2018 FIFA WORLD CUP RUSSIA 14 June – 15 July (2) THE FINAL COUNTDOWN Just a couple of months to go until the biggest football event on this planet starts again. OZB offers insights into the teams, the player to watch and the odds on who is likely to win the championship. By Marcel de Roode GROUP C FRANCE Perhaps no nation is as loaded with talent, both young and experienced, as France. Olivier Giroud, Kylian Mbappe , Antoine Griezmann, Paul Pogba represent just a fraction of the star powered Les Bleus. The only question is if Didier Deschamps is able to manage all these big stars/ego’s, so they can play as a collective unit. If yes, a sure bet for the World Cup Title. Ranking FIFA: 65 Player to watch: Kylian Mbappe Odds to win tournament: 13/2 AUSTRALIA The Socceroos finished as Asia’s best third place side after a play-off with Syria. This team is well known for their physical strength. Always fighting to the last minute. Tim Cahill (38), the “old warrior” will lead the offensive force together with some new talents like Aaron Mooy, Tom Rogic and Massimo Luongo. It makes this team a tough opponent for everyone. Ranking FIFA: 39 Player to watch: Aaron Mooy Odds to win the tournament: 750/1 PERU Peru are back at the World Cup after 36 years. Coach Ricardo Gareca brought in new, young players and returned to a playing style based on possession and short passes. This team is a mix of experienced, physical and intelligent players. Goals are expected from the talented Christian Cueva. They could be one of the surprises of the tournament. Ranking FIFA: 11 Player to watch: Jefferson Farfan Odds to win tournament: 250/1 DENMARK Danish Dynamite returns to World Cup after missing out on Brazil 2014.Star player Christian Eriksen will lead the way, and take younger players like Andreas Christensen and Kasper Dolberg by the hand. Denmark will continue with the direct style of play that coach Hareide introduced. It makes this team dangerous and unpredictable. Ranking FIFA: 12 Player to watch: Christian Eriksen Odds to win tournament: 100/1 GROUP D ARGENTINA If we think of Argentina, we think of only 1 little/big man, Lionel Messi. And this is maybe also their biggest problem. They depend totally on Messi, which makes it tricky for the opponents and their tactics sometimes quite “easy”, stop Messi and you stop Argentina. This will also be a farewell tournament for a lot of senior players like Sergio Romero, Angel Di Maria, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain.Off course it goes without saying that they will be in the tournament until the end. Ranking FIFA: 4 Player to watch: Lionel Messi Odds to win tournament: 10/1 ICELAND This team is the smallest nation ever to qualify for the World Cup.Almost 10% of the nation travelled to Euro 2016 . Can they reach the second round? This will be very difficult for a team that lost their main striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson , departure of coach Lars Lagerback and a draw that placed them with three teams who reached Euro 2016. For me this team is the big unknown. Ranking FIFA: 22 Player to watch: Gylfi Sigurdsson Odds to win tournament: 250/1 CROATIA This team exists of players of 29 years or older , it will be the last chance for them to get a result in a World Cup Tournament. The “Vatreni” will just like Argentina also depend on 1 little/big man, 32 year old Superstar Luka Modric. Due to all kind of internal and external conflicts it will be very difficult for this team to focus and get a good result. Ranking FIFA: 17 Player to watch: Luka Modric Odds to win tournament: 40/1 NIGERIA The “Super Eagles” were the first team to qualify for Russia.They only missed one tournament (Germany 2006).Counterattacking is the name of the game.This team is based on a solid defense , energetic ball-winners at midfield , and the experience of Mikel John Obi.With outstanding players like Alex Iwobi and Victor Moses they are a team to look forward to. Ranking FIFA: 50 Player to watch: Alex Iwobi Odds to win tournament: 250/1 You can read the first part here. Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.