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The young Spain challenges the favorites in the most controversial World Cup

France seeks to revalidate title against the ambition of Argentina and Brazil.

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The young Spain challenges the favorites in the most controversial World Cup

France seeks to revalidate title against the ambition of Argentina and Brazil


Qatar will host this Sunday the start of the twenty-second edition of the soccer World Cup, in which France will try to be the first team in 60 years to reissue the title against the opposition of serious candidates such as Argentina, Brazil or Germany, and with the young Spain trying to surprise again as in the last Eurocup.

'La Roja', with its star on its chest for the conquest of South Africa 2010, appears in the first Arab World Cup, where it faces a tough Group E with Germany, Japan and Costa Rica, as the third youngest team in the tournament (25, 3 years), only surpassed by Ghana and the United States, and with a much more pleasant atmosphere than the one that was breathed four years ago in Russia.

The dismissal of Julen Lopetegui just two days after his debut convulsed a group that fell against the hosts in the round of 16 and of which only Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba, Dani Carvajal, Marco Asensio, Koke and César Azpilicueta "survive", who will now contribute experience in a squad with up to nine U-23 players.

Despite the youth of the group, Luis Enrique's team has managed to convince and has "hooked" the fans with their good performances in the Euro Cup, where only Italy -ultimately champions- managed to eliminate them in the semifinals on penalties, and in the Nations League, where they lost in the final to France.

Precisely, the 'bleus', with Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann in command, will try to find their third star (1998 and 2018) and revalidate the title, something that nobody has managed to repeat since Brazil did it in 1958 and 1962. Australia, Denmark and Tunisia shouldn't present any problems in Group D for Didier Deschamps' team.

Nor does Group C seem demanding a priori for the current Copa América champion, Argentina, who will face Saudi Arabia, Mexico and Poland in what could be Leo Messi's last World Cup. The two-time world champion (1978 and 1986) owes yet another title to 'La Pulga', who in the last years of her career hopes to provide a title that will also help to balance the balance between Europe (12 titles) and South America ( 9).

The 'queen' of the World Cups, Brazil (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002), who aspire to lift, twenty years after doing so for the last time in Korea and Japan, the World Cup trophy could also contribute to this. Since then, only European teams have managed to raise it.

The star of Paris Saint-Germain Neymar will take on a team in which Real Madrid players Vinícius and Rodrygo or Barcelona player Raphinha will also seek leadership, while the veteran Dani Alves, at 39, will try to crown his successful career with the only trophy missing. Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon will be their rivals in Group G.

Germany, four-time champion (1954, 1974, 1990 and 2014) and Spain's rival in Group E, once again establishes itself as another of the favorites despite the failure of Russia, where they said goodbye at the first exchange, in the phase of groups. With Hansi Flick at the helm and weight figures like Toni Kroos, Manuel Neuer or Thomas Müller, the 'Mannschaft' continues to aspire to everything.

Nor does England give up anything, in Group B along with Iran, the United States or Gareth Bale's Wales, who appeals to his good performance in the last Euro Cup, where only penalties separated him from the title, to conquer his second star (1966 ).

In addition, the Belgium of Thibaut Courtois and Eden Hazard will try to repeat their good role in Russia -where they reached the semifinals and was eliminated by the eventual champion- and will meet in Group F with the world runner-up, Croatia, who wants to toast a good farewell to Luka Modric; Morocco and Canada; while the Netherlands wants to meet expectations in Group A against Qatar, Ecuador and Senegal.

Finally, in Group H, Portugal, European champions in 2016, hopes to be a refuge for striker Cristiano Ronaldo, embroiled in problems at Manchester United and who is expected to face his last World Cup, all in a table where the double champion Uruguay (1930 and 1950), who wants to give the best farewell to Luis Suárez and Edinson Cavani, the Ghana of Iñaki Williams and South Korea.

All in an appointment marked by controversy since its designation as venue. The systematic breach of human rights on issues such as respect for women or the LGBT community and the treatment of migrant workers, who have died by the thousands during the construction of the stadiums, have displaced football as the protagonist.