World Cup 2018 Round of 16 Preview

Here we are! The best have made it to the Round of 16 and below are my picks. Brazil and Spain will disappoint, especially with all of the chaos behind the scenes for La Roja. Firing your coach the day before the World Cup starts, WOAH!! I think Belgium’s got that magic this year. Kevin de Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku is an incredible trio. They are no longer a dark horse and know they have a lot of prove. But did I pick them to win it all? NO!!

2018 World Cup Qualifications - Africa - Egypt vs Congo

Round of 16

  • France – Iceland
  • Uruguay – Portugal
  • Spain – Egypt
  • Argentina – Denmark
  • Brazil – Sweden
  • Belgium – Poland
  • Germany – Serbia
  • Colombia – England
AP MACEDONIA SUPER CUP SOCCER S SOC WSOC MKD

Manchester United’s Marouane Fellaini during the UEFA Super Cup final soccer match between Real Madrid and Manchester United at Philip II Arena in Skopje, Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski) ORG XMIT: XPG134

Quarterfinals

  • France – Uruguay
  • Brazil – Belgium
  • Spain – Argentina
  • Germany – England

world cup runner

Semifinals

  • France – Belgium
  • Argentina- Germany

Finals

  • Belgium – Germany

World Champions

Germany World Cup

GERMANY

The big boy Germans will win this year’s World Cup. The strength of the wolf is the pack and the strength of the pack is the wolf. They are a team that works together and also has a lot of talent. The experience of the last World Cup winners along with the exciting talents of Timo Werner can take them all the way!

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World Cup Preview – Group H

This group is wide open and will make for some quality entertainment. Colombia is the favorite here but Senegal, Poland and Japan will battle hard for the two spots in Group H. This high flying group will be fun to watch with James Rodriguez, Robert Lewandowski and Sadio Mane all battling against each other.

Colombia

Colombia

They have a high flying attack led by James and the Giant Peach. They also have Davidson College Sanchez at the back who had a good season for the Tottenham Hotspurs. Colombia has talent all about the pitch. Is Falcao good again? Some people seem to think so, but I haven’t seen him play since 2013 so it’s hard to say. Colombia is the favorite in the group and I see them taking first.

Japan

Star player Keisuke Honda is apparently playing for Pachucha in Mexico, I didn’t know that! It will take quite a team effort for Japan to advance through this group. They do have some players like Shinji Kagawa and Maya Yoshida playing at Europe’s top level, but they don’t seem as strong as years prior. I pick them to finish last in the group.

El Hadji Diouf

Poland

If they can get service into Robert Lewandowski this Poland team can do well. Lewandowski is one of the world’s best strikers and now is the time to prove his value. Piotr Zielinski is a talented young midfielder and Jakub Blastczczcdqwdjoqhakovski has a really long name. The Poles are in pole position… to finish second in this group.

Mane Senegal

Senegal

Senegal is a super fast team led by Sadio Mane. Along with Mane they have some exciting attackers like Keita Balde and Mbaye Niang. While they will fly around on offense they will have to show strength in defense to get by in a group that has some strong offenses. Can they conjur the magic of El Hadji Diouf and bring this team to the quarterfinals again? It’s possible.

Players to Watch

  1. Sadio Mane
  2. Shinji Kagawa
  3. Robert Lewandowski
  4. James

Group H

  1. Colombia
  2. Poland
  3. Senegal
  4. Japan

World Cup Preview – Group G

This group should offer very few surprises with two strong teams and two weak teams. On the flip side, England have a great propensity to fail, so anything could happen.
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Belgium –

From a dark horse last World Cup to a powerhouse this World Cup. They have all of the pieces to be a dominant team. The only problem? They’re already facing injuries to captain Vincent (Grasson) Kompany and star boy  Eden Hazard. Injuries aside, they should still have the talent to win the group. They have an attack led by many Hazards, Lukakus, and other talented brothers. Manager Roberto Martinez chose to leave off Radja Nainggolan, the scariest looking soccer player in the world, for the weirdest looking soccer player, Marouane Fellaini. If they struggle, many will point to this decision.

