World Cup 2018 Preview
With the World Cup in Russia just hours away, here at SS Healthfoods we thought that we would give you our preview of the biggest tournament on Earth. We will be giving previews, predictions and reviews throughout the tournament, and we want you to engage with us and tell us your opinion, whether you agree or just think we’re crazy – we want to know!
I’m Alex Southern and I am going to be blogging throughout the tournament. I was quite happy with the squad that Gareth Southgate announced, except for a few players. I agree with leaving Joe Hart out of the squad, even though he was the goalkeeper with the current most caps, his form for West Ham has not been up to scratch and being in and out of the team did not give him consistency he needed to make a late challenge to be the third-choice keeper which has been given to Burnley’s Nick Pope. One notable omission that I felt should have gone was Newcastle’s Jonjo Shelvey. Since the turn of the year, Jonjo’s disciplinary record has drastically improved, which was one of the reasons a lot of people did not feel like he should be on the plane. His new and improved disciplinary record and his instrumental role in Newcastle’s midfield took the magpies to 10th in the Premier League therefore making him a viable candidate to be on the plane. However, since Southgate has come out and said that England have been training to only play one way, even if Plan A is not working, makes me believe he ended up making the right choice as I do not believe that Shelvey is good enough to challenge Henderson and Dier for a starting spot in England’s midfield.
With our squad, I think we can top our group. Although Belgium have better individual players than England, I believe England look more of a team, however I think it will come down to whoever wins the game between Belgium and England – I am wary for Tunisia and Panama, because let’s face it we’re England, but on paper we should be beating them. When it comes to the knockout stage, in the round of 16 we will most likely get Colombia or Poland, depending on positions, so we should at least make the quarter finals in my opinion. Likely Brazil and Germany in the quarters and I don’t believe our defence is strong enough to cope with their attacks, however, stranger things have happened if we can beat one of them, I see no reason why we can’t bring football home!
I think there are plenty of teams to look out for this summer. With Russia being the host nation, it gives them a huge advantage wherever they play and the three host nations from three of the past four tournaments have all made it to the semi-finals (South Korea in 2002, Germany in 2006 and Brazil in 2014), giving Russia good reason for hope. Obviously, Brazil have a terrifying attack with players like: Neymar, Jesus, Coutinho, Firmino, Willan etc. all at the disposal of Tite, but Germany have a rigid defence which is hard to penetrate – giving them an edge that may not be as easy on the eye as the flair of the Brazilians.
Eventually though, I think France will take the entire tournament. The amount of talent they have in their squad from front to back with players like Griezmann, Pogba, Varane and Lloris, but their strength in depth is also the best in the tournament as well – so if any of Didier Deschamps ideal starting XI cannot play, there is another player just as capable waiting in the wings to replace him.