The World Cup is an international sports tournament where 32 countries compete against each other to determine the best national soccer team in the world. With soccer possibly being the world’s most popular sport, there is a wide diversity of talent across the countries fueling debate about who will take the title home this year. Skill, teamwork, and national pride come together to make the 2018 World Cup special. This is a quick guide on the top contenders for winning the 2018 World Cup from the most likely to the least likely.
Coached by Joachim Low, Germany is the favorite heading into the tournament. The defending World Cup champions have a young, versatile side praised for strong technical play and an unstoppable counter attack. Players to watch are Manuel Neuer (g), Jerome Boetang (d), and Toni Kroos (m). ESPN odds are 9:2.
Brazil suffered an embarrassing 1-7 loss against Germany during the last World Cup and will be looking for revenge this time. Brazil’s squad is a favored squad entering the tournament with an incredibly talented and creative lineup. Players to watch are Thiago Silva (d), Marcelo (d), Philippe Coutino (m), and Neymar de Silva (f). ESPN odds are 5:1.
France’s star-studded roster is overflowing with talent and has seemingly no weaknesses in their lineup. If France’s squad can combine and work together, there won’t be a team in the tournament that could keep up with the Les Bleus. Players to watch are Raphael Varane (d), N’Golo Kante (m), Paul Pogba (m), and Antoine Griezmann (f). ESPN odds are 11:2.
Spain dominated soccer from 2008 to 2012 with possibly the most talented midfield the world has ever seen. Spanish players from Barcelona and Real Madrid are arch rivals during the club season, but will unite on the national team. Spain’s ability to dominate the midfield and possess makes them one of the top teams to win the tournament. Players to watch are Sergio Ramos (d), Andres Iniesta (m), Isco (m), and Marco Asensio (m). ESPN odds are 7:1.
Argentina has lost in the finals of almost every international tournament they have competed in during recent years. Despite undeniable talent, the team has struggled to be consistent when it matters the most. Argentina arguably has the most talented offensive lineup in the tournament and will be a high scoring team. Players to watch are Lionel Messi (f), Paulo Dybala (f), and Sergio Aguero (f). ESPN odds are 8:1.
Belgium hasn’t always been a contender for winning the World Cup. The young squad has earned the nickname “Golden Generation” with the sudden abundance of talent. The lineup looks incredible and Belgium should have no problem contending with the best teams in the world. Players to watch are Thibaut Courtois (g), Kevin De Bruyne (m), Dries Mertens (f), and Eden Hazard (f). ESPN odds are 12:1.
England’s side is brimming with talent and potential. Southgate’s team has struggled with consistency in the past, but has shown that they aren’t a team to take lightly. England’s fast-paced tactics and unpredictable offensive play should make any team nervous. Players to watch are Delle Ali (m), Harry Kane (f), and Raheem Sterling (f). ESPN odds are 20:1.
Alex Warmus, Staff Writer
Sophomore Alex Warmus is a staff writer for the 2017-2018 Colonel. He is probably asleep right now.