With the Qatar World Cup 2022 kicking off on Sunday, Bet.co.za wanted to understand how South African soccer fans felt about the World Cup on various topics.
We surveyed 2000 South African soccer fans in the hope of understanding who they support, which players they are backing, their predictions, and a number of other questions relating to the FIFA World Cup in Qatar. The results were certainly intriguing.
Key Takeaways From The Survey
Here’s a summary of the most interesting findings and key statistics:
- Brazil are the overwhelming favourites to win in Qatar according to South African fans
- Brazil and Argentina are the most supported teams in South Africa
- South African fans believe Senegal will be the best African team in Qatar
- South Africans do not want England to win the World Cup
- Lionel Messi is the player backed to be player of the tournament followed by Kylian Mbappe and Neymar
- Women more so than men believe Cristiano Ronaldo will be the player of the tournament
- In terms of the Messi v Ronaldo debate in Qatar – over two-thirds of fans believe Messi will have a better World Cup
- When it comes to goals, Kylian Mbappe is the clear Golden Boot favourite for South African fans
- In the brand boot wars, Nike slightly edges Adidas
About The Survey
Bet.co.za surveyed 2000 South African soccer fans across the country. Over 75% of participants are male. The majority of participants (47%) are aged 25 – 34 years old.
Brazil Is the Overwhelming Favourites To Win The World Cup
Brazil is the most successful team in World Cup history, having won the Jules Rimet trophy five times. So it should come as no surprise that over a third of the 2000 soccer fans surveyed predict the Seleção as the 2022 World Cup champions. Brazil are also the favourite on the Bet.co.za sportsbook at 5.00 but are closely followed by Argentina at 5.75.
Carl Lewis, Head of Content at Bet.co.za, says “Although the odds might be close, the voting showed fans believe Brazil will outshine Lionel Messi and Argentina (21%) in Qatar. With 40% of the fan vote, Brazil had nearly double the votes of their South American rivals.”
Brazil (24%) And Argentina (17%) Are The Most Supported
Brazil is clearly the most popular team amongst South African football fans and combined with Argentina they captured just over 40% of the vote. Flooded with European football weekly, South Africans still support the South American teams and overwhelmingly so at World Cups.
Support And Expectations Around Senegal
There are five teams representing Africa but the hopes of the continent will be pinned on Sadio Mane and the Senegalese. Over 53% of fans believe they will be the most successful African nation in Qatar. The African champions are in Group A alongside the hosts, the Netherlands, and the underrated Ecuadorian side. They are favoured to finish second behind the Dutch and they have a team built for tournament football. Head coach Aliou Cisse has assembled a formidable defence that allows their talented attackers (led by Mane) to flourish.
England (15%) Is The Team Most Fans DO NOT Want To See Win In Qatar
South African fans consume a lot of English Premier League football but that does not mean they will support England. 15% of fans do not want the World Cup to “Come Home” and would prefer Gareth Southgate and co. to crash out in Qatar. It was not a majority vote because Argentina (13%) and Brazil (12%) were close to England in terms of voting.
Messi (28%) Is The Player Most Backed To Be Player Of The Tournament – Mbappe (17%) – Neymar (13.5%)
Over a quarter of fans feel Lionel Messi will give us one more inspirational performance and take the Golden Ball Award. At 35, this will be Messi’s final World Cup, and what a way to finish his international career it would be to win the only missing piece of silverware in his decorated career.
Ronaldo, with all his recent struggles at Manchester United, only garnered 6% of the vote for the Golden Ball Award. Interestingly, Ronaldo received 5% of the male vote but that figure doubled when it came to the female fans (11%).
Messi v Ronaldo – The Argentine Has 72% Of The Votes
An overwhelming two-thirds of fans think Messi will outshine his longtime rival Ronaldo at the World Cup, the mercurial Argentinan received 72% of the votes with Ronaldo attaining a meager 28% in comparison.
Mbappe Golden Boot Favourite With 26% Of The Votes
Superstar Kylian Mbappe is the fans’ favourite to take the Golden Boot and outscore a number of the world’s best strikers in Qatar. Once again, Messi is on top of mind for fans, he came in second with 17% of the vote followed by the latest Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema with 12%. 2018’s Golden Boot winner Harry Kane only received 5% of the vote.
Nike Slightly Edges Adidas
Nike (46.9%) came out trumps Adidas (42.3%) regarding the best boots at the World Cup. However, it is clear there is a split between fans and no clear favourite between the two major brands. Another German brand, Puma, only managed 9% with South African’s preference clearly for Nike or Adidas.
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