France and England boast the most expensive squads to grace soccer‘s marquee tournament.
If soccer excellence was represented by financial value alone, France and England would be contesting the World Cup Final in Moscow on July 15.
Crammed with stars such as Antoine Griezmann of Atletico Madrid, Paul Pogba of Manchester United, and Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain, Les Bleus – as the French squad are nicknamed – edge England atop the chart by US$27.6m, with both squads valued in excess of $1.7bn, according to a new Football Observatory report.
Brazil, which boasts world-class attacking talent like Neymar of Paris Saint-Germain and Philippe Coutinho of Barcelona; 2010 World champions, Spain; 2014 winners Germany, and Argentina were the only other nations to smash the $1bn threshold.
International soccer has traditionally been dominated by Europe and Latin America – indeed, no country from outside these regions has ever won the World Cup – with the big money transfers predominantly taking place in Europe where top stars like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo earn in the region of $100 million per year taking into account both salary and endorsements.
Yet the World Cup squad values are based on potential transfer value, or the price tag placed on any given player by his club team. In 2017, Qatari-owned French powerhouse Paris Saint-Germain (aka PSG) broke the all-time world transfer record when they paid Barcelona $263m for skilful Brazilian attacker Neymar, smashing the previous record set by England’s Manchester United when they paid $118m for French star Paul Pogba.
English striker Harry Kane of Tottenham Hotspur is currently considered the most valuable player in the world with a price tag of $233m, ahead of Neymar ($227m), French teenager Kylian Mbappe ($217m), Argentine wizard Lionel Messi ($213m), and Egyptian superstar Mohamed Salah ($198m).
In terms of the groups currently being played out in the tournament, Group G featuring England, Belgium, Panama and Tunisia is the most expensive with an estimated value of $2.6bn, with English and Belgian players comprising a staggering 97 per cent of that total.
Overall, the 32 squads competing for the trophy are estimated to be worth $14.8bn – which means England represent more than 10 percent of that total.
See more details on the value of each country’s World Cup squad here.