2022 FIFA World Cup predictions, score picks for every game: Lionel Messi and Argentina's path to glory – CBS Sports

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The World Cup kicks off on Nov. 20 and what better time to try predicting the entire tournament than now? From Australia to Wales, every game has been predicted and there may be enough in the squad to see the United States make the round of 16, but that comes with getting something from the opener against Wales. Find out how the last World Cup including Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo could end with my predictions — and while you’re at it, sign up for our new newsletter covering the beautiful game in all its glory — including daily updates about the World Cup — here:

1
Netherlands
3
0
0
5
9
2
Ecuador
2
0
1
1
6
3
Senegal
1
0
2
0
3
4
Qatar
0
0
3
-6
0
Matchday 1 picks
Qatar 1, Ecuador 2
Senegal 1, Netherlands 2
Matchday 2 picks
Qatar 1, Senegal 3
Netherlands 2, Ecuador 1
Matchday 3 picks
Ecuador 1, Senegal 0
Netherlands 3, Qatar 0
While the Netherlands are the stars of the group and a dark horse team to win the World Cup, Ecuador are a team to watch as their defense can give teams nightmares. Senegal may have won the Africa Cup of Nations but with key defenders out of form at the wrong time and the team heavily reliant on Sadio Mane, it’s a perfect storm for Ecuador to pip them for second place. Qatar have looked sharp against Concacaf and Asian competition but the strength of these sides will prove to be just too much in what is one of the most balanced groups in the entire tournament. 
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1
England
3
0
0
4
9
2
USA
1
1
1
-1
4
3
Iran
1
0
2
-1
3
4
Wales
0
1
2
-2
1
Matchday 1 picks
England 1, Iran 0
United States 1, Wales 1
Matchday 2 picks
Wales 0, Iran 1
England 2, United States 0
Matchday 3 picks
Wales 1, England 2
Iran 1, United States 2
England kick off the World Cup on strong footing as no team in the group can match their star-studded attack. The Three Lions will have concerns as they go deeper into the tournament but after them, this group is quite close. Tim Ream’s inclusion should be enough to steady the United States defense and see them through the group but there are still concerns around an attack that needed some help to score three goals in three games. It’s a narrow margin but defeating Iran on the final day of matches is just enough to see the United States through to the next round. While Keiffer Moore is in form for Wales and Mehdi Taremi is scoring for Iran, it won’t be enough to make it through the group.
Craving more World Cup coverage? Listen below and follow House of Champions, a daily CBS Sports soccer podcast, bringing you top-notch analysis, commentary, picks and more during the big games in Qatar.
1
Argentina
3
0
0
6
9
2
Mexico
1
1
1
3
4
3
Poland
1
1
1
3
4
4
Saudi Arabia
0
0
3
-4
1
Matchday 1 picks
Argentina 2, Saudi Arabia 0
Mexico 2, Poland 2
Matchday 2 picks
Poland 2, Saudi Arabia 1
Argentina 3, Mexico 1
Matchday 3 picks
Poland 0, Argentina 2
Saudi Arabia 1, Mexico 2
We continue with perfect group winners as Argentina are able to start what is likely Messi’s final World Cup off right. The South American side isn’t particularly troubled by any of the other teams in the group while Poland and Mexico fight it out for the final spot after kicking off proceedings with a draw. Because of Mexico and Poland essentially having the same results, tiebreakers have to come into play. They’re level on points and goal difference but Mexico’s goal against Argentina proves to be important as they’ve scored one more goal that Poland to advance to the last 16 of the tournament.
1
France
2
1
0
4
7
2
Denmark
2
1
0
4
7
3
Tunisia
1
0
2
-3
3
4
Australia
0
0
3
-5
0
Matchday 1 picks
Denmark 2, Tunisia 0
France 3, Australia 1
Matchday 2 picks
Tunisia 1, Australia 0
France 1, Denmark 1
Matchday 3 picks
Australia 0, Denmark 2
Tunisia 0, France 2
Denmark being one of the most balanced teams in Qatar while France struggles to get fit players together has Group D as a spot to watch for upsets. But Les Blues find a way to get the job done which is made much easier by having Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema on their team. Denmark will settle for their second-place finish as they’ll be a nightmare to face later in the tournament and they nicked a point off of a group winner, a feat that a team hasn’t been able to accomplish until this point in my predictions. Tunisia and Australia were long shots to get anything out of this group and it played out that way with the only points for either side coming against each other.
1
Germany
3
0
0
5
9
2
Spain
2
0
1
0
6
3
Japan
0
1
2
-3
1
4
Costa Rica
0
1
2
-3
1
Matchday 1 picks
Germany 3, Japan 1
Spain 2, Costa Rica 1
Matchday 2 picks
Japan 0, Costa Rica 0
Spain 2, Germany 3
Matchday 3 picks
Japan 1, Spain 2
Costa Rica 0, Germany 2
This is a tricky group as Spain’s midfield is solid but the question that still looms is where the goals will come from. For Germany, they’re going to put an awful lot of pressure on 19-year-old Jamal Musiala, but with how he’s performing for Bayern Munich, he should be able to handle it. The streak of Concacaf teams making the last 16 ends here with Costa Rica but with Keylor Navas in net, they’ll do everything they can to stay in each game. In any other group, Japan likely advances but that’s how the draw unfolds sometimes.
