The FIFA Football World Cup 2018

The FIFA World Cup 2018 is finally here. The biggest sporting event in the world, held once in 4 years, will be held in Russia across multiple cities. 


The World Cup
Its time to say Privet to Russia and the World Cup. (For the uninitiated, Privet means Hi in Russian). The battle cards are already drawn. 32 countries from across the world will take on each other for climbing the citadel of sporting history.

From Russia With Love
The power houses for international football - Brazil, Argentina, Germany, and France - are in the race to win the title. Giving them company are other illustrious countries - teams with a lot of potential but underachievers on the world stage - Spain, England, Portugal, Uruguay et al.

The World Cup is not without surprises. Big names like Italy and The Netherlands failed to make the cut during the tough qualifying competitions. The USA is also missing. They will certainly be missed, but their absence will not take the sheen off the Cup. 

Who will Lift The Cup?
There are other equal and emerging countries who are set to make their mark in the World Cup. These include Belgium, who have a star line up, including Kevin De Bruyne, Mo Salah's Egypt and Croatia. Peru and Panama will be playing the Cup for the first time. Iceland , a country with a population of 0.3 Million , are also playing.

Russia will be hosting its first FIFA World Cup. 12 stadiums across 11 cities - from Yekaterinburg in the east, to the capital Moscow , to Kaliningrad to the West - play host to the matches, which will be watched by billions across the world.

Moscow Luzhniki
The Cup has not been without its share of controversies. Less than 48 hours before the start of the Cup, Spain has sacked its manager ( He got a new job at Real Madrid after the World Cup, and did not inform the bosses at his federation). This would certainly throw the Spanish team into turmoil. Spain are one of the top contenders for the Cup.

The Best of the Cup
The injury scares have been giving the fans some tense moments. Brazil's star striker Neymar Jr has come back into prim and proper shape at the very last moment . The star of this year's English Premier League - Mo Salah from Egypt - had an injury scary in the Champions League final in late May. He, too, is in Russia, to make his mark in the top flight of international football.

The best players are here :- Lionel Messi, Thomas Meuller, Iniesta, Neymar, Ronaldo and Mo Salah. They will score the best goals and set many a hearts racing.

Fans

The first match is between hosts Russia and Saudi Arabia. The match itself is a reflection of the fact that the World Cup is a melting pot of world culture. At one end, you have Russia where women can wear skirts smaller than the smallest, while women in Saudi Arabia need to cover themselves from head to toe.

There are a total of 8 groups, with each group having 4 countries. Each of the 4 countries the group play against each other. The top two make it to the knockout stages. The group stages will be played from 14 June to 28 June

Fans
Lets have a look at my assessment on how various teams will fare in the group stages.

Group A

This is one of the most open groups with Uruguay being the only one with a known reputation. It also includes the hosts and Mo Salah's Egypt.

I expect Uruguay and Egypt to move to the next stage.

Uruguay
Egypt
Russia
Saudi Arabia

Group B

This group includes the finest teams from Europe. Hands down, Spain and Portugal should make it to the next stages.

Spain
Portugal
Morocco
Iran

Group C

Once again, this is an open group with France being the only notable name. France and Denmark should make the cut.

France
Denmark
Australia
Peru

Group D

This is a tough group. Argentina made heavy weather of their qualifying campaign and qualified at the last gasp. Nigeria and Croatia will run Argentina close. Argentina (don't miss - they have Lionel Messi), and Nigeria would go through to the knockout stages.

Argentina
Nigeria
Croatia
Iceland

Group E

Brazil are hot favorites. Costa Rica had a great run 4 years ago, when they reached the quarter finals. Brazil and Switzerland should top this group.

Brazil
Switzerland
Costa Rica
Serbia

Group F

Germany, the reigning Champions, and Mexico should make their mark in this group. South Korea and Mexico can run them close.

Germany
Mexico
Sweden
South Korea 

Group G

Belgium and England should move to the next stage in this group.

Belgium
England
Panama
Tunisia

Group H

This group does not have any star teams and each of them have a good chance of entering the knockouts. Colombia and Poland have the best chance to make the cut.

Colombia
Poland
Japan
Senegal

The matches to look out in the group stages are :- 
15 June 2018 - Portugal Vs Spain
17 June 2018 - Brazil Vs Switzerland
17 June 2018 - Germany Vs Mexico
26 June 2018 - Nigeria Vs Argentina
28 June 2018 - England Vs Belgium

The Knockout stage is another ball game altogether. One bad match - and you are on the next flight home. One good match - and a top team can knocked out as you become the star of your country. 

All in all, it promises to be an exciting World Cup. Do try your best to catch your favorite teams in action.

Winston Churchill once said :- Russia is a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma. This very Russia will unwrap the Champions of World Football on 15 July 2018.

Enjoy the Cup !!
The FIFA Football World Cup 2018 The FIFA Football World Cup 2018 Reviewed by Vyankatesh on Thursday, June 14, 2018 Rating: 5

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