2018 FIFA World Cup Preview
The 21st edition of the FIFA World Cup is on our doorstep. The most publicized sporting event in the world… Yes, yes, even before the Olympic Games, will once again bring together the countries of the planet around the same passion. THIRTY-TWO nations have qualified for this great tournament, some for the first time, others are accustomed and some that… will shine by their absence. Over the next few weeks, before the start of the “beautiful game” tourney, FanPicks will cover every nation participating in the group stage. Don’t forget to enter the World Cup contests at fanpicks.com
Poland will be in their 7th World Cup participation, and their return to the big stage since 2006. In this very open group, they have many chances to shine, especially since they can count on top scorer Robert Lewandowski. He scored a record and 16 goals in the qualifications and was voted best player in Poland for a seventh consecutive year. Qualified first of his group with 8 wins, one defeat, one draw, the Polish defense worries a little with 14 goals conceded, the highest total of all group winners. Jakub Blaszczykowski, Wojciech Szczesny, Bartosz Bereszynski and Kamil Grosicki are there to prove that Poland is more than the business of one man and that it may be the best team they have presented for generations!
They will only be at their 2nd participation in the World Cup, but Senegal had seduced at the first, going to the quarter-finals in 2002. Since then, nothing. This time, they’ve qualified not only by winning his group, but also by not losing any match, a first in 12 qualifying tournaments. Sadio Mané, a brilliant Liverpool player, will be the rock of this team. And interestingly, coach Aliou Cissé, was captain of the selection who did wonders in 2002. Another miracle this year?
Colombia achieved its best performance in the 2014 World Cup by going to the quarter-final in Brazil, beaten by the host team 2 to 1. James Rodriguez, with six goals scored, had received the Golden Boot and international fame. Argentinian coach José Perkeman had the credit for bringing Colombia to this stage. He is still there and he can count on players like David Ospina, Radamel Falcao, Juan Cuadrado and of course Rodriguez. In this open group, it has been said, Colombia has a good chance of pursuing its course.
Japan qualified for its first World Cup in 1998, they never missed an edition since. Alternating group and round phase of the 16, Japan, if we follow this logic, should go to the eighth of the final this year. But its not that simple… Coach Akira Nishino has been in office just two months before the start of the World Cup, it’s not much time set up is team to his system of play. The team will still want to forget the painful performance of 2014, two losses a draw in a group that was within the reach of the samurai’s. They can count on players like Maya Yoshida (Southampton) and Shinji Okazaki (Leicester) to work they way through group H.