It is approaching. Every day brings us closer to the worlds largest 4-year sporting event. While the U.S. Men’s National Team may have, to ours and the players’ dismay, failed to qualify this time around-a statement that has not left our minds at all-“The beautiful game” will still be watched by almost half of the planet’s population. In 2014 while the World Cup was being played in Brazil, an estimated 3.2 billion people tuned in at one point or another whether online or TV. With the absence of the USMNT it’s likely that U.S. viewership numbers will be lower.
Taking place in Russia this year, the 32-team month-long tournament has some of the worlds best national teams that roster the greatest players in the world as well as a time for younger players to showcase what they have to offer. The 2014 tournament saw Germany emerge victorious after an impressive 7-1 semi-final win against the hosts, Brazil, and then going on to achieve late victory over Argentina in the final. Germany will surely be one of the favorites going into the tournament this year. Match fixtures and breakdown of the knockout rounds can be viewed here.
With all groups set and ready there are countless speculations about which teams will make it out of the groups and on to the knockout rounds and all the way to that coveted World Cup Final. Let us add some speculation of our own with our predictions:
- Saudi Arabia
Group A predictions: Uruguay wins the group with Egypt taking that needed second spot to move on to the knockout stages
Group B predictions: This scenario almost seems like a no-brainer but hey, crazy things have happened. Spain leads the group with Portugal as runner-up.
Group C predictions: This group sees some varying talent levels. With France being the most talented here they should be fine to take over the group with Denmark struggling for that second spot.
Group D predictions: This will be a fun group to watch. Argentina is one team that has seen massive success with their talented roster but also struggled greatly with it. But still I see them moving on as group leaders. The battle for runner-up will be huge. Croatia has talent enough if they can focus. With Iceland’s incredible underdog run in the 2016 EURO it will be fun to see them make another run in a bigger tournament. Nigeria also houses very talented players from the world’s top leagues. The runner-up could very well be Croatia because of the talent and experience.
- Costa Rica
Group E predictions: Brazil is consistently in contention for the World Cup title. They will more than likely move on from the group. The second spot for advancement could also be hard to determine. In the last World Cup, Costa Rica surprised everyone with their journey, beating top world teams to advance out of their group. It will definitely be a show to see them try to do that again. Brazil and Costa Rica are the two favorites in my opinion.
- Korea Republic
Group F predictions: Germany is the clear favorite of the group as well as Mexico after making their qualification look easy.
Group G predictions: Belgium will be moving on. With so much young raw talent it’s hard to say they won’t. The second spot will be between England and Panama. England has so many recognizable and talented figures but have come up short in recent World Cups. If they can learn to work together more fluidly then they will not have a problem advancing from group play.
Group H predictions: This is one of those groups with wide range of skill levels. Columbia has proven that they can compete with many world-class teams and playing in a group that could potentially be a couple of warm-up games with another that could be a real test I do ultimately see them moving on from the group. The other team I lean towards moving onward is Poland. If their star striker, Robert Lewandowski, can stay in form like he has recently for his club, Bayern Munich, then they will have the better shot at advancing.
To get you hyped up for this summer check out this fan-made hype video!
And this promo video here because why not!
I am ecstatic for this summer. The 2018 World Cup starts June 14. What are your predictions for the World Cup groups??