TripIvent World Cup Predictions:
TripIvent World Cup Predictions
Credits to Pabak Sarkar
Who Will Win the 2018 World Cup?
The World Cup is the greatest prize in football and every player dreams of getting their hands of the famous trophy. Only a select group of players have reached the pinnacle and tasted glory at the World Cup.
The FIFA 2018 World Cup will take place in Russia and start on the 14th June, with the final to be played in the Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow on the 15th July.
The question is, which teams will contest the biggest single football match in the world and who will come out on top?
Some teams are heading to Russia knowing they have no chance of winning the World Cup. Whereas, for others, they have the belief their name is already on the trophy. See the TripIvent World Cup Predictions to see our 6 picks.
One team who will arrive in Russia knowing they what it takes to win the 2018 World Cup, is Germany:
2 In A Row? – Germany
Ask every other manager in the tournament to name the one team they would not like to face in the World Cup final and Germany is likely to be at the top of the pile.
Who can forget the way the German team clinically disposed of hosts Brazil in the semi-final of the 2014 World Cup? Brazil was playing in front of their fans and Germany destroyed them. Winning the match 7-1 in one of the most extraordinary games in World Cup history.
Credits to Global Panorama
The crunching numbers and depth
Germany went on to win the final 1-0 against Argentina and have not let up since. Joachim Low took a second-string squad to the Confederations Cup in the summer of 2017 and won the tournament. They also won their qualifying group with a 100% record, the only team to achieve qualification to the competition by winning every match plus they set a new European record for goals scored, netting 43 times in qualifying.
Not only does Germany possess an incredibly talented and experienced starting XI, but they also have fantastic strength in depth, as proved by their Confederations Cup success. Interestingly, not one team who has won the Confederations Cup has gone on to win the World Cup the following year.
Germany must make history if they are to lift the trophy.
The German player know how to win
One glance at the team which played in the 2014 World Cup final shows many players who will be on the side again for this tournament. Manuel Neuer, Mats Hummels, Jerome Boateng, Mesut Ozil, Thomas Muller and Toni Kroos all started that match and are likely to be Low’s starting XI for their opening group game against Mexico.
Kroos is arguably the key man in Germany, dictating play in the centre of the pitch. Kroos allows the players around him to play with confidence, knowing he will give them the ball at just the right time.
At the time of writing, Ilkay Gundogan is fit and playing well for Manchester City and goalkeeper Neuer is back in action for Bayern Munich after injury before the World Cup starts. The 2014 World Cup final goal scorer Mario Götze, won’t participate in the 2018 World Cup.
Germany even better?
If anything, the Germany squad has become stronger since the 2014 World Cup final and that further underlines their claim as most likely winners of the 2018 event. Players including:
Joshua Kimmich, Niklas Sule, Julian Draxler, Sebastian Rudy, Leroy Sane, Sandro Wagner, Timo Werner and Leon Goretzka are all hoping to seal a place in the Germany team.
However, some of these players may not even make the squad, such as Leroy Sane, and there is no better argument than that for Germany to win the 2018 World Cup. They also have the Barcelona first choice goalkeeper as their back-up, which is phenomenal.
Germany know how World success looks like
Germany has won the World Cup four times and has reached the semi-final on each of the last four occasions. They have made 18 appearances at the World Cup, have made the semi-final 13 times and the final 8 times. They are a footballing nation ingrained with success, and that will not change in 2018.
There were doubts raised over the future of coach Joachim Low when Germany lost to France in the 2016 European Championship semi-final, but he stayed and had built on that defeat to make Germany leading contenders in Russia.
Their current squad of players is arguably the strongest they have had in the past 24 years. They have been drawn into a comfortable group, and if they win the team, Germany could face Switzerland in the Round of 16 and Poland or England in the quarter-final.
Will Germany repeat history after 56 years?
The only thing which appears to be against Germany is the statistic of no team successfully defending the trophy since Brazil in 1962. Knowing the German mentality, such information will not bother them, in fact, they will look at it as a challenge.
There is seemingly no negativity when it comes to Germany’s chances of lifting the World Cup, and they must start the tournament as favourites.
The Samba Nation Ready to Dance Again – Brazil
There is no doubt Brazil suffered at the 2014 World Cup finals, with players crying on the pitch as they were taken apart by eventual winners Germany in the semi-final.
