One could imagine Brazil and Germany rubbing their hands as the big tanks collapsed even before the FIFA World Cup kicked off. The Netherlands out, the USA out, Chile out and most sadly, Italy out. Fans across the world wept in disbelief as Gigi Buffon had tears rolling down his cheeks as the Azzurri failed to qualify for the World Cup.

Never have we witnessed such drama in the qualifying stages. With massive names missing, the top teams will surely believe that this is their easiest chance to add to the biggest accolade of them all to their trophy cabinet.

But, will that be as easy as it seems on paper?

Let’s have a look at how the FIFA World Cup is poised this year!

The Knights-

Both, the fans and the critics, are convinced that Germany and Brazil will make it to the top and will walk past every team that comes their way. Sounds outrageous? Maybe, but a fleeting look across team squads will show you why.

  • Germany

Germany is undoubtedly the most technically superior and tactically sound football team in the world right now. But the most destructive weapon in the German arsenal is the man behind the scenes, the Gaffer-Joachim Loew.

Loew, for the lack of any other word, is a genius who has successfully lumped in young talent, experienced legs and big egos under one system that is oiled to perfection.

  • Brazil

Traditional favourites, the Samba Boys, swept through the qualifying rounds as usual. The young Brazilians showed the flair reminiscent of the old days. It a superbly balanced squad with the core having exciting young legs, supported with players in their prime and a couple of experienced minds to hold them together.

Only if their defence doesn’t disappoint them, no one knows how to get the better of this team.

  • France

French national Football Team exudes talent. Have a brief look at players assigned to any position and you’ll know that it’s arguably the most exciting team, on paper. An impressive EURO 2016 and with all the confidence in the world, France ought to be a Knight!

  • Argentina

Any team with Leo Messi in it has to be a favourite. The story of Argentina since Messi started to mesmerize has been simple – impressive to start, fighting it out to the top and choking at the end. Missed opportunities have cost Argentina big time in the last 6 years.

If Argentina manages to capitalize on splendid opportunities, there are very few teams that would like to step forward to face them.

The Dark Horses-

  • Uruguay

Battlers Uruguay are tough customers and never lose a match, you have to earn your victory. Rock solid defence, warrior-like team mindset and deadly attacking prowess make them a team to constantly be cautious of.

  • Spain

Not having Spain in the favourites list might irk some fans. But with the tiki-taka being decoded (on the national level) and a dismal performance in the previous edition (added to disappointing EURO 2016 performance), the momentum is certainly not on the Spanish side. But, you never know what the Spanish are capable of considering the amount of talent they have at their disposal.  

  • England

From grandfather to son, 3 generations have tipped England as favourites and we all know what happens in the end. England cannot be favourites, maybe not even in the top 5 teams this world cup. But it would be a crime not to consider the Three Lions as dark horses.

They’ve got the youth, the skill and the support. And with top teams failing to qualify, this might be England’s chance to shine and make a major impact, not necessarily a tournament triumph.

  • Belgium

Without a second thought, this is the Golden generation of Belgium Football. Just like France, the Belgium side is loaded, in fact overflowing with talent. But they lack the experience owing to which this impressive team is a dark horse and not a Knight!

  • Portugal

Portugal surely won the EURO 2016 but a thorough look at their performance will painfully reveal the frailties of their midfield and the limitations of their attack. Here’s a team that has won a major trophy on sheer defensive grit, in a team captained by Cristiano Ronaldo!

Fernando Santos, the Head Coach, is a fox when it comes to tactics and knows how to get the best out of his team in the most challenging situations.

As it is poised, Germany and Brazil will be the front runners with the Samba Boys waiting for avenging the 7-1 defeat to the former in the previous edition. France and Argentina will eye the top spot banking on their core strengths.

Conclusion:

But the beauty of this world cup is that a lot of teams have young talents whose full potential is yet unknown. One major revelation can change the course of the world cup and shatter the picture of how it is poised!

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Akshay Kulkarni

I am a sport lover who can't imagine a life without play.

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