Two of the bookies’ favourites to win this year’s World Cup in Russia are five-time winners Brazil and reigning champions Germany
The 2010 winners Spain are also in contention and Didier Deschamps’ France side will be optimistic of winning their first World Cup in ten years.
The only side representing the home nations this year is England, after their unbeaten qualifying campaign. Following their impressive run during the 2016 European Championship, many hoped Wales would continue their form and qualify for Russia: however they missed out on qualification to Serbia.
Gareth Southgate’s men will be hoping to end 52 years of hurt, having failed to win the World Cup since 1966. However, many critics claim this current England side is a far cry from the ‘Golden Generation’ that failed to deliver during the 2000’s.
Despite this, some are optimistic after the Three Lions qualified with such ease and played well in their warm-up friendlies against top national sides and, with two-time Premier League Golden Boot winner Harry Kane and other in-form players on their side, they have an outside chance.
The World Cup sees the world’s best players on our screens, and Premier league fans can expect to see some familiar faces including Liverpool sensation Mo Salah representing Egypt, as well as a host of Belgian internationals.
There are dozens of players to look out for. There is some controversy and fears however, especially for travelling England fans. Back in 2016, during the European Championships, dozens of Russian fans were arrested for violence towards England fans. Two English men suffered life-changing injuries when Russians charged towards them with weapons, and officers from England advised fans not to travel. After the conflicting political tensions between England and Russia, the English government have even threatened to “boycott” this summer’s competition.
Soon after FIFA decided to award Russia with the World Cup, the governing body saw a surge of arrests and convictions surrounding corruption – making many question FIFA’s decision to award the World Cup to Russia this year and Qatar in 2022.
The World Cup kicks-off at the Luzhniki Stadium Moscow when Russia plays Saudia Arabia on Thursday 14th June and the final will be played in the same stadium on Sunday, 15th July.
LOOK OUT FOR!
Samuel Umtiti France, Defender With a prolific attacking line-up including Antoine Griezmann, France’s biggest concern is stopping goals rather than scoring them. And Barcelona defender Umtiti has given solid performances.
Neymar Brazil, Forward The former Barcelona forward moved to PSG last summer for a massive $263m transfer fee, and many will be expecting the 26-yearold to see Brazil to victory.
Lionel Messi Argentina, Forward Arguably one of the best players to grace the pitch, the Barcelona superstar has won every trophy possible with his Spanish side but has not clinched the World Cup with Argentina. Coming off the back of another La Liga title, could this be his year?
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