Following that, their next major tournament was the 2016 Copa America Centenario, and minus their star player, Neymar, Brazil bowed out at the group stage.
So far, this does not sound like a team who are ready to take on and defeat the world in Russia, but something has changed in recent months which has made Brazil a team to be feared again heading into the 2018 World Cup.
Credits to Fabiano Mesquita
Having made a shaky start in their World Cup qualifying campaign, Brazil appointed Tite as the coach and he has come in and done a magnificent job. Not only did Brazil qualify for the 2018 World Cup, but they also did so in style, winning the notoriously tough CONMEBOL section by a massive 10 points from second place Uruguay.
They lost just one of their 18 qualifying games, scoring 41 goals and conceded only 11, which is a tremendous record.
How do Brazil like to play?
Tite likes to employ a 4-1-4-1 formation, which he has regularly used throughout his managerial career and has cleverly incorporated his critical players into this system. Casemiro players in front of the defence, with Neymar operating from the left side of the four in-front of Casemiro and Gabriel Jesus playing as the central attacker.
Dani Alves and Marcelo have been playing well in Tite’s system, and Renato Augusto has become an essential man in the midfield. Perhaps the biggest turn around in form has been with Paulinho. He is one of Tite’s favourite players and has delivered for Barcelona having made a move from Chinese football.
However, while Tite has delivered a fresh wave of optimism in Brazil, they have failed to reach the heights expected of them in recent World Cup finals, losing out at the semi-final stage last time out and falling at the quarter-final stage in both 2006 and 2010. This is not good enough for a nation who prides themselves on producing the most skillful players in the world, and they will be determined to put that right in Russia.
Brazil’s improved veteran defence
Perhaps the first thing to note about this current Brazil team is their defence. They have a defensive unit which is not only talented but very experienced. Dani Alves, Miranda, Marcelo, Thiago Silva, David Luiz and Felipe Luiz are all in their 30’s, and for many, this will be their last World Cup finals
The one thing of this current team which is missing from their CV is an appearance in the World Cup final, and this may play on their mind as they reach the latter stages of the tournament.
Players from keeper to striker
Ederson has emerged as a potential first-choice goalkeeper given his exploits with Manchester City this season, and he will be battling with Alisson for the number one jersey.
As highlighted above, Paulinho has reinvented himself as a box to box midfield player at Barcelona, and he and Casemiro of Real Madrid will provide the inner midfield toughness and allow Philippe Coutinho the freedom to attack.
With Gabriel Jesus, and the world-class Neymar operating in the forward positions, Brazil has a young and fluent look to their attacking play.
Much more talent up front than 2014
The same could not be said in 2014 when veteran striker Fred and Atletico Mineiro’s Jo were the two forward options, and Brazil looked static at times in the forward areas.
Brazil looks more like ‘Brazil’ with Neymar and Gabriel Jesus in attack than Fred and Jo. Over the years, the most successful Brazilian teams have included star names in forwarding positions such as Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Romario, Rivaldo, Pele and Garrincha. The current Brazil squad is closer to providing these types of players than the one four years ago.
History at their side
History suggests Brazil will go far in the tournament, having played in 11 semi-finals from 20 previous World Cup finals. They have made the final 7 times and won on 5 occasions. Brazil is a nation who believes the World Cup belongs to them and it is easy to see why with a record like that.
Fitness of players crucial
Little doubt current Brazil is starting XI can do well at the 2018 World Cup and win the tournament. However, if they were to lose a couple of key players such as Neymar and Philippe Coutinho, they cannot replace them, so Brazil is relying on them remaining fit throughout.
We can remember what happened in the 1998 World Cup final when Ronaldo was not fit and the 2014 World Cup when Neymar was not available. We could see the same thing happen again in 2018, but if Brazil can keep everyone fit, they can reach the final and win the World Cup.
The Explosive Talents – France
France came up just short at the 2016 European Championship on home soil having reached the final only to lose out 1-0 to a stubborn Portugal team in extra-time. The 2018 World Cup is likely to be the last tournament for manager Didier Deschamps, and he could not have asked for a better squad of players to take with him to Russia.
