• The US Guide to Predicting the FIFA World Cup Group Stage

    The US Guide to Predicting the FIFA World Cup Group Stage

    We can admit we’re a little late on predicting the first game.

    To be fair, we were going to call 3-0 for Ecuador. To be even more fair, it was pretty much 3-0 Ecuador.

    The 2022 FIFA World Cup is officially upon us. I felt like a kid on Christmas this morning, even waking up early to watch the opening ceremony in Spanish because Peacock only owns the Spanish rights, and I’m not paying for any more streaming services. Note – I do not speak Spanish.

    The opening match is done and out of the way – despite some eye-brow-raising refereeing, Ecuador put host nation Qatar to bed 2-0 in a dominant performance. 

    Now, we’ll call the remaining group matches and our prediction for how the knockout stages will line up.

    Predicting the 2022 FIFA World Cup Group Stage

    Group A

    Teams: QatarEcuadorSenegalNetherlands

    Match 1: Qatar vs. Ecuador

    Prediction: 0-3, Ecuador

    Actual: 0-2, Ecuador

    Notes: Qatar looked really out of sorts in their first World Cup match. The game was physical. Ecuador looked tough, but not unbeatable. Enner Valencia got his brace (nearly got the hattie), but what looked like a knee hyper-extension will be concerning moving forward. 

    Match 2: Senegal vs. Netherlands

    Prediction: 0-2, Netherlands

    Notes: With Sadio Mané officially out, it’s hard to see Senegal being able to upset the loaded Netherlands here. 

    Match 3: Qatar vs. Senegal

    Prediction: 0-2, Senegal

    Notes: Even without the aforementioned Mané, Senegal doesn’t have too much to worry about here. 

    Match 4: Netherlands vs. Ecuador

    Prediction: 3-1, Netherlands

    Notes: Ecuador showed in their first match that their scoring abilities hinge heavily on Valencia, whose injury status is still unclear. 

    Match 5: Ecuador vs. Senegal

    Prediction: 1-2, Senegal

    Notes: This will be the battle for second in the group, one that we think Senegal has an edge in.

    Match 6: Netherlands vs. Qatar

    Prediction: 4-0, Netherlands

    Notes: Netherlands might even rest their starters against Qatar.

    Final Standings (Points): 

    1. Netherlands (9) 

    2. Senegal (6)

    3. Ecuador (3)

    4. Qatar (0)

    (1A) Netherlands and (2A) Senegal advance. 

    Group B

    Teams: EnglandIranUSAWales

    Match 1: England vs. Iran

    Prediction: 1-0, England

    Notes: England has struggled to score lately, so they’ll probably barely squeeze by Iran on a Kane penalty.

    Match 2: USA vs. Wales

    Prediction: 2-1, USA

    Notes: The USMNT has what it takes to squeeze by Wales in their opener.

    Match 3: Wales vs. Iran

    Prediction: 2-2

    Notes: Both teams can score, and both could use a little more defense. 

    Match 4: England vs. USA

    Prediction: 1-1

    Notes: The colonies will start another revolution on Black Friday in what will likely be the most-watched USMNT soccer game yet.

    Match 5: Iran vs. USA

    Prediction: 0-1, USA

    Notes: Hopefully, the USMNT has found their form by the time they face Iran. 

    Match 6: Wales vs. England

    Prediction: 1-3, England

    Notes: There’s no way Wales could actually win this… Could they?

    Final Standings (Points): 

    1. England (7) 

    2. USA (7)

    3. Wales (1)

    4. Iran (1)

    (1B) England and (2B) USA advance.

    Group C

    Teams: ArgentinaSaudi ArabiaPolandMexico

    Match 1: Argentina vs. Saudi Arabia

    Prediction: 5-0, Argentina

    Notes: Argentina should roll over Saudi Arabia pretty easily here. 

    Match 2: Mexico vs. Poland

    Prediction: 2-3, Poland

    Notes: This will probably be the most competitive match of Group C group play with Lewandowski proving too much for Mexico.  

    Match 3: Poland vs. Saudi Arabia

    Prediction: 3-0, Poland

    Notes: Saudi Arabia is unlikely to present a challenge for Poland.

    Match 4: Argentina vs. Mexico

    Prediction: 4-2, Argentina

    Notes: Mexico feels like they got something to prove against Argentina, but Messi has bigger fish to fry. 

    Match 5: Poland vs. Argentina

    Prediction: 1-3, Argentina

    Notes: Poland will be a challenge, but Argentina is simply better. 

    Match 6: Saudi Arabia vs. Mexico

    Prediction: 2-0, Mexico

    Notes: Mexico will have some poetic justice before heading home early. 

    Final Standings (Points): 

    1. Argentina (9) 

    2. Poland (6)

    3. Mexico (3)

    4. Saudi Arabia (0)

    (1C) Argentina and (2C) Poland advance.

    Group D

    Teams: FranceAustraliaTunisiaDenmark

    Match 1: Denmark vs. Tunisia

    Prediction: 2-1, Denmark

    Notes: Denmark is underrated and firing on all cylinders at the moment.

    Match 2: France vs. Australia

    Prediction: 4-0, France

    Notes: France got bad news last week in losing Nkuku and Benzema to injuries – it’s a good thing they still have Mbappe and Dembele, plus like 14 other stars. 