1
Belgium
3
0
0
4
9
2
Croatia
2
0
1
3
6
3
Morocco
1
0
2
-1
3
4
Canada
0
0
3
-5
0
Matchday 1 picks
Morocco 1, Croatia 2
Belgium 3, Canada 1
Matchday 2 picks
Belgium 2, Morocco 1
Croatia 2, Canada 0
Matchday 3 picks
Croatia 1, Belgium 2
Canada 0, Morocco 1
While Belgium are in transition, this is still a balanced side and the inclusion of an in-form Leandro Trossard will be enough to push them through the group stage. Croatia’s squad is aging but through Luka Modric, all things are possible. Morocco suffer the same fate as Japan being drawn into a group that can test their defense while Canada’s first World Cup since 1986 ends in disappointment. At least for Canada, there’s always 2026, so this is just the warm up for that.
1
Brazil
3
0
0
8
9
2
Switzerland
2
0
1
1
6
3
Serbia
1
0
2
-4
3
4
Cameroon
0
0
3
-5
0
Matchday 1 picks
Switzerland 2, Cameroon 0
Brazil 4, Serbia 0
Matchday 2 picks
Cameroon 1, Serbia 2
Brazil 2, Switzerland 0
Matchday 3 picks
Serbia 0, Switzerland 1
Cameroon 1, Brazil 3
Brazil’s tournament doesn’t begin until the round of 16 but they’ll get a good warmup facing Switzerland in what should be a pretty cut and dry group. It continues to be a tournament of disappointment for the African nations as Cameroon can’t buy a win in the tournament and Switzerland prove to be just too tough for Serbia to make it out of the group stage.
1
Portugal
3
0
0
5
9
2
Uruguay
2
0
1
2
6
3
South Korea
1
0
2
-1
3
4
Ghana
0
0
3
-5
0
Matchday 1 picks
Uruguay 1, South Korea 0
Portugal 3, Ghana 0
Matchday 2 picks
South Korea 2, Ghana 1
Portugal 2, Uruguay 1
Matchday 3 picks
Ghana 0, Uruguay 1
South Korea 0, Portugal 1
Darwin Nunez is finding form at the right time as Uruguay looks to make a deep run and match Portugal in the group, and a masked Heung-Min Son won’t be enough to stop them. Ghana have been solid recently but running into a buzz saw in the group will put them in a tough spot. The Manchester United trio of Bruno Fernandes, Cristiano Ronaldo and Diogo Dalot will help Portugal to the group victory although there are questions on how far the team can advance without Diogo Jota.
Netherlands 3, USA 1 
Argentina 2, Denmark 1
Germany 3, Croatia 2
Brazil 2, Uruguay 1
England 1, Ecuador 1 (England through on penalties)
France 3, Mexico 1
Belgium 1, Spain 2 (added extra time)
Portugal 3, Switzerland 2 (added extra time)
The United States may have advanced to the last 16, but after being pitted with the Netherlands instead of Ecuador due to not winning the group, this is where their ride in the World Cup comes to an end. It’s a successful tournament for the Americans but it will leave them wanting more when the World Cup is on American soil in 2026. 
England will have a nervy match against Ecuador, but this time, a penalty shootout will go in favor of the Three Lions. Portugal dig deep for a late winner but the biggest show will be between Germany and Croatia. All of the good and bad will be on display for Germany but Leroy Sane will net a dramatic winner to see them through. Argentina also have a tough draw with Denmark but the team is so good at game management that they’ll find a way through.
Netherlands 1, Argentina 2
Germany 1, Brazil 3
England 1, France 2
Spain 2, Portugal 1 
Getting to the final eight, we have quite a few familiar faces as Messi and Ronaldo are still hanging around in the tournament while Mbappe and Neymar are also still plugging away. Three of the four will make it another round as well but Ronaldo won’t survive Spain’s passing attack. Germany are toppled by Brazil, as being an offense-first team is good but only works when you have the ball more than your opposition.
Argentina’s game management shines again but this has been a good tournament for the Netherlands. France’s midfield begins to gain chemistry as well, doing just enough to get past England as the Three Lions will go another year without a trophy.
Argentina 2, Brazil 1
France 1, Spain 0
It’s a Copa America final rematch between Argentina and Brazil as Messi’s last ride continues. Despite not having creator Giovani Lo Celso, Enzo Fernandez and Julian Alvarez have stepped up to help push Argentina into the final. Matches between Argentina and Brazil are always close affairs and this one is no different. With the tournament going longer, France has found their footing despite not having Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante in midfield as the team still has talented depth. They showed up at the right moment to ensure that Les Blues would live up to their potential. 
Brazil 2, Spain 0
Argentina 2, France 0
What a send-off as Messi opens the scoring early and Argentina add a late insurance goal via a set play to down France on the world’s biggest stage. After being runners-up in 2014, Argentina will be able to capture their first World Cup title since 1986 in Mexico. For France, while it’s disappointing to not win the tournament, making it this far with their injuries is quite a credit to the team that Didier Deschamps has built.
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