THE TALON

World Cup Predictions

When the best in the world come together, who will come out on top?

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It’s World Cup szn, so let’s get down to predictions. My picks are based on very little research, considering there are always upsets in the World Cup and one 90 minute match is hardly long enough to determine the better team. In 2014, Group C was a prime example of an upset table, as Costa Rica and Uruguay easily beat out Italy and England, two legendary soccer champions. In Group A, I selected Russia purely off of home team advantage and Uruguay due to their fearless attacker Luis Suarez. Group B seemed to have pretty clear frontrunners in Portugal and Spain, though Spain was surprised early in group stages last World Cup. Morocco, surprising many other African powerhouse nations such as Ghana, will likely cause a scare but is unlikely to qualify past the group stages with Portugal and Spain. France is a probable victor for this World Cup, and with young talent in Antoine Griezmann and Paul Pogba, this reality could be enough to defeat archrivals Germany and Spain. Tottenham star midfielder Christian Eriksen will lead Denmark, who launched a late run to qualify the Danes for their fifth World Cup appearance. Finishing second in UEFA group standings, it was a surprise for many to seem them in the bracket, but they are viable candidates for the quarterfinals in Russia. I’ve kept it fairly unexciting for the first few groups, but here is where it gets interesting. I chose Croatia and Iceland to beat out Argentina, which is an unlikely proposition, but considering how Argentina’s qualification stages went, I do not think it is out of the question. Switzerland caps off Group E in first place with Brazil in second, who I hesitantly have qualifying contrary to my opposition to their organization. Germany will advance, naturally (I am 99.9% positive), but I chose Mexico to fall short of South Korea, a team that has progressed quickly in Asia. Belgium and England seem like the likely contenders to qualify from Group G, and Colombia and Japan finish off the final and weakest group. My semi-finals consist of Croatia, Germany, France, and Belgium, which is an all European final four. Within these four teams, I have France defeating Germany in the finals and clenching their second ever World Cup victory with a score of 1-0.

-Eliot

The draw for the 2018 World Cup was highly anticipated, with teams such as Iran, Egypt, Morocco, Senegal, and Tunisia qualifying for the contest for the first time or making a rare appearance in the contest. Personally, I felt that the group picks were fairly obvious as to who would advance. I see Mexico as a slight underdog in Group F, considering there is a lot of hype surrounding the Icelandic team and their performance in the Euro 2016. In Groups A,C, and H, superstar players Robert Lewandowski (Poland), Christian Eriksen (Denmark), and Mohamed Salah (Egypt) will carry their relatively inexperienced teams past the group stage but not much further. In the Round of 16, renowned powerhouses such as Germany, Brazil, and Spain will easily make it into the quarterfinals. With big name matchups such as Neymar’s Brazil v. Kevin De Bruyne’s Belgium or Germany v. England in the quarter final, we could look forward to seeing displays of pure class and stout defense. Flashing forward to the final, I project 2014 World Cup champion Germany facing off against a relatively young France squad that looks very promising. France made it to the UEFA European Championship final in 2016 only to lose to Portugal, which means they’ll be looking to prove themselves as the next world power in soccer. With skill players such as Dimitri Payet, Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembélé, and Kylian Mbappé France definitely has the offensive firepower to upset an established German National Team, who actually lost to the French in the 2016 Euro semi final. In the end, I think France will outlast Germany again and become the next dynasty in international soccer.  

-Chase

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