World Cup 2018: 5 bold predictions
After a long four year gap, the lovers of the beautiful game finally get to see 32 top teams compete for one of the most prestigious trophies in football. Flights carrying the different teams taking part in this year's World Cup have already landed in Russia and it is just a matter of time for the festival to kick-off.
There are several teams that have been labeled as the favorites to take home the trophy, but it in the end only one will take home the cup. Throughout the tournament, there are going to be a lot of surprises, upsets and what not. In other words, the FIFA World Cup is unpredictable and to foretell what is going to happen is almost impossible.
But against all that, here are 5 bold predictions for the event in Russia:
#5 African team to reach the semi-finals
Africa has given some amazing players like Didier Drogba, Samuel Eto'o, George Weah, Yaya Toure, etc. to football, but never have any team from the continent reached the semi-finals of the World Cup. However, this year in Russia we could witness the writing of a new story when an African team overcomes the odds and becomes one of the last four squads in the competition.
There are five nations representing Africa at the World Cup and they are - Nigeria, Senegal, Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia. These five teams are placed 48th, 27th, 45th, 41st, and 21st on the FIFA World ranking respectively.
As we know, Nigeria is the lowest ranked team out of the five and yet they have a strong enough squad to surprise the world. The Super Eagles have already attracted lots of people even before kicking the ball with their striking kits.
Egypt will be relieved after their star man Mohamed Salah, who got injured in the UEFA Champions League final against Real Madrid, returned to training just in time for the World Cup. The Pharaoh's hopes lay on the Liverpool winger and will want him to hit the ground running in order to qualify for further rounds.
Morocco is a young and exciting team, but they face tough competition in the group stage from Iran, Spain, and Portugal. Qualifying from the group itself would be a great achievement for the Atlas Lions. Tunisia looks like the weakest team of the bunch and would find it difficult to get past the group stages.
Senegal is a really balanced team and has got quality throughout the squad. Sadio Mane will be their key man in the attack, but they also have the likes of Kalidou Koulibaly, Idrissa Gueye, Keita Balde, etc in the side. Placed in group H along with Poland, Colombia, and Japan, qualifications to further stages is a real possibility for the side.
Nigeria and Senegal could be the ones to create history at this year's World Cup.