Which team has the best chance of winning the FIFA World Cup 2018?
The FIFA World Cup 2018 is a while away, but it's never too early for football analysis. The World Cup Qualifiers have almost concluded, with only the playoffs remaining. Most of the teams set to be in the reckoning for the crown come 2018 have gotten through, while some of the big guns a.k.a. the Netherlands and Chile narrowly missed the ticket to football's biggest tournament. I've already had a lot of conversations with my friends about who the favourites are, but isn't it always better to back it up with some solid facts and stats? So let's analyse the teams tipped to take the crown of world champions next summer, based on the qualifiers that have concluded.
The Dark Horses:
Iceland topped Group I of the Europe qualification, beating Croatia, Ukraine and Turkey. The team has taken the footballing world by storm since Euro 2016 (partly due to their Viking chant), and neutrals would definitely love to see the team succeed in Russia. Although consisting of a team of relatively unknown names (save for Gylfi Sigurdsson), they definitely have the potential to spring a surprise and give the bigger teams a tough time.
Croatia is a challenger for the title, mainly due to the talent oozing in its midfield. Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mateo Kovacic make up a brilliant midfield trio, and with Ivan Perisic and Mario Mandzukic up top and a never-say-die attitude within the team, they can give the big teams a run for their money.
Colombia had a difficult qualifying campaign as was generally for most teams in the CONMEBOL qualifiers. But the team does know how to perform well on the big stage, with a run till the Quarter-Finals in 2014 in Rio before being knocked out on penalties by the host, Brazil. The team comprises of many stars - Radamel Falcao who has started the season with a bang for AS Monaco (12 goals in 8 games), James Rodriguez, Juan Cuadrado, and a strong defence with Davinson Sanchez, Cristian Zapata and Yerri Mina at the back. Watch out for Colombia, they can do some damage.
Honorable mentions: Poland, Switzerland, Mexico, Sweden