Two-time European treble-winner Samuel Eto’o, Everton legend Tim Cahill, and World Cup winner Cafu have each pipped Gareth Southgate’s men to reach the knockout stages of the tournament, but all have predicted hosts Qatar will be the team to send them packing in the Round of 16.
The trio, who are ‘legacy ambassadors’ for the 2022 tournament, had their predictions posted on the ‘Road to 2022’ Twitter account ahead of the opening game between the host nation and Ecuador on November 20th.
Cahill, Australia’s all-time leading goalscorer, believes five-time winners and pre-tournament favourites Brazil will ultimately triumph in Qatar, overcoming Belgium in the final.
Cafu, who has two World Cup winner’s medals to his name with Brazil, also thinks his native country will return home victorious after beating holders France in the final.
Eto’o, meanwhile, has gone very rogue with his choices. The former Barcelona and Inter Milan striker has backed his home nation of Cameroon to lift the trophy, seeing off Morocco in an all-African final.
All three, however, believe that England will suffer a shock exit at the hands of tournament hosts, Qatar, who are currently 50th in the FIFA world rankings. Of the 32 teams competing for football’s ultimate prize in Doha, only Ghana and Saudi Arabia rank lower.
They predict that the Three Lions will top Group B, ahead of the USA, Wales, and Iran, but will fall to Qatar, who they think will finish runners-up in a group consisting of Ecuador, the Netherlands, and Senegal.
This tournament will be Qatar’s very first at a World Cup finals after qualifying automatically as hosts. Eto’o, Cafu and Cahill all predict them to defy the odds and reach the last eight at the expense of Southgate’s team.
Cahill, however, does believe England will have something to shout about, pipping captain Harry Kane to pick up the Golden Boot for the second tournament in a row.
Speaking to talkSPORT about England, Cahill said: “The team is in good shape, three players in every position, it is after the group stages when they will be tested.
“If you let the reins off and let them be free, I think you will see an incredible England team. There is goals.
“When you look at the team, structurally it is about winning games but to win games you need to let these players express themselves.”
Featured Image Credit: Alamy