Credits to Nazionale Calcio
The best French side since 20 years
One glance at the French squad and you can argue this is the best group of players they have had since winning the World Cup in 1998. Therefore, it would seem logical to suggest they can match that feat and lift the trophy at the 2018 World Cup, marking the 20th anniversary of their only World Cup victory to date.
20 year back
The squad in 1998 included:
Fabien Barthez, Laurent Blanc, Marcel Desailly, Lillian Thuram, Didier Deschamps, Zinedine Zidane, Robert Pires, Youri Djorkaeff and a young Thierry Henry.
and back to 2018
The current crop of players includes:
Hugo Lloris, Raphael Varane, N’Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi, Paul Pogba, Thomas Lemar, Antoine Griezmann and a young Kylian Mbappe.
There is a definite likeness between these two groups of players and one man, in current manager Deschamps, is the link between the two. However, the depth of talent available to Deschamps now is arguably stronger than that of the squad in 1998.
Talent in depth
There is cover in each position, and some top-quality players are likely to miss out on the plane for Russia. Fitness permitting, players including Alexandre Lacazette, Olivier Giroud, Ousmane Dembele, Kingsley Coman and Nabil Fekir will all be worried about their spot in the squad.
Most of these players would command a place in the starting XI of many other teams at the 2018 World Cup, but perhaps this is part of the puzzle Deschamps must solve if France is to win the tournament.
It’s all very well having a second and third group of players which could easily win their group but what is the best blend of players for the first team? Having a vast pool of talent is great but only if you can get the starting XI playing to their best and the jury is still out as far as that is concerned.
Finding the best balance in the starting XI has been a problem and having the individual talent is one thing but forming a cohesive unit is something else entirely, and questions marks have been raised as to whether Deschamps is the man for the job. You cannot doubt France have a group of players capable of winning the 2018 World Cup and if they come together as a team, it will be a frightening prospect for everyone else in Russia.
France has the talent to win, but the team?
Looking back at previous performances, France has reached the semi-final 5 times from 14 appearances but have made the final only twice. They do not have the consistency of a Germany or Brazil but have shined on more than one occasion to make the final.
France have the players to tear teams apart and make the final once again. Nobody will fancy playing them in a one-off, knockout match and the latter stages of the tournament is all about knockout football. France are equipped to win the 2018 World Cup.
Can The Little Flee Lead To Glory? – Argentina
Every football fan who has an interest in the World Cup will know it is the one major trophy missing from the collection of Lionel Messi. The argument is that he can only be classed as the best player we have ever seen if he can win the World Cup with Argentina.
Credits to Sain Alizada
Last chance for Messi
Well, this is the last chance saloon for Messi, but he is not the only Argentine player entering the 2018 World Cup knowing it is his last chance to take Argentina to the top of world football.
Quality in all positions
Angel Di María, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Lucas Biglia, Javier Mascherano, Nicolas Otamendi, Sergio Romero and Ever Banega – are likely to be playing at their final World Cup finals.
What happens to the Argentina team when these players leave is something their fans don’t want to think about, especially as question marks remain over what this group can achieve.
Argentina’s poor qualifying to the WC 2018
To say Argentina was inconsistent in qualifying is an understatement and they needed a win in their final group game against Ecuador to secure their place in Russia.
They only won 7 of their 18 qualifying games, and this does not suggest a team capable of winning the World Cup. Argentina, for all their attacking talent, scored only 19 goals in 18 qualifying games, conceding 16 in the process to leave them with a goal difference of just plus 3.
It seems crazy to suggest a team including:
Paulo Dybala, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Angel Di Maria, Javier Pastore and Mauro Icardi – cannot do without Lionel Messi but it is true.
All depending on Messi
The qualifying campaign was dreadful for Argentina and cannot simply be swept under the carpet. There are clearly some problems which need to be addressed before the tournament but they still finished third in a very tough group.
However, take Messi out of their qualification campaign, and Argentina are left with 12 goals. He scored a hattrick against Ecuador in the final game when Argentina was losing to take them to the World Cup.
The point is, Messi is so good that he is far above players in the Argentina team who are regularly referred to as being world class. If Messi were injured, the impact it would have on the Argentina camp would be massive, and it is unlikely they would get any further than the quarter-final.
With Messi fit and at his best, Argentina can win the World Cup. The weight of a nation is firmly on the shoulders of one man.
