With all the different international leagues finished and the FA Cup and Champions League finals done, NOW is the best time to start figuring out the potential winners for the World Cup.
You need to understand things like:
Country and Player stats
And much more…
Sounds like a scavenger hunt that you just don’t have the time for.
But don’t worry, that’s exactly what I’ve been doing over the past 8 weeks and I’m ready to reveal my 16 winning predictions for stage 1 of the Soccer World Cup 2018!
Let’s get started…
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We need to start with a brief history lesson of the FIFA World Cup to understand what’s important when predicting winners
FIFA held its first tournament in the 1930’s, where only 13 teams were invited by the organization.
Not much of a world cup in my opinion, but since then the tournament has expanded to involve 32-teams, selected from over 200 teams around the world.
The selection process is long and takes over two years to complete.
Through a series of tournaments from six FIFA confederations, the 200+ teams are whittled down to 31.
Yes, 31 teams, while the host team, Russia, gets an automatic qualification.
Bringing the total to 32 teams, who are then put into eight groups of four teams and listed A to H.
So, the first step in analysing the upcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup, is to analyse the groups one by one. Sounds like a daunting task, considering there are 32 teams to review.
But I’ve done this for you.
32 teams but only one winner!
Ok, so now you know the basics of the tournament structure, it’s time to analyse the groups and see who will make it to the next stage.
Group A: Russia, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay
The first group contains the host team, and by the looks of it, they could be under pressure as Uruguay and Egypt are two very strong teams for the host nation.
Russia will look to not repeat the fate of South Africa (who failed to survive the group stages as a host nation).
Uruguay are the highest ranked in this group at 21st and pose the biggest threat to Russia.
Fortunately, for Russia, their first game is against Saudi Arabia who on paper, look like the weakest in Group A.
Egypt has one of the best players coming from the English Premier League, Mohammad Salah. He boasts 32 goals in 56 international appearances.
My prediction: Russia may have bitten off more than they can chew, as I think we’ll see Uruguay and Egypt progress to the next stage.
Group B: Portugal, Spain, Morocco and Iran
In group B, we have Spain, who has appeared in their 11th straight World Cup and will be eager to bounce back from the humiliation of being eliminated before the knockout stages in the last World Cup.
They face the European Champions, Portugal, as their groups opening game.
This will be a game worth the watch, as we all know Portugal will use their popular weapon, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Now I’m not going to touch on Iran or Morocco as they have been placed in one of the toughest groups.
I don’t expect either of them to progress.
My prediction: Portugal and Spain will get through with ease.
Group C: France, Denmark, Australia and Peru
Let me start with the overwhelming favourite here, and that is France.
With players like Kylian Mbappe, Antonoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba, Alexandre Lacazette and N’golo Kante it’s hard to not see them as the groups favourite.
In my opinion, Denmark come up second in this group.
They also have star players, one of which is Christian Eriksen, who offers a serious threat to both France and Australia.
My prediction: My first instinctual pick would be to see France and Denmark progress, however, Australia are not to be looked over and may just upset the apple cart.
Group D: Argentina, Croatia, Nigeria and Iceland
This is undoubtedly a strong group, as we have Nigeria bringing in young talent in the form of Alex Iwobi.
Croatia look great on paper with Real Madrid’s Luka Modric and Barcelona’s Ivan Rakitic, at the centre of their team.
We then have a fan favourite, Argentina, who bring in the big guns like Lionel Messi. Argentina have appeared in 12 World Cups and have successfully past stage one in 11 of those appearances.
However, As Iceland knocked out England in the Euro 2016, they are notorious for knocking out big guns.
Keep an eye on them.
My prediction: Argentina and Nigeria will see the next stage.
Group E: Brazil, Costa Rica, Switzerland and Serbia
Brazil, Brazil, Brazil…
After their 2014 humiliation to Germany, Brazil’s coach, Adenor Bacchi has added more stability to the team. Stability in the form of players such as Neymar, Gabriel Jesus, Danilo Fernandinho and Philippe Coutinho to name a few.
My prediction: I see Brazil going through with a 100% certainty, while it could come to a scrap between Switzerland and Serbia. I’m leaning slightly towards the Swiss to make it to the next stage.
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Group F: Germany, Mexico, Sweden and South Korea
The defending champs, Germany, were ruthless in The Confederations Cup last year, winning all ten games convincingly and with a youthful side. They are the favourite to make it to the next stage.
So, it comes down to who will take second place in group F, and it will come between Sweden and Mexico.
Mexico has many quality players, who have played in the World Cup before.
As for Sweden, they beat Italy 1 – 0, to earn themselves their place in the final 32. So, don’t rule them out just yet.
South Korea has the toughest match-ups, as they will undoubtedly not see the next stage of the competition.
My prediction: The defending champions Germany will go through as well as Mexico, but don’t count out Sweden.
Group G: England, Belgium, Panama and Tunisia
Both England and Belgium have been graced with an easy group as they draw Panama and Tunisia in Group G.
This will be Panama’s first World Cup appearance, however they face Belgium at their inaugural World Cup game.
My prediction: I expect both European teams to progress onto the next stage. But, a win from either Panama or Tunisia could rock the boat…
Not sink it, just rock it.
Group H: Poland, Columbia, Japan and Senegal
This is the hardest group to call, as every one of these teams are evenly distributed and is capable of beating each other.
There is a sour taste in my mouth when it comes to Senegal, as they qualified through controversial circumstances when they beat us (South Africa) 2 – 1. In what most would call match fixing.
However, looking at the match up’s, Japan has some talent amongst its team members, boasting Shinji Kgawa and Shinji Okazaki.
And looking at Columbia’s history, they made it to the quarterfinals last World Cup, and could easily do it again.
My prediction: This is a tough one to call, so I will go with Columbia and Poland to progress to the next stage.
My 16 winning predictions for World Cup 2018
So, there you have it, my predictions of who is likely to make it to the next stage.
Group A: Uruguay and Egypt
Group B: Portugal and Spain
Group C: France and Denmark
Group D: Argentina and Nigeria
Group E: Brazil and Switzerland
Group F: Germany and Mexico
Group G: England and Belgium
Group H: Columbia and Poland
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Until next time,