Now the World Cup is over, football fanatics like yours truly can get on with our lives and look forward to the next World Cup. No matter what you think about the hosts (Qatar) or the timing (November, in the middle of the traditional club season), Qatar 2022 still bodes to be a great World Cup.
Moreover, the timing may actually be beneficial considering that players won’t have the tiredness of a full club season behind them.
After the 2014 World Cup, many could have guessed the rise of France - they had the tournament’s best young player (Paul Pogba) and several other exciting players under 30. The same could have been said of the likes of Belgium (Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bruyne).
Both of these teams improved to finish in the top three of the latest installment, with France obviously winning the title. So which are the teams that will indisputably be better in Qatar than they were in Russia?
This almost seems like a very easy bet. Germany’s performance in Russia was historically horrible as they crashed out of the group stages for the first time in their World Cup history. The German youth system and the strength of the Bundesliga is simply too much for Germany to crash out at the group stage next time.
Meanwhile, unlike some other European superpowers (for example - Spain’s firing of Julen Lopetegui a day before the World Cup), the German federation tends not to make rash decisions.
Yet Germany’s place in this list is not because of simple faith in the team’s system. The talent Germany will have at their disposal in 2022 is incredible. In Russia, Germany went with nine players who were between 22 and 24 years old - players who will be right in the middle of their prime by the time Qatar comes along.
This includes the likes of Timo Werner, Julian Draxler, Leon Goretzka and Niklas Sule - players who are projected to be among the best in the world by that time.
Moreover, Joachim Low also left out several young players at home who are sure to make an impact in Qatar, with the most prominent example being Leroy Sane who will also be entering his prime by that time.
Germany’s lineup could look scary (feel free to poke fun at this in four years when their actual lineup looks very different) by the time Qatar rolls around as shown below (created courtesy of buildlineup).