel Messi’s storied career.”