Wednesday, June 13, 2018
Gremlin's 2018 Soccer Call...
This year I will not be making any calls. Last time, the teams seemed a bit more straight forward in terms of who was dangerous, who will play well below their means, who were the powerhouses, etc. The field this year is much more level than years past. The usual heavy weights - Germany and Brazil are here to play. France, England, Spain, and Argentina are all there too, who along with Uruguay round out the past winners. Italy did not even make the field! Those are the 'traditional' powerhouses. Of them, Brazil looks like it will struggle, Spain fired its coach a day before kick off, the German Machine's cogs are getting a little older, and Argentina's stars are even older than the cogs. France has some amazing players, but they seem to also have huge egos that might beat them before the step on the field. England looks to be in great form, however it seems this always happen right up until they blow it. Uruguay has not been dangerous since 2010.
Then there are the dangerous teams no one wants to play - Egypt (looking at you Salah), Iceland (they create goals from nothing), Belgium, Denmark, Senegal*, Poland*, Colombia*, etc. The presence of one of these teams can easily knockout one of the traditional powers, and most groups feature at least 3 legitimate contenders. * - all in the same group
So enough kicking the dirt on this. I think there are several likely outcomes:
1 - Russia makes it through the 1st round. Russia, the host, is not highly rated, but only one host ever, South Africa, did not advance beyond the opening round. I think that will trend will continue.
2 - Something stupid happens with a crowd. Soccer fans are just prone to this, and I speak from first hand experience. That being said those crowds are in Russia, so its like mixing an acid and base. My call here is that the games should look pretty good on TV.
3 - France, Germany, England, and Brazil are the favorites. I would guess one of them wins, but also likely is that a new team wins this year. I would add Poland, Colombia, and Belgium to the likely final 8 teams (pending bracket shake out).
4 - Enjoy the game. This is my favorite sporting event. The field is wide open (dammit USA), and it should be a great spectacle.
Will you watch? Is there someone you want to see win... or lose?
- going to go Long Germany on this one...