World Cup 2018 is going to be here very soon, the biggest sporting event on earth and i think its time for a quick overall view of of the teams in the competition. We will post some analysis to share with you and lets get a few of the microwave pop corn ready, clean your sofa and stock up your fridge and do the count down!!!
There is obviously a clear favourite in Group E.
Brazil are looking as strong as they have since their last World Cup win in 2002 and have redemption on their minds after the humiliation of four years ago.
They won’t have it easy however, as they are joined by Switzerland – who famously beat eventual winners Spain in 2010 – surprise quarter-finalists in 2014 Costa Rica and Serbia, who topped their qualification group leaving Wales to miss out on a place in Russia.
With a huge mix of styles and expectations, picking two from four to make the last 16 in Group E isn’t easy.
Here’s what the fans think…
Name: Andres Cardenas
Best moment during qualification: Beating Argentina will always be a Brazilian’s best moment. Always! So, the best moment of the qualifiers for me was definitely our 3-0 win over our neighbouring ‘brothers’ in Belo Horizonte. Qualifying in distant first has definitely provided us with confidence and seeing Argentina suffer until the very last match isn’t so bad either!
Proudest moment ever as a Brazil fan: There are a few, but the most memorable would have to be the 2002 World Cup final. To see Ronaldo win the World Cup after spending two years away recuperating from a career-ending injury was priceless. The entire world was convinced he wouldn’t play again and were opposed to selecting him for Brazil. There is no better story of overcoming obstacles than Ronaldo. He cried like a baby at the end of the game….and so did I.
Worst moment ever as a Brazil fan: If you’re Brazilian there is no need even to ask this question, is there?
Player to watch that other fans might not be aware of: Most players on the Brazilian national team are usually well known globally. This World Cup there is one player that won’t be known outside of Brazil: Geromel. The centre back for Gremio is probably the best defender we currently have. He is not young, he hasn’t succeeded in Europe, but he has impressed all fans and is a favourite for the World Cup.
Team other than your own to watch this summer: I would love to see Egypt go far. The Mo Salah fever is beautiful to see and I would enjoy seeing him shine on the world stage.
Realistically how far will Brazil go: I honestly think this is Brazil’s World Cup. After our worst loss in history, Brazil has undergone a lot of soul searching and was reborn stronger than ever. We have a strong manager and players that would give there lives for victory. We are playing as a team and we are determined to reconquer our place in global football. Russia is ours.
2. Costa Rica
Name: Michelle Lang
Best moment during qualification: We had a very important game at the end of 2017 against USA. We beat a strong American team 2-0 playing away from home. This game was a crucial moment during the CONCACAF qualifiers.
Proudest moment ever as a Costa Rica fan: Without doubt ending up first in the ‘Group of Death’ during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Nobody expected much from us but we ended up beating Uruguay and Italy and drawing with England.
Worst moment ever as a Costa Rica fan: During the same tournament, we lost on penalties against the Netherlands. We were so close to the semi-finals.
Player to watch that other fans might not be aware of: Rodney Wallace. Not many people know about Wallace, but he’s a left winger that plays in the MLS for New York City. He’s in the prime of his career and has a lot of attacking potential.
Team other than your own to watch this summer: I am rooting for Costa Rica and all of the latin American countries. I think Colombia is always a very exciting team to watch.
Which group game are you most nervous about: Definitely Brazil. We usually struggle to play against them and it will be very hard to face them in Russia. They are also hungrier than ever.
Realistically how far will Costa Rica go: I believe that Costa Rica will surprise everyone again. I think we will qualify again to the round of 16 where we will try to show the world what we are made of.
Name: Jerome Miller
The best moment during qualification: The first game of the ‘Road to Russia – A 2-0 win against Portugal at home, which gave us a great start to the campaign. Although we lost the final away game in Portugal and therefore had to enter a decisive playoff match against Northern Ireland, that was another highlight too. After all, that was the moment that the Swiss national team confirmed its participation at Russia 2018.
Proudest moment ever as a Switzerland fan: Probably the victory against Spain in South Africa at the World Cup 2010. The Spanish team was full of quality players and went on to win the tournament. A great experience for the whole country.
Worst moment ever as a Switzerland fan: Probably the game versus Ukraine at the World Cup in Germany in 2006. After a 0-0 draw and extra time, we didn’t manage to score even a single penalty and were eliminated from the tournament without even conceding a goal prior to the penalty shootout.
Player to watch that other fans might not be aware of: Borussia Dortmund centre back Manuel Akanji and Denis Zakaria of Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Which group game are you most nervous about: The game against Serbia is a very important game and most likely will decide, who will qualify as second in the group, after Brazil. Much like Switzerland, Serbia has a few talented young players and added a very experienced and solid defence. So it will be a real test.
Realistically how far will Switzerland go: Unfortunately, the round of last 16 is probably where we will meet Germany. Seems like that is, realistically, a dead end.
Name: Uroš Popović @slowriot23 and Kirsten Schlewitz @kdschlewitz
Proudest moment ever as a Serbia/Yugoslavia fan: After the breakup of Yugoslavia, FIFA deemed Serbia the country’s successor, so claiming their best moments is legit (kinda).
Yugoslavia had not qualified for Mexico 1986, so the team was carrying the hopes of the soon-to-be dissolved country in Italy in 1990. In the last 16, the team went into extra time against Spain. Dragan Stojković scored from a free kick to send them through. The strong performance against a strong team seemed a confirmation of what people hoped that team will turn out to be, but…
Worst moment ever as a Serbia/Yugoslavia fan: …then they faced Maradona’s Argentina in the quarters. Yugoslavia held on to a scoreless draw and took the game into penalties. Stojković stepped up for the first and missed. Maradona missed his as well, but Yugoslavia’s final two spot kicks missed, and it was Argentina that went on to face the hosts. It was the last time I (Uroš) cried because of the national team.
Player to watch that other fans might not be aware of: Mijat Gaćinović, a Bosnian Serb who represented Bosnia at the U-17 level (illustrating the continued complexities of squads from the former Yugoslavia) and who plays for Eintracht Frankfurt. The winger has been getting some attention recently, but not as much as he deserves. Gaćinović is a quick, creative player who loves to dribble and take on defenders, making him fun to watch regardless of who you support.
And I (Kirsten) would be removed as president of his fan club if I did not tell you to keep an eye on Adem Ljajić. He’s not unknown, but he’s finally matured (hopefully) and if his last couple months at Torino are any indication, he could definitely provide a spark to this side.
Which group game are you most nervous about: Costa Rica. Like Yugoslavia, Serbia often have trouble with their first match—they lost to Ghana in 2010 and Netherlands (as Serbia and Montenegro) in 2006. Considering the other two teams are Switzerland and Brazil, a defeat in the first round means Serbia will almost certainly not progress.