Much like Zinedine Zidane in 2006, I have taken myself out of early retirement to blog around the FIFA 2018 World Cup (hopefully this doesn’t end the way 2006 ended for him). I have been semi-active on Twitter (you should really follow me), but to catch everyone up, in the last four years I have moved house, taken up a new job and got myself into a 4 year training program which has taken up most of my time (and life). This year this blog is 9 years old, despite the changing look, style of writing and home of this site, over the last third of my life, this blog has been one of the most constant factors. I am hoping that once I’m completed with the training program I am in (hopefully by mid-2019), I will have more time to devote to blogging. Writing is my ultimate passion, as is the game of football.
Despite all these ongoing life changes, my expectation of each and every major game or tournament usually remains unchanged and are fairly simple. So for this upcoming tournament, I have named 4 things I hope will happen. Here goes!
Stand Out Star
In the last three World Cups, we have seen great team efforts. From Spain’s finely tuned tiki-taka in 2010 to the well oiled German machine in 2014, these teams have shown us what football is meant to be like – a team effort, resulting in a team win. That’s all well and good, but I am longing for a standout star to come through, who will win the tournament for his team. Much like Pele, Maradona & Ronaldo did for their countries.
Goals! Goals! Goals!
The football Gods blessed us in 2014, 171 times the ball found the back of the net. I am hoping for a high scoring tournament. As much as 2010 was one of my favourite World Cups (it was in my home country), the 145 goals seemed rather low. I also hope for a high scoring final.
Here’s hoping there are a few shocks in store for us. There are so many fantastic players in what are considered lesser teams that could cause an “upset” or two. Egypt are one team that’s ranked low, but with the surge in Mo Salah’s performance over the last few months, there is a hope that they can make it out of Group A. Another team who may have gone under the radar is Poland, who have quietly worked their way up to 8th position in the FIFA World Rankings. They are higher ranked than Spain and England. And with a talent like Lewandowski, they could pull off a surprise. Another team with the likes of Rakitic and Modric is Croatia. But talent is one thing, whether these teams can show “Big Match Temperament” is another.
I’m hoping that Russia manage to pull off quick and painless opening and closing ceremonies. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good show, but the grand mess that was the opening ceremony of 2014 left much to be desired. And I hope there aren’t any speeches.
A Spain Win
Okay, this is a rather selfish one, but in our family sweep stake, I drew Spain. There is a cash prize up for grabs, so I’m hoping they win it (however unlikely that is)