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If the 2022 World Cup started today: Looking at the major nations

ESPN FC's Stewart Robson shares his thoughts on the team most likely to win the World Cup if it were to take place tomorrow.
Gianni Infantino believes Russia 2018 is the benchmark for Qatar to live up to at the 2022 World Cup.
Watch E:60's eye-opening segment on the migrant worker issues in Qatar.

The next World Cup is four years away, but if the tournament began today, how would the biggest countries line up? Further, what do they need to do between now and kickoff on Nov. 21, 2022?

We asked our writers to look into the future. Click on the flags below to see that nation.

ARGENTINA

Starting XI if the World Cup began today
Sergio Romero; Renzo Saravia, Juan Foyth, Nicolas Otamendi, Nicolas Tagliafico; Giovani Lo Celso, Leandro Paredes, Exequiel Palacios; Lionel Messi, Paulo Dybala,...


In football-mad Manchester, a popular indoor venue faces closure

The Powerleague Trafford Sportsdome is six miles from Old Trafford and 10 from the Etihad Stadium.

One of the best vantage points for Manchester's booming skyline is the top of Barton Bridge, where the city's orbital motorway crosses the Manchester Ship Canal. The imposing bulk of Old Trafford, for example, stands two miles away, to the right of which are the new towers of Media City at Salford Quays.

Closer still is the giant Trafford Centre shopping mall but before them all is a large, warehouse-type structure. Its exterior features four five a-side pitches and inside are a further 18. Known...

 By Simon Kuper

Believe the hype: Matthijs de Ligt, Frenkie de Jong are next big stars on radar of Barca, Man City

Gab Marcotti and the FC crew break down Dutch duo Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong, a pair of Ajax stars catching the eyes of Europe's elite.

You wait years for any sort of talent, then two great ones come along at once.

That's the feeling among Dutch fans now, and among the scouts of clubs such as Barcelona and Manchester City who have become regulars in Ajax's Johan Cruijff Arena. Matthijs de Ligt, Ajax's central defender, looked a man among boys even when facing Manchester United in the 2017 Europa League final aged 17. Now, at 19, he's Ajax's captain and an automatic choice for Netherlands. His teammate Frenkie de Jong, 21, recently...

How jaded fans can still appreciate Lionel Messi on the 15th anniversary of his Barca debut

The fact that Lionel Messi makes the extraordinary look ordinary at times shouldn't diminish just how brilliant he is.
The fact that Lionel Messi makes the extraordinary look ordinary at times shouldn't diminish just how brilliant he is.

Sporting greatness is a form of anesthetic -- it has a numbing effect. The first time you watch Simone Biles skip across the floor, Roger Federer execute a perfect drop shot or Lewis Hamilton take a corner in the driving rain, you're utterly enchanted. By the hundredth time you see them do it, there's a danger that you will become immune to the sheer wonder, the same way you might if you'd grown up with your bedroom looking out toward the Northern Lights.

For that reason, there's a risk that...

 By Shaka Hislop

Power Rankings: Manchester City stay top but beaten Barcelona fall

Shaka Hislop reveals his latest power rankings which see Manchester City on top while Barcelona take a tumble following their loss to Betis.
Craig Burley breaks down Manchester City's 3-1 win over Manchester United, which he says demonstrates the gap in quality between the two rivals.
Sergio Aguero shrugs off talk of an unbeaten Premier League season after Manchester City's victory over rivals Manchester United.

Derby day victory kept the English champions atop Shaka Hislop's Top 10, while Porto and Juventus are on the up. Barcelona, though, pay for their defeat.

Dropping out: Inter, Chelsea, Arsenal.

Agree? Disagree? Let us know, and watch Shaka defend his picks on ESPN FC TV!

Germany face relegation, plus Rooney's England return vs. U.S. the highlights of international break

Things are all smiles in the Germany camp but for the first time in generation, they find themselves in a difficult situation.
Things are all smiles in the Germany camp, but for the first time in a generation, they find themselves in a difficult situation.

The club football season is in full swing, but first we have the final international break of 2018, and despite there being several friendlies, there's a lot to play for in Europe and Africa in particular. Nick Ames rounds up the things to watch over the next 10 days.

Germany could get relegated? No, seriously!

If anyone doubted the UEFA Nations League's capacity to throw up a big story line, what about this: Germany are on the verge of taking a seat away from Europe's top table. Their meeting...