It won’t be long now! The biggest sporting event on the planet, the World Cup, commences once again in a little over two weeks. Chicago Fire FC Designated Player Xherdan Shaqiri, participating in the prestigious competition with the Swiss National Team, for the fourth time, spoke with the media to preview the upcoming 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Shaqiri joined the call from Switzerland where he has been training with Chicago’s partner club, FC Lugano, as part of his final preparations for the quadrennial feast of football.
Shaqiri and the Swiss are in Group G, a grouping that includes Brazil, the overall favorites in this competition.
“We know the quality of Brazil,” the attacking midfielder, who previously played for Liverpool, FC Basel and Bayern Munich said. “They are for me one of the biggest favorites to win the World Cup this year, and I think they’re going to try everything to win it this year.”
Brazil are 5.56 favorites to win the 2022 World Cup, the first edition of this event where betting with Bitcoin is easily accessible. If you want to bet with a currency stable crypto pegged to the U.S. dollar, Brazil is priced 1.11 to proceed from Group G to the knockout round.
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Shaqiri and the Swiss will begin their ’22 World Cup campaign against Cameroon, who face really long odds, on Thursday, Nov. 24.
The 31-year-old, who scored a hat trick against Honduras in the 2014 World Cup (the only left-footed player ever to do so), mentioned some of the other tournament front-runners.
“Of course we have many teams who are favorites,” he said.
“For sure Brazil, but France also is always a big favorite. Germany is a tournament team, Spain also.”
The rise of low fee blockchains is facilitating more cryptocurrency transactions for wagering on the World Cup. The aforementioned France side is considered, along with England, to be the nation with the second-best odds at 7.08.
This makes sense as they are the defending champions and the Euro 2020 runners-up. respectively.
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In a single elimination tournament such as this, underdogs often go on deep runs.
“Well, I hope of course Switzerland is the underdog and try to do something special,” Shaq added.
“This is for sure our goal and dream. But we know how difficult it is. There are so many good teams because if you qualify for a World Cup, then you must be good. Every team is good there, and every game is difficult to play.”
According to Bitcoin’s odds, even some of the teams from the top 16 in the world are not deemed to have a realistic chance of becoming champions in Qatar. The Swiss are currently ranked #15 by FIFA, with the United States just one spot behind them. Brazil of course, is No. 1.
Shaqiri, who has two Champions League, three Bundesliga and one Premier League winner’s medal will tell you though, anything can happen.
“But there are always underdogs who maybe surprise, and can go maybe until the semifinal, so we will see which team this is going to be,” he said.
“But yeah, I hope Switzerland is one of them. So let’s see.”
Paul M. Banks is the Owner/Manager of The Sports Bank and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”Follow paulmbanks