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England –

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A team of epic failures and constant problems, will things change this year? It looks like they might. They have a really young and interesting team that actually seem to play well together and get along. It’s all about the play during the tournament though, as they’ve shown this potential before. If things start off well, they could build a lot of momentum going into the knockout rounds. If they have trouble in the beginning, it could get bad. Harry Kane starts stealing Raheem’s goals, the Tottenham players start losing all of the close games because they are cursed, none of their goalies will save any shots, and Wayne Rooney comes back into the team for some reason. They’ll still move on to the knockouts.

Panama –

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They were a great story to qualify, but the odds are not in their favor to go very far. It’s their first time in the tournament, so they’ll be excited to be a part of it. I could see them getting a win against Tunisia, and England depending on which England team shows up, but it’s not likely.

Tunisia –

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Tunisia have injuries up front and not a lot of star power. They are similar in weakness to Panama, and similar in that they’ve got nothing to lose. I could see them winning against Panama maybe, but that’s pretty much it.

Players to Watch –

    1. Wayne Rooney
    2. Kevin De Bruyne

 

  1. Panama Canal
  2. Sir Harold of Kane

Group G –

  1. Belgium
  2. England
  3. Panama
  4. Tunisia

World Cup Preview – Group F

In arguably the strongest group, any of these four teams could qualify for the knockout stages. Led by the always talented Germany, Group F will go down to the last day.

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Germany

This soccer powerhouse will be considered a failure if they don’t make the finals, especially after leaving one of their most talented players, Leroy Sane, off the squad. There’s also been some rumblings of unrest in the team with Ozil and Gundogan taking pictures with President Erdogan of Turkey. Bad timing guys! It really shouldn’t matter though, as this team’s B squad would have a chance of winning the World Cup. Starman Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is coming off a long layoff from an injury, and his match sharpness will be key, but if he’s on, he’s the best in the world.

 

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Mexico

Landon Donovan is reported to be very upset that he wasn’t called up the Mexican team, after playing in Liga MX for a season. Then they chose 53 year-old Rafa Marquez in his place. It’s probably a good choice on their part though. A team with a ton of potential, but a ton of potential to fail as well, Mexico could do well if they show up in the tournament. It seems like their coach, Juan Carlos Osorio, is having a lot of trouble picking a starting 11 and struggling in the past couple games. They have a lot of good attacking options, but I think they’ll be fighting it out with Sweden for the second spot. It’s never a good sign when a team calls a 72 year-old into their team, so their defense is questionable at best.

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Sweden

Power to the Swedes for sticking with what got them to the World Cup and not picking Zlatan. If you can’t start for the LA Galaxy, you probably shouldn’t be starting for Sweden in the World Cup. That, and it would probably cause huge unrest in the locker room from a squad that qualified without him. Watching them qualify, they play really solid defense and have good attackers up front, with Emil Forsberg starring. They’ll battle for second with Mexico. It really depends on their head to head matchup as I think both teams will lose to Germany and beat South Korea.

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South Korea

The Son shines on South Korea, but they need more than one Son get out of this group. They could surprise some, but every team will be doing what they can to shut down their star attacker, who it seems like Korea is doing everything to run the team through. They’re even going as far copying the Tottenham tactics and formation to accommodate their star man. I could see them pulling an upset, but I doubt they’ll get out of the group.

 

Players to Watch

  1. Son Heung-min
  2. Emil Forsberg
  3. President Erdogan
  4. 59 year-old man Rafael Marquez

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Group F

  1. Germany
  2. Sweden
  3. Mexico
  4. South Korea

 

World Cup Preview – Group E

Brazil is the big dog in this group and they should stroll to first place. Switzerland, Serbia and Costa Rica round out the group. Brazil is one of the most talented teams in the world and will be one of the favorites to win it all. The second spot is wide open in this group and any one of the three remaining teams could end up taking it.

