World cup 2018 in the looking glass

Updated: October 30, 2017

We still have to await a few last decisive games before all the 32 spots are filled. In Africa, will it be Congo DR or Tunisia, Morocco or Ivory Coast? Group D is highly interesting where either of Senegal, Cape Verde, Burkina Faso or South Africa can clinch the spot which takes them to Russia.

Australia has to face Honduras in a double meeting where one will be eliminated and one will make their fans delirious.

In Europe it’s Northern Ireland or Switzerland, Croatia or Greece, Sweden or Italy, Denmark or Ireland.

It’s possible to make betting picks already and placing one of the above as world cup winners will definitely be awarded with some great odds, but it might be a bit smart to wait until the 32 making the finals have been decided. Still, some early predictions can be made along with some hunches.

6 out of 20 world cups have been won by the hosting nations. There is not much telling us that next year’s host will become the 7th. Russia were terrible in the European Championship, have been underachieving for quite some time and they have basically no name worthy players in the five big European leagues (England, Germany, Spain, Italy, France), which usually says a lot.

It has been 60 years since a South American side won the world cup on European soil. In fact, it has only been achieved once; 1958 when Brazil with Pelé won in Sweden. This might seem as a mere statistical matter but soccer has proven more than once that statistics do matter and persistent obstacles are tough to overcome.

Iceland will probably have the most number of neutral’s rooting for them in every game. This small nation with a population roughly the size of Lexington, Kentucky thrilled soccer fans in the European Championships and have yet again impressed by winning their qualifying group. They could very well finish one of the two top sides in their group next summer.

Iran could be an interesting outsider. Not as winners of the cup but as an exciting team to follow. Beside Russia who were directly qualified due to being hosts, Iran were the first team to make the World cup, and did so very early. They might have something going.

If one was to list possible winners of the cup, it is the usual suspect; Germany, Brazil or Spain. Maybe Portugal will join the ranks of teams which have won the European Championship and the World cup consecutively, perhaps Belgium will step up with their golden generation, or France will find a way to pull it together. Above all, let us hope it’s a brilliant world cup with a lot of surprises and plenty of new stars introduced.

/ Zvonko,