Quarterbacks and Crosschecks Column: It is time once again for one of the best sporting events the world has to offer, and that is the World Cup. It is strange however, to not have either the U.S or Italy in the World Cup. The U.S has been in everyone sense 1990 and Italy has not missed a World Cup since 1958. So this is a strange year, but even though old faces won’t be competing for it all, some new faces will. Egypt has only qualified three times, one of them being this year, and its their first in 28 years. Then there's Peru, who miraculously made the World Cup for the first time in 35 years and then there is Iceland, who is making their very first World Cup appearance. With that being said, this World Cup has a lot to offer, so I got you covered. Here is everything you need to know:
The Contenders: To those who follow soccer or know even anything, then you probably know the contenders. You have the defending champs in Germany, the 2010 champs in Spain, this years favorite in Brazil and maybe a surprise to newer fans, but France. Don’t forget about Argentina and Portugal, who are both solid all-round and led by two superstars in Cristiano Ronaldo and Leonel Messi. Germany looks promising to go back-to-back but Brazil and Spain aren't far behind.
The Pretenders: There are the contenders, and then the pretenders. These are usually big names that look the part, but can't act in it. Teams Like England, Switzerland, Japan, Sweden and Australia are all teams that look good but won’t really make any noise. England has the best chance out of these to succeed, but England is always a tease, and will most likely flameout.
The Dark Horses: There are quite a lot of teams that are being slept on this year. Mexico might be the biggest one. They always have loads of talent but can never quite rise to the occasion, but this year they seem to have an edge. Uruguay is another team that is being slept on, lead by stars Suarez and Cavani, they are in a favorable group and could make a run. Then there’s Belgium, who is wicked good, Hazard and De Bruyne are their best players, and they have speed and explosiveness across the board, if they can get hot, watch out.
Ronaldo vs Messi: These two are recognized as the two best in the world, and are in the conversation of the best of all-time. But as good as these two are, and boy are they all kinds of good, the thing that has always eluded them has been the coveted World Cup. A World Cup win would put one of them ahead and cement there all-time legacy. The road will be tough, and it will be hard for either one to win, and this will most likely be their last World Cup where their both in their absolute prime.
The Fan Favorites: There are always those teams that are the underdogs, that seem like they have no shot, and those are the teams people love to root for. This year you have a team like Iceland, who is making their very first World Cup appearance. They have acquired a big following after their run into the Quarterfinals at the 2016 Euro Cup. They come into the 2018 World Cup with a lot of energy and could make another improbable run. Egypt is another team, led by one of the best players in the World right now, Mo Salah, that look poised to make a run in the World Cup after a 28 year absents. They have the ability to make a run in the tournament as thye are in a favorable group, and will be fun to watch throughout.
The Winner: So with all this being said, there is just one question left to answer. Who wins? Well the popular pick is Germany, and they are also the smart pick. But I'm not taking them, or Brazil or Spain. I’m taking the guys from France. Yes I’m predicting that France will win the World Cup. They have loads of talent including Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann. They are a playmaking team who will stretch your defense thin. If they are on there A game, they can beat anyone in the world.