World Cup Group C by Dan Smith
Outside the country of your birth, most neutrals will want Argentina to lift the World Cup purely based on Lionel Messi finally winning the holy grail.
In their 35-match unbeaten run Lionel Scaloni has done his best to not have his tactics over reliant on the 35-year-old, meaning unlike previous tournaments this isn’t an Argentine team poor defensively but relying on a moment of magic from their number 10.
Yet Messi’s manager can only do so much to protect him from the weight of expectation.
In previous tournaments the pressure and scrutiny over every ball he kicked was too much even for one of the best players of all time to handle.
So, it’s kind of obvious that in his final World Cup that attention will be off the scale?
I think it’s asking too much for one person to handle.
Messi’s the greatest to ever live and if this were a movie, him lifting the one trophy that has alluded him would be the perfect ending.
Little bit too much of a fairy-tale though?
Predicted Finish – Final
You may recognise Herve Renard. He’s the Frenchmen who won the African Cup of Nations with Zambia and the Ivory Coast.
He’s succeeded in making Saudi Arabia more organised and tougher to score against.
Alternatively, scoring themselves is a problem, not including penalties, they scored only 9 goals in qualification.
That’s in a region not as competitive as others, so it stands to reason if they struggle for goals in the Asian section, you will find it even harder against South American and European opponents.
Apparently the third most ticket sales have come from Saudi Arabia as the sport continues to grow.
Unlikely to see progress from the group stage for the first time (the only time) since their debut at this stage in 1994.
Could get a shock result though.
Predicted Finish – Group stage
A familiar face at World Cups with the same story every four years.
The nation has become obsessed with the Mexican’s failure to take part in the 5th game, for 7 consecutive editions failing to advance to the Q-Finals.
The irony is they might now do it, with expectation not as high as previous years.
That’s due to a combination of their performances and an imbalance in their squad.
The perception of Mexico is they struggle to adapt to new conditions on their travels, so it seems their manager has selected European based players no matter their form or fitness.
Put simply not the greatest ever Mexico side to show up at the World Cup, but the group is kind enough for them to compete for 2nd place.
Predicted Finish – Group Stage
Is it too obvious to say if Lewandowski shows up, the Poles will qualify for the knockout stages for the first time since 1986?
Like a few big names, it’s being built as the strikers last World Cup and a chance to improve his nations modest record in the tournament.
This an example of a nation being unlucky the competition is in the winter.
Any other year it would have been in the summer where their best player was in the scoring form of his life.
Now it’s in the middle of a campaign where he’s yet to get going with Barcelona.
In tight games with Mexico and Saudi Arabia, Poland having a world class striker will be the difference.
Predicted Finish – Last 16