After 4 years, it’s finally here!
The 2018 Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA for short) World Cup. The only time we will see millions of fans around the world as they each root for their favorite teams in hope they advance and compete in the finals.
As the first match kicks off in 3 days, we decided to do a special coverage!
So here’s a list of things you should know as the 2018 World Cup approaches:
1) Russia is current host of the FIFA World Cup.
After a voting process, FIFA President, Sepp Blatter announces that Russia will be the host for the 2018 World Cup. However, not many are happy with Blatter’s decision.
This is because the act of allowing Russia to host is controversial due to several reasons. Russia sees a number of military conflict, acts of racism and corruption allegations with regards to Russia’s hosting rights by FIFA.
Read more: The Top 5 Legal Controversies on Russia Hosting The 2018 World Cup.
2) Some of the countries are not playing this year.
When you think about the World Cup, you’ll likely think that every country has a chance to fight on the global stage. For countries like Italy and Holland, it seems like they’ll be staying home this summer.
Italy failed to qualify into the 2018 World Cup due to a lack of great forwards in the past such as Roberto Baggio, Francesco Totti and Christian Vieri. More so, Italy were in the same qualifying group as Spain and failed to score against Sweden.
As for Holland, they might have misplaced their hopes and relying on Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder for 7 years after they reached the World Cup final in South Africa adds on to their recent disqualification in the World Cup.
If there’s one thing we know about football, once you’re injured you’re out. Sad to say there are a few player that missed the opportunity to participate in the World Cup due to suffering from serious injuries.
Players like Sergio Romero (Argentina), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (England) and many more have been ruled out by FIFA due to sustaining serious injuries that would not allow them to participate.
Neymar and Salah’s injuries also makes it questionable as to whether they will play for their respective teams in the upcoming World Cup.
Fun fact: Neymar currently is the most expensive player at the moment, having made the most expensive transfer in the football world.
4) A New World Cup, A Whole New World
The World Cup is always fill with uncertainties. As such, it has been 4 years since the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and certainly the football landscape changed quite a bit.
Remember back in 2014? Spain was sitting on top of the world as they have won back to back European Championships in 2008 and 2012 while they were the reigning world champions.
They were later embarrassed in the group stages and in 2018 they are looking to regain their spot on top of the world.
5) Winners? Losers? Here’s Our Predictions.
Certainly we’re no experts at forecasting odds or betting. So in the spirit of tech, we decide to let Goldman Sacs’ machine learning AI try and predict the World Cup.
Coming from the back of their disastrous 7-1 semi-final exit to Germany in 2014, Brazil would be back with a vengeance this time out.
Brazil are filled with quality from front to back. From Manchester City’s Ederson and Danilo as the defence, Real Madrid’s Marcelo and Casmeiro, Manchester United-bound Fred, Chelsea’s Willian, Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino and world’s most expensive player Neymar. Collectively, this looks like an extremely strong side.
Overachiever: Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia would be playing the tournament’s opening match against Russia. Being in the same group with Uruguay and Egypt, it may be tough for them to get any result of note.
Whilst Uruguay’s solid team has been prone to controversies and collapses, Egypt suffers from the lack of Mohamad Salah following his injury at the UEFA Champions League Final.
As such, Saudi Arabia might just be able to pull off a surprise in this group and manage a valiant effort in this World Cup.
Argentina would be the automatic heavyweight in this group alongside Euro 2016 surprise package Iceland, Croatia with Ivan Perisic (Inter Milan) and Luka Modric (Real Madrid) and Nigeria who could be the dark horses in this situation.
It’s quite clear that Argentina had a difficult time making it through their World Cup qualification. Even with Lionel Messi, Marcos Rojo and Willy Caballero the Argentinians had barely scraped by to the plane onto Russia.
With a drop in performance and Sergio Romero’s disqualification, it might be a struggle for Argentina to perform well at this World Cup.
At the end of the day, the World Cup sees the gathering of fans for the one thing they love: Football. (We’re excited about it too!)
That’s because at the end of the day regardless of which team you’re rooting for, it’s all about the game. Nothing beats a match filled with honorable sportsmanship.