Brazil

A team filled with talent including the likes of Neymar, Gabriel Jesus, and Coutinho. Neymar is coming off a serious injury though so it will be worth watching his fitness throughout the tournament. They were stunned 7-1 against Germany in the semifinals of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and are raring to prove themselves in Russia this year. Positives about this team are my boy, Roberto Firmino, and the negatives are the culture of diving this team loves lead by Neymar. I pick them to finish first in the group and they should cruise in Group E.

Neymar Crying

Costa Rica

After a surprising run in the World Cup in 2014 they will have to recapture that magic for another run. This group is muddled for the second spot in the group so Costa Rica has a chance to get to the round of 16. They are led by goalkeeper Keylor Navas from Real Madrid who will have to stand on his head for Costa Rica to get through. They have a strong defense but lack scoring options. Finding goals will be tough for them and I think it will cost them the chance to get to the round of 16.

Karlore Navas

Goalkeeper Karlore Navas

Serbia

The Serbians are a tough team that has a good chance to surprise at the World Cup. They are led by midfield destroyers Nemanja Matic and Luka Milivojevic. They have an exciting young attack with Aleksandr Mitrovic at striker and attacking midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, who is wanted by some of the world’s biggest clubs. Also, give this team an award for long ass names, am I right?! This team is aging and slow on defense which will likely be their downfall. I like Serbia to surprise in this World Cup and I pick them second in Group E.

Switzerland

I feel neutral about this team. Ok, I had to but also I’m not too excited about their prospects at the World Cup. They have a decent team with the likes of Ricardo Rodriguez, and Xherdan Shaqiri leading them. The most exciting player on their team is 21 year old Breel Embolo. He’s an elite athlete but hasn’t completely put it together yet. The Swiss will have to hit the ground running to advance from the group.

Neymar Crying 2

Players to Watch

  1. Sergej Milinkovic-Savic
  2. Aleksandar Mitrovic
  3. Breel Embolo
  4. How many goals Brazil score in this group.

Group E

  1. Brazil
  2. Serbia
  3. Switzerland
  4. Costa Rica

World Cup Preview – Group D

This is a tough group. Argentina will stand as the favorites but Croatia are a very talented team who can cause trouble for Argentina. Nigeria and Iceland round out the group and are no slouches either. Iceland had an incredible run at Euros 2016 and bring a fighting spirit to the World Cup. They will be the fan favorites throughout the tournament. Nigeria is explosive and exciting on attack. Group D is one to watch because any two teams could advance to the round of 16.

Argentina

This team has an ultra talented attack and a mediocre defense. Leo Messi can lead them to glory but other players need to step up. Players like Angel di Maria, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuian need to put in goals and make plays for this team to make it deep into the tournament. The ability is there but can they put it all together when they have to? I still think their defense is weak and Nicolas Otamendi is garbage. I know he made the Premier League team of the year but he was protected by a team that often had 80% of the possession. He was exposed against Liverpool this season and will be exposed with less protection on Argentina. Messi can carry this team but they can win it all if others play well too. I pick them to win the group.

ManeOtamendi

Expect Otamendi to find himself on the ground a lot.

Croatia

This is a dark horse team for a lot of people to go deep into the tournament. They are led by world class midfielder Luka Modric, and he will orchestrate the offense. They have an exceptionally talented midfield with Ivan Rakitic and Ivan Perisic along with Modric. Talent hasn’t been the question, but coaching and having a coherent system are the problem with this team. Croatia finished behind Iceland in qualifying and fired their coach. They have a new, inexperienced coach and if he doesn’t install a fitting style for the team they could struggle. The team also has Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren who can often go walkabout on defense and make bad errors. Croatia could make it to the quarterfinals but they may not get out of this tough group. I pick them third in this group, because I think they will struggle to find form as a team.

