Dan’s World Cup Predictions Day One
Qatar 0-0 Ecuador
Let’s be honest this game doesn’t catch the imagination like other games that kicked off the World Cup.
You don’t sense there is the home support that was the 12th man for a South Korea or Russia in previous editions?
If anything, the locals will be more interested in seeing stars of the Premiership live.
Ecuador scored more goals than they ever have before in South American qualifying but have a young squad. The pressure of taking the initiative might be too much.
Holland 1-0 Senegal
It’s like Senegal don’t want to admit it to themselves but Mane won’t be fit enough for the World Cup.
Don’t get me wrong, they still have very good players and can set up to be hard to beat.
Yet any team who lose a talent of Mane’s reputation so close to kick off, there will be an impact mentally.
England 1-0 Iran
So according to FIFA this is the hardest group which is more of a reflection of their rankings.
Yes, this is perhaps the best Iran team to ever go to a World Cup and they can be well organised.
Yet if the English are serious about being contenders, they should be winning this group.
This is an example where Southgate should build his 11 around the attacking talent he has.
He won’t, and instead fans will be complaining Tuesday morning about the performance
Wales 1-1 USA
The likes of Bale and Ramsey have delivered for their nation so many times it wouldn’t shock me if they did it one more time in Qatar.
It’s Wales’s golden generation, against a young team who might see this as a tournament too soon.
The Welsh have had to rearrange training due to conditions being more humid then they were told so need to start the game quickly.
USA might be fitter.
Argentina 4-0 S Arabia
Unlike previous versions of Argentina this team isn’t built entirely round Messi.
In other editions they had a poor defence or an incompetent manager, but relied on their star name to get them out of trouble.
Now there’s a balance.
Not that Messi can be protected from the scrutiny he will face every ball he kicks.
This makes it an ideal opening fixture, one where the Argentines can build up their confidence.
Mexico 1-1 Poland
If this were a summer World Cup (any other time it would have been) Poland would have their best striker in stunning form.
In the winter, they get the Barcelona version of Lewandowski and not the Bayern Munich one.
Not the greatest Mexican side to go to the World cup, an imbalance in their squad.
Because of the conditions Mexico will finish the game better and steal a point.
Denmark 1-0 Tunisia
My World Cup Dark Horses.
Strangely though will struggle in games where they are favourites as the Danes don’t have the obvious attackers in the final third to break down an organised defence.
Will have to be patient.
France 2-0 Australia
For the World Champions there seems to be something not quite right in this French camp.
This makes It an ideal first game.
While Australia will offer plenty of effort and endeavour, they don’t have the quality to cope with Mbappe, Benzema and friends.
Spain 1-0 Costa Rica
Defensively Costa Rica are better than some might think.
They are a nightmare for Spain to play against.
The Spanish will pass the ball sideways, with their opponents inviting them to break them down.
Spain don’t always have the answer, but their ethos is to be patient.
Germany 1-0 Japan
Germany are traditionally slow starters. Like Spain might have to be patient against a well organised team
Morocco 1-0 Croatia
A tight group.
A tournament one too many for Croatia.
Belgium 4-2 Canada
On the counter Canada might have some luck against an ageing defence.
‘You play, we play’ though will suit Belgium even if not all offensive talent are fit.
Brazil 2-1 Serbia
Serbia are my dark horses, but it might be worth them giving Mitrovic the rest to focus on the two more winnable games in the group.
Will give Brazil a scare.
Switzerland 1-0 Cameroon
The Swiss are well organised and hard to beat.
They prefer to be underdogs, where they can be the side hard to beat instead of expecting to be on the front foot.
A moment of quality (maybe from Xhaka) will unlock the door.
Portugal 2-2 Ghana
Funny how Ronaldo’ stance has changed to previous tournaments when he didn’t want anything to distract him from international duty.
Now he’s timed his interview with Piers Morgan less than a week before the World Cup starts.
What’s the bet he scores here.
Uruguay 1-1 Korea
The South Americans are street wise enough to grind out a win.
Without Son for their first fixture, South Korea might be lightweight.