Russia 2018 : FIFA World Cup

Well, well it’s that time again. Once every four years the world stops to watch the top 32 football nations of that period battle it out in tournament that lasts about a month and we will see shocks, upsets, despair and glory in the end. I am excited about it but I might only be able to watch a few games due to me working evening shifts. I’ll surely watch the games during the weekends and the ones that – looking at the fixtures and the times in India.

Germany seems to be the strong favourites as defending champions. They will have to overcome Mexico, Sweden and South Korea to get out of their group and into the knock-out stage. Brazil are also in the running but I don’t like them and I hope they fall early. They have been handed a tough group to navigate first though. Serbia, Switzerland and Costa Rica are all hard-working and capable sides, so Brazil will not be expected to breeze through to the knock-out stage. The 2010 world champions Spain are not the force they were once and have a fascinating group that will see them come up against Iberian rivals Portugal as well as Morocco and Iran, but they should have enough in the tank to finish in the top two.

France are among the favourites to win the competition 10 years after their first and only triumph. It is not surprising to see Les Bleus so highly rated (13/2) considering that Didier Deschamps has an impressive pool of talent to draw from, which includes the likes of Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann. Argentina’s qualification campaign almost ended in disaster and they needed a moment of Messi magic in the last game to secure their place at the tournament. But they recently suffered a 6-1 hammering at the hands of Spain, which, while a friendly, simply does not bode well and they will have to emerge from a difficult group containing Croatia, Iceland and Nigeria.

I would put Portugal and Belgium as dark horses and perhaps Russia can do some damage with home turf advantage. I hope we have a good one!

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