Croatia

Iceland

This is your favorite team at the World Cup. They had an incredible run at the 2016 Euros and they could do it again here. Iceland are the opposite of Croatia and they have an incredible team spirit. These things matter a lot when you play a bunch of games in a matter of a few weeks. Gylfi Sigurdsson is the talisman of this Iceland team and he will have a lot to do for Iceland do advance. They will have to work hard and pull some results together but I think they are good enough to get results against Nigeria and Croatia. I’m picking them 2nd in the group mostly because that’s what I want to see.

Iceland

Iceland’s coach and team

Nigeria

This is a tough team with talent in midfield and attack. Led by John Obi Mikel and Wilfred Ndidi in central midfield they will need to control the tempo so their shaky goaltending is not exposed. They also have pacy attackers in Alex Iwobi, Odion Ighalo, Victor Moses and Kelechi Iheanacho. They pose a threat going forward but may start 19 year old goalie Francis Uzoho, who is inexperienced and not playing consistently at club level. The defense is also young and raw. They will need to outscore opponents to move forward. They are capable of that but their defensive issues may be too much to overcome. I pick them last in this very difficult group.

Nigeria

Players to watch

  1. Gylfi Sigurdsson
  2. Kelechi Iheanacho
  3. Leo Messi
  4. Ivan Perisic
  5. What kind of mistakes will Otamendi and Lovren make?

Group D

  1. Argentina
  2. Iceland
  3. Croatia
  4. Nigeria

World Cup Preview – Group C

France is the clear favorite in Group C but that hasn’t stopped them from underperforming before. It would be an upset if they aren’t able to top the group that contains Australia, Denmark and Peru. Denmark has some quality in it as well with Christian Eriksen leading the Danes. This is France’s group to lose but they have been very good at losing in recent World Cups.

Australia

The Soceroos are not expected to go far in the tournament. Aaron Mooy from Huddersfield will be the lead playmaker on a team that will need everyone to be at their absolute best to make it through the group. Their long-time coach, Ange Postecoglu, resigned after they qualified, who was well liked by the team. That leaves the team a bit rudderless with new manager Bert van Marwijk. They will have to learn his style quickly and squeeze out some results to get through. I still pick them to finish fourth in this group.

Zidane

Denmark

The Danes are led by world class midfielder Christian Eriksen. He can change any game in an instant and has proven his value with Tottenham. Kasper Schmeichel is a quality goalkeeper who will need to put in some good performances for Denmark to make it to the round of 16. Nikolai Jorgensen is a big striker who will need to pop in some goals with Eriksen creating chances. They have size and strength throughout the team but not much creativity aside from Eriksen. I like Denmark to finish second in group C ahead of Peru. Eriksen will have to inspire this team to get any further than the round of 16 though.

Great-Dane

Christian Eriksen

France

Les Bleus are the easy favorite to get through this group and definitely one of the most talented sides in the world. The issue here is their youth and inability to mesh as a team. Paul Pogba was in poor form to end the season for Manchester United and he will need to be in form for them to make a run at the title. They have a very strong attack with the likes on Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, and Ousmane Dembele. N’Golo Kante is a tireless worker in the midfield and the former Premier League player of the year will do the dirty work to allow the guys up top to do what they do best. Their inexperience and the fact that Pogba is often more interested in his social media following can be their downfall. They should place first in this group anyway.

Peru

Their captain and leading goal-scorer, Paolo Guerrero, was banned by FIFA for doping. He was found to have actual cocaine with it’s street name also being dope in his system. He appealed and claimed it was accidentally ingested in some tea he drank. An unlikely story, but hey a court in Switzerland said he’s eligible to play so on we go! Guerrero is the key to any success they have along with the funly named Jefferson Farfan. They haven’t been to the World Cup in 36 years so I’m sure they will play with a passion in every game. I just don’t think they are better than Denmark and have them in third in the group.

Paul-Pogba-pokemon-hairstyle

Players to watch

  1. Christian Eriksen
  2. Kylian Mbappe
  3. Jefferson Farfan
  4. Aaron Mooy
  5. Paul Pogba’s Hair

Group C

  1. France
  2. Denmark
  3. Peru
  4. Australia