This week’s article states our prediction for World Cup Group Stage, explaining my point of view regarding which teams could reach the knockout stage and the reasons for their success.
Winner – Uruguay
Runner-up - Russia
The South American side has probably its strongest squad since 2010, when they finished 3rd. A very interesting mix of experienced players, like Suarez, Cavani or Godín, and very promising young talents such as Torreira, Bentancur and Giménez can play a key role in moving Uruguay to the round of 16. They should not have problems to finish first in this group, leaving the home side, Russia, in the 2nd spot after a tight fight with Egypt. The Russians will have their people’s support, which could be the differential factor to overtake the North African side.
Winner – Portugal
Runner-up – Spain
The last minute surprising dismissal of Julen Lopetegui could help Portugal on its difficult mission to drop the Spaniards into 2nd place. The European Champions are highly motivated with their first international trophy and they have their greatest asset in football over the last decade, Cristiano Ronaldo. It is quite possible that both teams will finish the group stage with the same number of points, which would mean that goal difference could be the key element to finally decide the group winner.
Winner – France
Runner – up – Denmark
France is clearly the favorite team in Group C, and it would not be surprising to see them finish the group with three wins. Les Bleus have one of the strongest squads in the competition and they could strive for greatness. Griezmann, Pogba, Mbappé, Varane and their team-mates are a real threat to the other title contenders this summer. The other place in the knockout stage will be decided between Denmark and Peru, with the Danish having an advantage on paper, due to a greater experience in this type of competition and a higher number of quality players. However, Peru has proved during the qualification that they can come back from death to beat quality teams so we can expect a nice duel between the Europeans and South Americans.
Winner – Croatia
Runner-up – Argentina
With Iceland seeming to lack the energy and power that made them surprise the whole world of Football two years ago, and Nigeria showing some defensive problems, the great doubt in this group will be the first-place owner, Argentina or Croatia. Although Argentina has one of greatest players in Football’s history, they are still looking for the perfect formula to create a winning team around Messi’s talent. On the other hand, Croatia is an experienced side with a high number of talented midfielders who turn them into a solid and strong competitor in this World Cup.
Winner – Brazil
Runner-up – Switzerland
The Canarinha is one of the strongest contenders to the competition’s title, but their group is not as easy as it seems: Serbia has numerous talented players within their squad, although they are sometimes unable to work well as a team. Switzerland is precisely the opposite, with an interesting number of talented players sacrificing themselves to be one of the most solid international teams nowadays. This is a group where we can certainly expect some great matches with two underrated strong teams fighting for a place at the knockout stage and creating some difficulties to Brazil.
Winner – Germany
Runner-up – Mexico
The current World Cup champions are favorites to guarantee first place in the group. Germany has such a rich squad in terms of talent that we can expect them to give minutes to a lot of different players during the group stage, so that they can have the whole squad ready for the knockout stage. Mexico had some problems outside the pitch during its preparation to the competition, which could affect them. Korea Republic and Sweden could see their chances improve given the Mexicans’ current instability, and create some problems to Mexico going through to the next stage.
Winner – Belgium
Runner-up – England
Belgium’s golden generation places them as one of the most serious outsiders in the competition. Roberto Martinez’s team should have no trouble to secure a place in the last sixteen. On the other hand, England has as much talent as inexperience, so it is not expected to see them as strong opponents. Nevertheless, Harry Kane and company are likely to beat either Tunisia or Panama, guaranteeing a spot at the World Cup’s next stage.
Winner – Poland
Runner-up – Senegal
Colombia is said to be the team to beat in this group. My belief is that the Cafeteros have a very difficult group and they will face a serious fight to be one of the sixteen teams reaching the knockout stage. Poland is a very solid team and its aerial power could create many problems against other teams in this group. Senegal could surprise us all in the competition, due to their pace in attack as well as the physical power and teamwork of its midfielders. Even Japan’s intensity and attacking ability could be important to this group’s final positions.
Article by Guest Writer:
Footballaholic at SAK
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