The most intriguing sport in the world returns this summer after a long four years and it will feature a bunch of new countries with some first timers. Unlike other World Cup tournaments, this year’s does not really have a group of death featuring four great teams. If we look at the groups, we can easily tell who will prevail from each group and we know there will be a top team except group B. In group B, it involves one of soccer’s greatest players in Portugal’s Cristiano Ronaldo along with one of the favorites to win the World Cup in Spain.
This is the same Portugal team that won the Euro Cup tournament a couple years ago and their best player did not even finish the final game. Spain did not do so well in the Euro Cup in 2016 as they were knocked out in the round of 16 and did not even make the knockout stages in the previous World Cup. Spain is a younger, quicker, and more athletic team this go round and will look to raise the World Cup trophy for the second time in three world cups.
The ironic thing about Ronaldo playing against Spain is that majority of the players from Spain’s national team either have played with Ronaldo on Real Madrid or have played against him from Barcelona. There are going to be some familiar faces on the field when these two teams face off so let’s not be surprised if there is a lot of smack talk and the match ending in a 1-1 draw. The matches that end in a draw in the group stages are usually the most exciting because that means discipline was on the field for both teams.
The good thing about these tournaments is that the two best teams from each group get to make it into the knockout stages instead of one winner from each group. Looking at the groups, it is predictable who makes it to the round of 16, but we have seen many surprises in the past. The countries that will have control over their respective groups are the defending champs in Germany, the samba kings in Brazil, the Messi-led Argentina squad, as well as the young, savvy French team who is also a favorite to win it all after a close 1-0 loss in the quarterfinals to the defending champs of Germany. The most interesting element to see this year is that this will most likely be Ronaldo and Messi’s last World Cup run as neither of them have won the title and both are in need of that piece of the puzzle to complete their legacies.