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5 predictions for the 2018 World Cup

Vishrut Kumar
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
15.60K   //    09 Jun 2018, 14:50 IST

The biggest spectacle in world sport kicks off in less than a week and anticipation for this year’s FIFA World Cup is at a resounding crescendo. Everybody is off making their predictions as to who will win and who will bomb.

Football pundits are spending hours analysing each and every squad and offering tips that have sent prospective managers scurrying to build their fantasy football teams. Battle lines are being drawn and allegiances have been declared as fans around the world gear up for the big event.

The same old storylines and debates have cropped up on whether Messi will finally win a World Cup, or will the German machine once again stand supreme, or will Samba magic envelop Russia, or will Cristiano Ronaldo repeat 2016’s magic... the list goes on. Amidst all the swirling theories and preconceived notions, I thought I too would throw out a few predictions regarding this year’s World Cup, and so here is a look at 5, slightly bold, predictions for Russia 2018:


#1 Mo Salah fails to make an impact in this World Cup


FBL-EUR-C1-LIVERPOOL-REAL MADRID
Mo Salah was injured in the Champions League final

Mo Salah’s rise to super-stardom this season has been nothing short of meteoric. He quickly established himself as one of the premier attacking forces in the Premier League and shattered Alan Shearer’s long-standing single-season scoring record. He also guided Liverpool to the Champions League final and catapulted himself into the conversation for this year’s Ballon d'Or award.

The Egyptian King provided an entire country with a new hero and gave the Kop a new song to sing and so naturally all eyes will be on him to see what he will achieve with Egypt at the World Cup. Here is the thing though, I believe he is set to be massively underwhelming.

The biggest reason for this is the question mark over his health. Sergio Ramos’ controversial tackle which brought Salah’s night to a premature end in the Champions League final has also left him in a race to be fit in time for the World Cup.

Reports coming out of the Egyptian camp are positive with many claiming he will be fit in time for Egypt’s opener against Uruguay, but there will most certainly be doubts about whether he is 100% fit, and it will be incredibly difficult for Salah to regain the dazzling form he has shown this season, if he is anything short of fully fit.

Also read: Salah: Leaving Champions League final worst moment of my career

Salah’s record-breaking season was also massively aided by the contributions of Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane, and unfortunately for Salah, the Egypt squad lacks players of a similar calibre.

Starved of service, Salah might have to endure frustrating nights in front of goal and with defences setting up with the primary purpose of stopping him, it will not be easy for him to create his own looks. Salah might well end up surprising the world yet again, but for now, he looks primed to have a disappointing World Cup.

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Vishrut Kumar
ANALYST
Avid Sports follower. Manchester United supporter for life!! But F1 is my passion and I adore Kimi Raikkenon.
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