Argentina know’s finals
Not that Argentina have a bad record at the World Cup and before Messi was on the scene, they had already reached 4 World Cup finals, winning two of them.
Having made 16 appearances at the World Cup, Argentina has made the semi-final 5 times and each time they have gone on to make the final. So, if the current Argentina team reaches the semi-final of the 2018 World Cup, history suggests they will progress to the final.
The man on the sidelines
Manager, Jorge Sampaoli is the third manager to take charge of Argentina on the road to Russia. The former Sevilla boss did well in his time as manager of Chile, leading them to success in the 2015 Copa America and taking them to the Round of 16 at the 2014 World Cup.
Sampaoli is known for favouring a pressing style of football, and many Argentina fans believe he will go to Russia in an attacking frame of mind. The problem will be finding the right balance in midfield and attack as there is only room so many of their talented forward players in the starting XI.
Hard questions for Sampaoli
Both Lionel Messi and Paulo Dybala must surely start, and this leaves one place in the attack for Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Mauro Icardi. Who do you leave out? How Sampaoli answers this question could have a considerable bearing on how well Argentina do at the World Cup.
Their group is not the easiest and Croatia, Nigeria and Iceland should all give Argentina a good game, but they are expected to come through as group winners. They would leave a match with the team finishing second in the France group but after that it gets tough, and the possibilities include Spain in the quarter-final and Germany in the semi-final.
History is also against both Argentina and Brazil in that no South American nation has won the World Cup on European soil since the Brazilians in 1958.
What are Argentina’s chances?
Seeing Lionel Messi lift the World Cup would be a unique sight, most neutral football fans would agree. As shown in the qualifying match against Ecuador, the Barcelona forward can win games on his own.
However, to win a series of matches in the World Cup against the top nations from around the globe is going to require more than one man and Messi’s teammates must contribute. If his teammates can reach their heights and combine well together across the knockout stages of the tournament, Argentina can win the 2018 World Cup.
Their Strongest Side Since 2012 – Spain
The fact Spain entered the draw for the 2018 World Cup finals in pot 2, tells you something about where they have been in recent years.
Spain’s recent downfall
Having won the World Cup in 2010, the only victory in their history, they went out at the group stage as defending champions four years later. This was an embarrassment for Spanish football, but they did not fare much better at the 2016 European Championship, being eliminated at the Round of 16 by Italy.
The Spanish were forced to face Italy again in their qualifying group for the 2018 World Cup, but this time they held the Italians away from home and defeated them comfortably on home soil to seal their place in Russia.
Credits to Katatonia82
Spain still a dominant force
Having performed poorly at recent tournaments, Spain were placed in pot 2, but the fact the teams in pot 1 were all hoping to avoid the Spanish in their group tells you they are still a force to be reckoned with.
Staying loyal to the squad from 16
Interestingly, much of the current Spanish first-choice XI is the same as the team which lost to Italy in the Round of 16 at the European Championship in France:
David De Gea, Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, David Silva and Alvaro Morata. All played in that match and are highly likely to be in Julen Lopetegui’s starting XI at the World Cup. Morata is the only player not in the 2018 Spain squad list.
The new midfield leader
However, perhaps the main addition to the Spanish team from two years ago is Isco. The Real Madrid attacking midfielder has been in superb form over the past 18 months and has cemented himself in the Real Madrid starting XI under Zinedine Zidane. Only in the last few months there was a dip of form in Isco’s game.
Saul and Thiago have been performing well in midfield for Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich respectively. Iago Aspas will be hoping his excellent form at Celta Vigo will earn him a place the starting XI.
It will be interesting to see how Diego Costa will play for Spain in the World Cup, after recent poor performances for Spain in big tournaments.
No replacements (except Isco)
Given their failures at recent tournaments, perhaps some new players should be given a chance to shine in Russia, but there does not appear to be anyone stepping forward to replace the likes of Andres Iniesta, Sergio Ramos and David Silva in the team.
Having said that, how many teams at the 2018 World Cup would welcome these players into their squad? Most of them other than perhaps Germany. That alone must make Spain a genuine contender for the 2018 World Cup.
Great chances of reaching the Semi-Finals. From there?
They will qualify from their group and will fancy their chances of doing to group winner. This will leave them facing the runner-up of Group A, which will be one of Egypt, Russia and Saudi Arabia. It would be a massive shock if Spain did not defeat whichever of those teams they face.
