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FIFA World Cup 2018 - Who Will Emerge Victorious?
The 2018 FIFA World Cup is just around the corner, and excitement levels are at peak. For the next one month, the entire world will shift their gaze towards Russia. The event promises to be an exciting one for sure, with multiple teams going in as favorites. But who would ultimately go on to win the coveted trophy?
Let us take a look at the top teams with a chance of going all the way this time.
The team with the most number of World Cups, Brazil definitely are one of the hot favorites to win it this time. The squad looks perfectly balanced, with multiple options for each of their crucial positions in both attack and defense. And the return of Neymar from injury has definitely bolstered the team's spirits as evident from their performance in the warm-up matches. The Brazilian fans would still be remembering the nightmare that they had in their previous outing at home, when the team was trashed 7-1 by eventual winners Germany in the semis. And with the way the fixtures are drawn this time, there is a very good chance that the team could end up meeting Germany in the final. Could the fans ask for a sweeter way to get their revenge for that horrible night four years ago?
The defending champions find themselves in a similar territory as last time. A poor run of form in the warm-up watches was followed by a cup-winning performance in the tournament. One has to wonder if this is a strategy employed by the team to confuse their opponents. Whatever be the case, this German team still can dismantle any opponent on their day. However, the last two World Cups saw the defending champions being eliminated in the group stage itself. Will history repeat itself a third time?
Andres Iniesta is getting ready for his final farewell. The legendary player who scored the winning goal in the final of the 2010 World Cup would definitely love to end his career on a high, and establish himself as the most decorated Spanish footballer of all time. Will his teammates help him achieve that? Well, the midfield could deifnitely be considered to be the best of all teams, and with a goalkeeper who is currently No.1 in the world, their attack might be the only area of concern. If the forwards can click at the right time, then there is no reason why Spain can't repeat what they did in 2010.
About six months ago, France would have been right there with Brazil and Germany as outright favorites to win the World Cup. But a controversial team selection and the form of some of their star players would definitely be concerns for Les Bleus. Didier Deschamps took a rather bold move by choosing a relatively young team for the tournament. And while there are world-class players there who can individually win matches, will the lack of experience on the big stage hurt their chances?
Unlike the above-mentioned teams, Argentina can't be considered as clear favorites to win the World Cup. Since finishing runners-up in the last edition, the team's performance has been rather average. At one point, it even looked like they would not make it to Russia. Once again, all their hopes rest on the shoulders of one man - Lionel Messi. He single-handedly carried the team into the World Cup with a brilliant hat-trick. But if Argentina are to have any chances of making it to the final four, the rest of the squad have to support him. The attack looks promising with the likes of Aguero, Higuain and Dybala to play alongside Messi, but their defence and midfield can be termed average at best.
So, will the best player in the world be able to emulate Sachin Tendulkar (for those of you who are familiar with Cricket) and finally get his hands on the trophy that has eluded him so far? The answer is just a month away.
Belgium can be considered as the 'Dark Horses' going into the World Cup. They do have the players to get the job done, but the lack of experience could hurt them in the latter stages of the tournament. The attack and midfield look strong, while the defence is slightly injury-prone, and losing Kompany or Vermaelen to injury could cause headache for Roberto Martinez. It will be interesting to see if he would be successful in marshaling all those individually-brilliant players into a World Cup-winning squad.
So, will one of the above-mentioned teams be crowned the Champions of the World come July 15? Or will England, Portugal, Uruguay or one of the other 23 teams manage to spring a surprise?
Well, with Football, you never know.