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2018 World Cup – The Last Crop, Part III

The World Cup is about to kick off and we continue to share with you our estimates about the future of the tournament.

2018 World Cup – The Last Crop, Part III

The World Cup is about to kick off and we continue to share with you our estimates about the future of the tournament. Of course, in our write-ups, we do not so much try to pick the sure winner as we collate the facts and put them down for an easy perusal.

We have so far covered some of the teams likely to win and those that stand a fair chance if they manage to quickly and aptly brush aside any challenges that may be coming their way. Now we focus on the last of our top picks for the 2018 World Cup tournament to be held in Russia.

Enter Germany, Portugal and Spain.

 

Germany

Germany is easily one of the most recognizable names in football when it comes to international competitions. The team completely destroyed Brazil in the last World Cup, quite possibly leaving it still smarting. Germany is also close to achieving Brazil’s number of titles.

As we have remarked in our previous write-up, Brazil and Germany’s lots are closely connected.

What has Germany achieved so far?

Germany has gone on an unperturbed winning streak without exhibiting the slightest remorse for winning all of its 10 World Cup qualifier games. But more remarkably still, the team has managed the far more remarkable 22-win tally, which is quite daunting to friend and foe alike.

The team seems to be in good shape. The only concern that has been mildly raised was that Manuel Neuer may not recover from his broken metatarsal in time to participate in the World Cup. However, Germany can definitely tap into a number of great starts that will allow the country to fare well in the absence of any number of its players.

According to football analyst Raphael Honigstein:

If Manuel Neuer returns by April, I think there’s enough time for him to go to the World Cup. If he plays two games and is Manuel Neuer as we know him, Joachim Low will take him. Otherwise, he’ll stay behind.

What can the team expect?

If Germany is an excellent squad, it is as much owing to its football aptitude as it is about never underestimating its opponents. Germany will play friendlies with Austria and Saudi Arabia in June.

 

Portugal

Portugal is definitely one of the leaders in the competition. The team’s been to the semi-finals just twice, but it has been faring well. The addition of Cristiano Ronaldo is definitely not something that you would like to overlook.

What has Portugal achieved so far?

The team scored a clean victory against Switzerland with 2-0 in their favour. Portugal also got the better of Saudi Arabia and USA, and Egypt. Portugal bears some similarities with Argentina in the team’s hope of having a single player carry the rest to some extent.

Cristiano Ronaldo is definitely looked up to as the key asset of Portugal. He alone managed to score 20 goals in the 16 games Portugal has placed since the Euro Championships in 2016 and the end of March 2018.

What can the team expect?

Portugal will too partake in a number of friendly games. The team will face Tunisia, Belgium, and Algeria.

 

Spain

Standing tall up against adversity, Spain is now back to compete in the 2018 World Cup. After failing to overcome the group stages in the last championship, Spain is back and prepared to take a challenge. With the current manager, Julen Lopetegui, at the helm, Spain managed a great track record of 18 consecutive wins as of the end of March and have fared well ever since.

What has Spain achieved so far?

Spain has a great pick of players to tap into. Morata has definitely been one of the team’s most successful strikers. If there is one bugbear Spain will have to address, however, it is exactly filling the position of a reliable striker.

Diego Costa is definitely a good pick for the spot, but then again he may fail to dovetail nicely with Rodrigo. Morata may indeed remain the best pick.

Meanwhile, in the past several months, the team has managed respectable wins against the likes of Costa Rica and Russia and a respectable draw with Germany, the last year’s world champion.

Analysts agree that Spain’s greatest asset remains Andres Iniesta. Aged 34, he is definitely past the ideal age, but he remains one of the best-balanced midfield players Spain can muster up in this competition. Spain also routed Italy with a 3-0 score.

Similar to Lionel Messi, Iniesta, who goes by the moniker of ‘Don Andres’ may decide to call it quits from international football.

What can the team expect?

Just like every other team involved in the 2018 World Cup, Spain will face teams in friendly matches beforehand. This time, it is Switzerland and Tunisia that go up against one of the teams in good stead to claim the world title.