World Cup 2018: Top 5 contenders from Europe
Its 14 days to the Mundial and as the build-up towards the world’s greatest single-sport competition continues apace, a clearer picture has begun to emerge of Europe’s superpowers and what they would be looking to achieve.
No team outside Europe and South America has ever lifted football’s ultimate trophy but, a look at some of the African, North American and Asian teams that will be in Russia suggests that the favoured teams will need to give their all to avoid being shocked.
As the continent with the largest number of teams at this (and every other Mundial to be honest), Europe has produced the largest collection of winners (England, Germany, Spain, France) and is the continent being tipped by bookmakers/pundits to produce the eventual winner.
Here is a look at 5 of the continent’s superpowers and their chances of going all the way to the final at Moscow’s Luzhniki Stadium on July 15th:
Fearlessness, passion, and bravery are some of the tired clichés that have been thrown around to describe the current English team and given the lack of hype and expectation surrounding this particular squad, the Three Lions look ideally prepared to spring a shock at the FIFA World Cup.
Gone is the shamefully named “Golden Generation” of players who were great at club level but terrible for the national side. In its place, manager Gareth Southgate has picked a group of young, hungry players based primarily on club from and not pedigree.
Players like Joe Hart and Jack Wilshire would have been expected to make the squad but their poor showings in the just concluded season have meant that they were rightly dropped and new players who had delivered for their clubs called up instead.
There is a clear lack of star names in this squad but if they can be resolute in defence and compact in the midfield, they have the pace to trouble teams with Raheem Sterling, Jesse Lingard, and Dele Alli expected to provide the legs and ammunition for captain Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy upfront.
If Southgate can get them playing as a cohesive unit and with a favourable draw, the English should be able to confidently face down opposing teams in Russia.