FIFA World Cup 2018: Belgium – Preview and Line Up

Belgium arrive in Russia with their greatest group of players in the country’s history. However they still are far from being the favorites to lift the trophy, and are still not part of the 4 elite nations (Esp, Fra, Ger and Bra) who most people are predicting to win the tournament.

Nevertheless they still have an embarrassment of riches in terms of attacking talent and one of the most complete squads in the tournament. In Roberto Martinez, they have a manager who has not had much success at an elite level but is still a shrewd tactician and capable of guiding the Red Devils to glory.

Here is how I think Belgium will line up in Russia:

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FIFA World Cup 2018: England – Preview and Line Up

England failing in major tournaments is akin to the sun rising in the east and setting in the west; something we all know will happen.

Since 1996, England have failed at every major tournament they have played in and have not even reached the quarter finals of a World Cup since 2006. Their golden generation of Lampard, Gerrard and Beckham failed all those years ago, and now the hope of this great footballing nation lies with a youthful and inexperienced group of players.

However, Gareth Southgate (the new England Manager) has changed the English system and has seemed to bring a breath of fresh air and a new lease of life to these perennial under-performers. And maybe, just maybe there is a tiny flicker of light at the end of the tunnel.

Here is how I think England will line-up at Russia 2018:

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There is a great debate over who will get the Number 1 jersey for England and I have chosen Jordan Pickford over Jack Butland as he is better with his feet and realistically has the chance to be England’s keeper for the next 10 years.

They are playing in a wing back system and hence the 2 wing backs would be the boys from Tottenham; Danny Rose and Kieran Trippier.

At Right Center Back is Kyle Walker in his new adapted position, next to him is John Stones; the man who has all the talent in the world but is yet to showcase it and on the left side is the rugged and physical Harry Maguire of Leicester.

Playing CDM is Eric Dier, and beside him is the team’s wild card Ruben Loftus Cheek. Having Jordan Henderson in the midfield is more of the same and England are crying out for a fearless youngster to come out and take the game by the scruff of the neck and I believe RLC is that man.

Playing in front of them are Dele Alli and Raheem Sterling, the latter has had his best ever season, scoring 20+ goals as Manchester City went on to dominate the Premier League. Delli Alli on the other hand has a great relationship with Harry Kane which will be key to England’s success in Russia.

Up front is the English Captain, winner of 2017’s Golden Boot and arguably the best striker in the world at the moment; Harry Kane. Majority of the hope of the three lions will be based on how well he performs and how clinical he can be in the opposition penalty area.

Most Important Player: Harry Kane

Unsung Hero: Kieran Trippier

My Prediction: They will continue to disappoint and lose to a team they’re supposed to beat.

Yesterday’s Preview: Spain

Tomorrow’s Preview: Belgium

FIFA World Cup 2018: Spain – Preview and Line Up

Watching Spain play their tiki taka football is like watching poetry in motion, and is the most joyous and aesthetic style of football played by any team in the world. The silky one touch play and quick passing manoeuvres they pull off in all areas of the pitch are simply jaw dropping.

They enter this World Cup on the back of 2 indifferent major tournaments however they are one of the favorites to lift the trophy. Their manager Julen Lopetegui has not lost a single game as coach of their senior team or during his time as manager of their u-23 team.

They in my eyes, have the best back 5 of the tournament and that goes a long way in winning titles and major tournaments. And of course they have buckets of talent in attack and midfield.

Here’s how I think they should line up in Russia:

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FIFA World Cup 2018: Germany – Preview and Line Up

The reigning champions arrive in Russia as one of the clear favorites to lift the trophy. They probably have the most complete squad amongst all nations and are littered with superstars all over the pitch.

Such is the talent of their team that they did not end up picking the Premier League’s young player of the year and the newly crowned champion Leroy Sane in their 23 man squad. However that decision may have been due to the fact that he turned up with this haircut (see picture below) in the warm up games.

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In Joachim Low, they also have one of international footballs finest managers and this will be his 5th Major Tournament with the German National side. He has a great record of reaching the Semi Finals in every tournament they have participated in, is a master tactician and on top of that he provides viewers with some great entertainment on the touchline.

Here is how I think Germany should line up at the World Cup in Russia:

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In Goal is Manuel Neuer, who has been injured for the past 8 months and is making steady progress to be fit enough to start in Russia. When fully fit he is one of the best goalkeepers in the world and has revolutionized the art of keeping by becoming a sweeper keeper.

The 2 full backs are Hector on the left and one of the most improved players in the world in recent years and the heir to Phillip Lahm on the right, Joshua Kimmich.

The center back pairing will be the 2 Bayern Munich defenders Boateng and Hummels who tower over most attackers and are extremely experienced in major tournaments.

In the center of the park is Toni Kroos and Sami Khedira who are the perfect foils to each other. Sami Khedira is the hardman who will be physical and aggressive while Toni Kroos is one of the most silky passers in world football.

Playing ahead of them is Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil, who is the star man of this team. He will be the one to thread the eye of the needle and play those deft balls in behind opposition defenses to create chances for the strikers.

