Ralf Rangnick has overlooked Manchester United superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal when sharing his predictions for the 2022 World Cup finals.
The excitement continues to gather pace in Qatar and across the planet after the group-stage draw was conducted in Doha on Friday. England have been pitted against the US, Iran and either Scotland, Wales or Ukraine.
As for Ronaldo and Portugal, they are in Group H with Ghana, Uruguay and South Korea. Two goals from United playmaker Bruno Fernandes against North Macedonia sealed qualification for Portugal and they are among the favourites to go all the way. However, according to German coach Rangnick, there are two countries that stand out as potential winners in the first-ever winter World Cup.
During an interview with MUFC media, Rangnick said: “It’s difficult to say. I think England have a top team, they are definitely a team who could play a vital role. I also think Germany, with Hansi Flick in charge, are in a good position now, once again.
“But since the World Cup takes place in Qatar and, even if they do have air conditioning in most of those stadiums, it’s a difficult constellation. Playing in the winter, having a World Cup break in winter in the middle of the season. So this is a completely new experience for everybody.”
Rangnick added: “It will be interesting to see. I think an advantage for England could be even that the World Cup is being played in the middle of the season. The last time England won the World Cup was back in 1966. I remember it was my first World Cup I still remember. I was eight years old when this [final] game was played at Wembley against [West] Germany.
“It has always been a problem for England to play a World Cup at the end of a very, very long season with the most number of games to be played and, therefore, I think this World Cup being played in the middle of the season could turn out to be an advantage for England.”