The 2022 FIFA World Cup taking place in Qatar is only the second time the football showpiece event is held in Asia. The last time it was held jointly by Asian countries Japan and South Korea it was the South American giants Brazil who put their name on the glittering trophy, with captain Cafu proudly holding it aloft.
Two decades down the line, the world cup winning captain Cafu is predicting Brazil will win the FIFA World Cup for a sixth time at Qatar 2022. The two-time winner is backing the South American giants to beat France in the final at Lusail Stadium on 18 December.
The former Selecao captain, who lifted the trophy in 1994 and 2002, gave his predictions to the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (see gallery below for full details) – and he is expecting a host of former champions to lead the way in Qatar once the tournament gets underway on 20 November.
“Teams like Brazil, England, Argentina and France are the top seeds on merit. Germany, Belgium and Portugal are also very competitive. They all have the potential to reach the final and win the World Cup,” said Cafu, who is a Qatar Legacy Ambassador.
Cafu is also expecting host nation Qatar to make it all the way to the quarter-finals. He is predicting Al Annabi will finish second in Group A behind the Netherlands before claiming a round of 16 victory over England.
“Qatar have improved a lot in recent years,” said Cafu. “They have experienced players and good coaching staff. They showed how good they are by winning the Asian Cup in 2019. They will face experienced teams in Group A, but I hope they can go far in the tournament.”
Cafu expects an all-South American clash in the semi-finals between Brazil and Argentina, and is also backing France to beat Portugal in the last four.
“Argentina versus Brazil is not an easy match because they are two great powers of world football, who individually have the best players in the world. France versus Portugal will also be a very difficult match, but I expect France to make the final. They have important players like Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappe.”
Cafu is then expecting a repeat of the 1998 FIFA World Cup – but with a different result. Twenty-four years ago, it was France who tasted victory on home soil with a 3-0 success over Brazil in Paris.
“This would be the ultimate final, and should Brazil win it, this would make them a mega champion,” he said. “Brazil needs another title because it has been 20 years since the last one. Defeating a great rival like France to achieve it would be fantastic.”