On the right is the 2014 World Cup’s golden boot winner, Thomas Muller; he has a phenomenal scoring record in World Cups. And on the Left wing is PSG’s Julian Draxler (Personally I would have had Leroy Sane here and I felt it was inSane to leave him out of the squad).

Starting upfront is Timo Werner who is lightning quick and has been in stellar form in the last 2 years in the Bundesliga.

Most Important Player: Mesut Ozil

Unsung Hero: Joshua Kimmich

My Prediction: Knocked out in the Semi Finals

Tomorrows Preview: Spain

FIFA World Cup 2018: Brazil – Line Up and Preview

For most Brazil fans, the scars of the 2014 semi-final loss will still be fresh in their memory as Germany went for the jugular and demolished Brazil 7-1 in front of their home fans in Rio De Janeiro. 4 years on Brazil’s sole focus for this tournament would be to banish those demons and show why they are the most successful teams in World Cup history.

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They have an extremely talented squad littered with the flair and creativity you normally associate with a Brazilian Football team and they also possess the steel and determination one needs to win those crunch moments in the finals.

Here’s how I think they should line up at the World Cup:

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In Goal is AS Roma’s shot stopper Alisson who has had a breakout year with the Roman club and has been a major part of their Champions League run to the Semi-Finals.

At Right Back is Danilo who will be deputizing for the injured Dani Alves, while the world’s best left back, Marcelo will occupy the left flank.

The Center Back pairing of Thiago Silva and Miranda brings much needed experience in a tournament of this magnitude, however their lack of pace could be exploited by opposition.

The Central Midfield Double Pivot will be occupied by Casemiro and Paulihno who are great on the ball and will provide much needed defensive cover for the other more attacking players.

Playing in front of them will be the Worlds second most expensive player Phillipe Coutinho who recently transferred to Barcelona from Liverpool. He is the creative linchpin of this team and will be responsible for starting most attacks.

On the right wing is Chelsea’s Willian who I believe is one of the most underrated players in the Premier League and starting up front is the 2017/18 Premier League winner, Gabriel Jesus.

And on the Left Wing will be Brazil’s prodigal son, who will be carrying the hopes and dreams of this football frenzied country; the worlds most expensive player, Neymar. His form and fitness will decide how well Brazil will do in Russia this summer and if he comes to the party, defenders will have nowhere to hide.

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Most Influential Player: Neymar

Unsung Hero: Casemiro

My Prediction: Knocked out in the Semi-Finals

Leave your thoughts and line ups on Brazil in the comments below!

Tomorrows Preview: Germany

FIFA World Cup 2018 Predictions:

This summer, the biggest sporting carnival in the world returns as 32 nations will fight it out in Russia for football’s biggest prize; the FIFA World Cup.

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The entire world will be watching as the likes of Ronaldo, Messi and Neymar grace the biggest stage and look to bring glory to their countries.

The World Cup has provided us with some of Footballs most iconic moments such as Maradona’s hand of God, Roger Milla’s Celebration and Zidane’s Headbutt. In 2018 the tournament will have no shortage of such action and is going to be one of the most closely competed World Cups yet.

Making predictions for such a tournament is so difficult as any team on their day can outgun their opposition, nevertheless here are my predictions on how this World Cup will go down:

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Reacting to My Premier League Predictions for 2017/18:

On the eve of the Premier League season 2017/18 I made some footballing predictions on how this year would pan out: My Premier League Predictions 2017-18

9 months later, we probably have had one of the most one sided Premier League title races ever, with Manchester City being first since the 14th of September.

Nevertheless I made some bold predictions last August, lets see how things actually panned out:

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My Football Predictions for 2018

2018 is a massive year for football, we have the carnival of the World Cup taking place in Russia in June and July, English teams are on the rise and could be in contention of winning the Champions League and it could be possible that for the first time in 10 years a player other than Ronaldo and Messi could win the Ballon D’or.

Here are my predictions on how 2018 will pan out in the world of football:

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My Premier League Team of The Season So Far

Manchester United's goalkeeper David de Gea makes a save during their English Premier League soccer match against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in London

Goal Keeper: David De Gea has been the standout keeper in the world in the last 6 months. He has saved Manchester United on numerous occasions and is one of the reasons why they are still in the top 4 and in touching distance from Chelsea.

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Right Back: Antonio Valencia was once touted as the next great number 7 for Manchester United. He never fulfilled that potential but this season he has transformed into one of the best right backs in the league scoring 2 goals and being part of one of the tightest defenses.

Man Like Marc

Left Back: For Chelsea it seems sometimes that Marcos Alonso is playing as a striker due to such a high position that he maintains on the pitch. That is one of the reasons why he has already scored 5 goals and bagged one assists the season. He has been their main source of width and is a vital cog in the Chelsea system.

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My 2017 Team of the Year

2017  was a jaw dropping year for football that saw plenty of firsts, Real Madrid became the first team to retain the champions league and club world cup in history, Harry Kane became the first player since 2009 to outscore Ronaldo and Messi in a calendar year and Manchester City became the first team to win 18 games in a row in the Premier League.

There have been some excellent performances from players throughout Europe and the rest of the world, but in my opinion these have been the standout 11 players of the calendar year.

Here is my 2017 Team of The Year:

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