One of the more exciting groups of the 2018 World Cup, the drama and intensity of the group was seen all the way to the group finale.
Though the final standings of Group B were no surprise, achieving the group positions were much more dramatic than anticipated. Thus the saying, “Anything can happen at the World Cup,” lives within Group B.
Group A closed off without any shocking surprises.
With news breaking that 2018 World Cup TV rankings in the United States have dropped as much as 44 percent since the 2014 World Cup, it would be reasonable to conclude that soccer may not be on the rise as was once believed. What this number doesn’t take into account is the fact that Brazil, the host country of 2014, is in a much more similar time zone to the United States than Russia, this year's host. More obviously, in 2014 the USMNT not only was in the tournament but was highly competitive, making it out of the group stage. Ultimately, the TV ratings shouldn’t be considered a major factor towards soccer’s growth in the US. Instead, what should be considered are these four signs that point toward substantial growth for soccer moving forward.
Every four years, the FIFA World Cup rolls into town with players looking to lead their country to international glory. Some of these players are international superstars, some are lesser-known players who will probably play rotation with their national teams, and others are "diamonds in the rough." These "diamonds in the rough" are young players looking to showcase their abilities on the world's biggest stage. In 2014, it was James Rodriguez, who won the world cup golden boot and earned himself a transfer from AS Monaco to Real Madrid. In 2010 it was Mesut Ozil and Angel Di Maria, both transferring to Real Madrid. The point is that young talents always emerge and are snapped up by some of Europe's biggest clubs. Here are some of the potential big shots this summer:
The World Cup is a time where star players get to truly shine in front of the whole world and represent their country by winning one of the most prestigious awards in sports. Sadly not all star players get to shine, and here are some of those players that were left out of their teams that should have been in Russia 2018.
France are first up in group C. The hosts and losing finalists of Euro 2016 will be up for righting those wrongs in Russia. Two years ago, they fell at the final hurdle to a determined and well-drilled Portuguese side. Despite the defeat, they showed that their exciting and young squad is good enough to battle with the best in Europe. This summer, they’ll show that they can take on the world. A glance at this squad will tell you that they are a side lined with talent. Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, and Blaise Matuidi will undoubtedly create endless chances whilst simultaneously running the midfield and showing they are capable of scoring one or two themselves. There was a scare just days before the tournament began when Kylian Mbappe picked up an injury in training. It would be a blow for him to miss the tournament; however, it can be argued that they’ll probably have enough depth. Possible candidates to replace the PSG forward include Antoine Griezmann, Olivier Giroud and Nabil Fekir, so scoring goals won’t be an issue.
Russia obviously qualified for World Cup 2018 via way of hosting the tournament, but what is their pedigree? Well, it's slightly complicated due to the fact that Russia was known as the Soviet Union for seven of the eleven championships entered, managing to finish in fourth place during the 1966 World Cup in England, having lost to Portugal in the third-place playoff. As Russia, they have not progressed beyond the group stage three times and failing to qualify twice.
Let's be honest: we all kind of want to see Argentina win the World Cup. It's been 32 years since that night at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico where Diego Maradona and Argentina lifted their last World Cup. That was before Lionel Messi was even born. Their struggles in CONMEBOL qualifying might have lowered their chances, but here are ten reasons why you shouldn't write them off just yet:
I recently read a post on who'll win the World Cup in Russia once it begins in the coming weeks. Long story short, the writer had Wales down as the 6th favourites and Poland as the 10th. Despite an unlikely semi final showing at the last Euros in 2016, Wales DID NOT qualify (sorry Wales). Poland on the other hand haven't made it out of the group stage since 1982 and haven't competed at a World Cup tournament since 2006. But hey!! They both might win it this time!! Read on for a complete guide on who'll be taking glory in Moscow come July 15th.
Group B will arguably provide one of the most highly anticipated matches of the first stage of this summer’s World Cup. Spain and Portugal will go head to head on 15th June in a match where the winners will surely top the group.