We are exactly 1 month away from the World Cup starting, which means exciting times worldwide. The World Cup will be held in Russia, so get your vodka ready and check out this analysis and predictions for the Group Stage.
Group A – Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay
Russia – They have been struggling in the international scene since 2008 when they made it to the semi-finals in the EURO 2008 tournament. They failed to make the 2ndround in Brazil 2014 which isn’t a good sign, couple in the fact that most of their players play in the Russian League, which isn’t too bad, but also isn’t that great. But they are playing the cup at home, so they do have a chance of making it to the 2ndRound.
Saudi Arabia – Another team that has been struggling since they surprised everyone at the 1994 World Cup by beating Belgium and making it to the 2ndRound. Most of their current players play in Saudi Arabia, so it isn’t looking too good for them.
Egypt – They are playing in their 2ndever World Cup and things look promising. They have Mohammed Salah at Forward and he is one of the best players in the world. Look for them to be in the running for the 2ndround.
Uruguay – Look for them to bounce back after failing to qualify out of the 1stRound in Brazil. They have a pretty solid Defense of Godin, Jimenez, and Caceres, and have Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani at forward. Look for them to win Group A.
This group will be a 3 way race between Russia, Egypt, and Uruguay. My prediction is Uruguay wins this group. Even though Egypt has Mo Salah, look for Russia to use their home field advantage to come in 2ndplace and qualify for the 2ndRound.
Group B – Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran
Portugal -They are the current European Champions and have arguably the best player in the world in Cristiano Ronaldo. He still has phenomenal abs at 33. They do have an aging team, which should make it their last hurrah. Look for them to be in the running to win the Group.
Spain – They are a pretty deep team and one of the favorites to win it. They have good depth at every position and have a few veterans and a few young stars mixed in. This will be the last World Cup for veterans Sergio Ramos, Gerard Pigue, and Andres Iniesta who are at the end of their careers, but Look for Marco Asensio, Isco, and Lucas Vazquez to pick up the slack. Look for them to win this group.
Morocco – They have only ever made it out of the 1stRound once in 1986, and it’s not looking like it will be happening this year. They will battle Iran for 3rdplace.
Iran – They have never made it out of the 1stRound. They will be in the running for 3rdplace in the group.
Look for the 2 powerhouses Portugal and Spain to come out of this group, with Spain claiming the #1 seed.
Group C – France, Australia, Peru, Denmark
France – France is a completely stacked squad who is a favorite to win it all. Their options are almost limitless over who they can put in. Their defense can field Raphael Varane, Samuel Umtiti, and Lucas Digne. Their midfielders are Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi, and Kingsley Coman and at Forward they have Antoine Griezman, Olivier Giroud, Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele, Anthony Martial, and Dimitri Payet. The real question is who will not be on the roster. Look for them to win this group.
Australia – The question is will the ageless wonder Tim Cahill play again, he is 38 and an Aussie legend. Look for the socceroos to be in the running for 2ndplace.
Peru – This is their first world cup since 1982. Look for them to be in the running for 2ndplace.
Denmark – They have a few good players such as Christian Eriksen and Andreas Christensen who play in the EPL. They will also be in the running for that 2ndplace spot.
Look for France to win this group big. After hard fought battles, look for Denmark to come out in 2ndplace.
Group D – Argentina, Iceland, Croatia, Nigeria
Argentina – Argentina is another team that is a favorite to win it. This is also another team with aging stars. They of course have Lionel Messi leading the attack, but also throw in Angel Di Maria, Sergio Aguerro, Gonzalo Higuain, and Paulo Dybala and this is a team made to attack. Look for them to win the group.
Iceland – Iceland came out of nowhere in the Euro 2016 tournament tying Portugal and Hungary and beating England and Austria before losing to France in the quarter finals. They have the best names in the tournament, including Runar Runarsson and Bodvar Bodvarsson. Look for them to be in the running.
Croatia – They have arguably the best midfield in the entire tournament. These players include Ivan Rakitic, Mateo Kovacic, Luka Modric, Ivan Perisic, and Marcelo Brozovic, and throw in Nikola Kalinic and Mario Mandzukic on the front line and they will be formidable.
Nigeria – The Super Eagles have not it made it out of the 1stround since the 1998 World Cup. They will be in the running for 2ndplace.
Look for Argentina to win the group and Croatia to come in 2ndplace.