We then reach the quarter-final stage and the potential for a meeting with Argentina.
Argentina has the most significant attacking threat of these two nations, but Spain has a superior defence and midfield, plus arguably the best goalkeeper in the world. Based on this, Spain could reach the semi-final. From there, we are talking a one-off match to reach the World Cup final.
Last chance for the old gaurd
The replaced, Julen Lopetegui has guided the Spanish youth teams to victory at the Under-19 and Under-21 UEFA European Championships. This is a man who knows what it takes to win international tournaments, all be it at youth level. After the scandal of his replacement following his appointment for Real Madrid head coach, this might bring chaos to the Spanish side. The current coach Fernando Hierro doesn’t have the experience, and this might cost the title for Spain.
It will be the last chance for some of Spain’s superstars to show the world what they can do. They have a group of players and a manager who has won at international level. It would not be a surprise to see them bow out in style with another win at the most significant tournament of them all.
Last Chance For Golden Era – Belgium
One glance at Belgium’s World Cup history suggests a nation who has never really threatened to win the trophy. Once they have reached the semi-final in 12 attempts and that was back in 1986, so what is different now?
Credits to Pupo Rodrigues
So many top player
The simple answer is this current Belgium squad has so many top players compared to the team in earlier years. You just cannot discount them as potential winners of the 2018 World Cup.
If a club football team had the following players in their starting XI, they would be ranked as favourites for the Champions League, of that there is little doubt:
Thibaut Courtois, Jan Vertonghen, Thomas Vermaelen, Thomas Meunier, Toby Alderweireld, Mousa Dembele, Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Dries Mertens and Romelu Lukaku.
This is a team of 11 players who together, can win the World Cup. From the goalkeeper, the central defenders, the central midfielders, the attacking creativity, the pace and the goal scoring threat, this is a squad that has it all.
The great thing about the Belgium team is they also have options off the bench. The experienced Vincent Kompany at the back, Marouane Fellaini, Axel Witsel and Youri Tielemans in midfield and Yannick Carrasco and Michy Batshuayi in the attack.
Yes, these players may not be world class, but they can come into the team when required and do a good job. The majority are playing at top European clubs and know what it takes to win big trophies at club level. They now need to make that one stage further and win something as a group with the Belgium national team.
Belgium’s time is now
They broke plenty of records on their way to Russia, remaining unbeaten during qualifying and scoring 43 goals, which allowed Romelu Lukaku to become the top goal scorer for his country.
Is the dressing room to big for Martinez?
The primary concern is the manager. Roberto Martinez is struggling to win over the players, and according to Kevin De Bruyne, who was speaking after the friendly draw with Mexico, the opposition was better tactically, and this is a worry for the Belgium team coming into the World Cup.
The thought is that there is no organisation defensively to the team and they are leaving themselves too open at the back by having attacking players in defensive-minded positions.
However, it is impossible to deny Belgium have one of the most talented groups of players of any team heading to Russia. If they can win their qualifying group in record style, finishing 9 points above second place Greece yet claim to be playing nowhere near as good as they could be, it must be worrying for the other teams in the tournament.
The possible draws
Belgium should have little difficulty progressing from a group which contains England, Panama and Tunisia. They are likely to play Colombia or Poland in the Round of 16 and have the potential to defeat both of those teams.
The quarter-final will be the crunch game for Belgium, having failed at that point in both the last World Cup and European Championship. If they can get over that hurdle, it will not only produce massive belief in the squad they can win the tournament. It will see them defeat one of the other big favourites of the competition in the process.
Nobody would want to face a team containing Eden Hazard, Kevin De Bruyne, Dries Mertens and Romelu Lukaku in the semi-final of the World Cup. This quartet of players can open any defence on the planet. If Belgium can keep them fit, they have the potential to win the 2018 World Cup.
It’s rare for a team outside the top ranked nations to reach a World Cup final and while some of the outsiders, including Portugal, England and Uruguay will believe they have a chance, they are not at the same level of teams highlighted above.
Tripivent World Cup Pick
A look back at recent World Cup finals features teams who were ranked as favourites at the start of the tournament. The cream comes to the top at the World Cup and 2018 will be no different, and our TripIvent World Cup flutter is on Germany.