Group E – Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia
Brazil – Brazil is one of the favorites to win this World Cup, especially after the humiliating way they ended their 2014 World Cup at home. They are pretty stacked everywhere this time around. On Defense, they have Thiago Silva, Marcelo, Filipe Luis, and Danilo while Dani Alves, David Luiz, and Rafinha are also available to them. In midfield they can put out Willian, Paulinho, Philippe Coutinho, and Casemiro while at forward they can throw out Douglas Costa, Gabriel Jesus, and Neymar. Look for them to win this group.
Switzerland – They did well the last world cup, making it to the 2ndround and losing to eventual runners up Argentina. They have some good players like Stephan Lichtsteiner, Granit Xhaka, and Xherdan Shaqiri. Look for them to be in the running for 2ndplace.
Cosa Rica – They were one of the surprises of the last world cup, eventually losing to the Netherlands in the quarter finals. They have one of the best goalies on the planet in Keylor Navas, and have Bryan Ruiz and Joel Campbell at forward. They will tough to beat.
Serbia – Serbia usually does well in qualifying but underwhelms when they get to the World Cup. They have Aleksandar Kolarov and Nemanja Matic in their defense and midfield along with some good young players. They should be in the running for 2ndplace.
Look for Brazil to win the group with a tough battle for 2ndplace with Switzerland getting the #2 spot.
Group F – Germany, Mexico, Sweden, South Korea
Germany – Germany are the defending World Cup champs and are a definite favorite to repeat as winners. They also lost in the semi finals in the Euro 2016 with their B team so look for them to make a splash. They will have mostly the same core team as the previous World Cup, with the exception of Miroslav Klose and Phillip Lahm who have both retired. They have added youngsters Leon Goretzka, Joshua Kimmich, Julian Draxler, and Julian Brandt, and also have Marco Rues coming back from injury and Thomas Muller plays huge at World Cups, so look for them to win this group.
Mexico – Mexico has a few good players in Hector Moreno, Miguel Layun, Andres Guardado, and Chicharito. Look for them to do well. They usually play very well in the 1stround.
Sweden – The big question for Sweden is whether or not Zlatan Ibrahimovic will come out of retirement to play in the World Cup. These are exciting times for Sweden.
South Korea – South Korea has failed to impress in a World Cup since 2002 when they were hosting the tournament. Hopefully they can impress this year.
Look for Germany to win this group with Mexico getting the #2 spot.
Group G – Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England
Belgium – On paper, Belgium is one of the tournament favorites. They are pretty solid at every position. In their D, they have Toby Alderweireld, Vincent Kompany, and Thomas Vermaelen. Their midfield has Kevin De Bruyne, Marouane Fellaini, and RAdja Nainggolain, while their forwards are their strong point with Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku. Look for them to be in the running to win this group.
Panama – Panama is playing in their first even World Cup. They will most likely be in the running for 3rdplace.
Tunisia – They have never made it out of the 1stround and that is unlikely this year. Look for them to fight Panama for 3rdplace.
England – After getting embarrassed in the 2014 World Cup and failing to get out of the 1stround, look for England to do well this time around. They have a lot of young talent on their team including Eric Dier, Raheem Sterling, Jesse Lingard, Adam Lallana, Dele Alli, Jamie Vardy, and the heartthrob Harry Kane to name a few. Look for them to do well.
England should win this group with Belgium coming in a close 2nd.
Group H – Poland, Senegal, Colombia, Japan
Poland – They have goal scoring supreme Robert Lewandowski up front so they shouldn’t lack for any scoring.
Senegal – The last time they qualified for the World Cup was 2002 and they made it to the quarter finals. With Sadio Mane up front scoring, they are looking to do the same.
Colombia – They surprised a lot of people the last World Cup, this is a very talented team. They have Davinson Sanchez and Juad Cuadrado returning from the last World Cup along with breakout star James Rodriquez. They also have Radamel Falcao coming back from injury. Look for them to score and to score often, and look for them to do their team dance after every goal.
Japan – They haven’t come out of the group stage since South Africa in 2010. They do have Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa so they should be in the running for 2ndplace in the group.
Look for Colombia to win this group and Poland to finish a close 2nd.
Thanks for reading. I will do my 2ndround thru the final predictions soon.
Mr Phenomenal aka Pro Athlete