    Match 3: Tunisia vs. Australia

    Prediction: 3-1, Tunisia

    Notes: Tunisia has some real firepower, enough to outplay the Thunder from Down Under.

    Match 4: France vs. Denmark

    Prediction: 3-2, France

    Notes: True – Denmark has beaten France twice this year. Can they do it again? We think not. 

    Match 5: Australia vs. Denmark

    Prediction: 0-3, Denmark

    Notes: Despite having one of the best nicknames in the tournament (Socceroos), Australia cannot compete with Denmark. 

    Match 6: Tunisia vs. France

    Prediction: 1-3, France

    Notes: Tunisia can score, but so can France – unfortunately for Tunisia, France is better at it. 

    Final Standings (Points): 

    1. France (9) 

    2. Denmark (6)

    3. Tunisia (3)

    4. Australia (0)

    (1D) France and (2D) Denmark advance.

    Group E

    Teams: SpainCosta RicaJapanGermany

    Match 1: Germany vs. Japan

    Prediction: 2-1, Germany

    Notes: Japan is good, but Germany is probably better.

    Match 2: Spain vs. Costa Rica

    Prediction: 3-0, Spain

    Notes: Spain’s mix of youth and experience will prove deadly to Group E opponents.

    Match 3: Japan vs. Costa Rica

    Prediction: 3-2, Japan

    Notes: Japan should be able to squeeze by Costa Rica here.

    Match 4: Spain vs. Germany

    Prediction: 1-2, Germany

    Notes: This one could go either way, but it’s hard to bet against ze Germans. 

    Match 5: Japan vs. Spain

    Prediction: 1-2, Spain

    Notes: Japan is highly-competitive and could survive most groups… too bad they’re in a group with Spain and Germany. 

    Match 6: Costa Rica vs. Germany

    Prediction: 0-4, Germany

    Notes: Germany’s heavily Bundesliga-influenced style of Blitzkrieg ball will prove too much for CR. 

    Final Standings (Points): 

    1. Germany (9) 

    2. Spain (6)

    3. Japan (3)

    4. Costa Rica (0)

    (1E) Germany and (2E) Spain advance.

    Group F

    Teams: CroatiaMoroccoBelgiumCanada

    Match 1: Morocco vs. Croatia

    Prediction: 1-1

    Notes: Morocco and Croatia match up pretty well, like most of the teams in this group.

    Match 2: Belgium vs. Canada

    Prediction: 3-1, Belgium

    Notes: Canada is improving, but Belgium is too much. 

    Match 3: Belgium vs. Morocco

    Prediction: 2-2

    Notes: Morocco just might have the firepower to steal a point off the Belgians. 

    Match 4: Croatia vs. Canada

    Prediction: 2-1, Croatia

    Notes: We could easily see Canada turning this into a tie or win on the backs of Alfonso Davies and Jonathon David. 

    Match 5: Croatia vs. Belgium

    Prediction: 2-2

    Notes: Group F is really hard to call.

    Match 6: Canada vs. Morocco

    Prediction: 2-2

    Notes: Again – could see this one going either way. 

    Final Standings (Points): 

    1. Belgium (5) 

    2. Croatia (5)

    3. Morocco (3)

    4. Canada (1)

    (1F) Belgium and (2F) Croatia advance.

    Group G

    Teams: CameroonSerbiaSwitzerlandBrazil

    Match 1: Switzerland vs. Cameroon

    Prediction: 3-2, Switzerland

    Notes: We think the Swiss have the edge in what’s sure to be a banger.

    Match 2: Brazil vs. Serbia

    Prediction: 3-1, Brazil

    Notes: Brazil has what it takes to side-step an opening match upset against the talented Serbians. 

    Match 3: Cameroon vs. Serbia

    Prediction: 2-1, Cameroon

    Notes: Cameroon’s attack will stun the Serbians, possibly at the last minute.

    Match 4: Brazil vs. Switzerland

    Prediction: 2-0, Brazil

    Notes: Brazil’s attack is just too much for any team not named Argentina this year.  

    Match 5: Serbia vs. Switzerland

    Prediction: 1-1

    Notes: Serbia will save a point against Switzerland thanks to their high-flying attack.

    Match 6: Cameroon vs. Brazil

    Prediction: 1-2, Brazil

    Notes: Cameroon will play them close, but Brazil’s stars simply shine too bright to be ignored. 

    Final Standings (Points): 

    1. Brazil (9) 

    2. Switzerland (4)

    3. Cameroon (3)

    4. Serbia (1)

    (1G) Brazil and (2G) Switzerland advance.

    Group H

    Teams: PortugalGhanaUruguaySouth Korea

    Match 1: Uruguay vs. South Korea

    Prediction: 3-2, Uruguay

    Notes: The Underrated Uruguayans have an edge named Darwin Nunez in this battle of the top two teams in the group… But watch out for South Korea’s Son. 

    Match 2: Portugal vs. Ghana

    Prediction: 2-2

    Notes: This will likely be the first upset of three for Portuguese fans.

    Match 3: South Korea vs. Ghana

    Prediction: 2-1, South Korea

    Notes: Ghana can keep up with anybody, but nobody has an answer for Son in the zone. 

    Match 4: Portugal vs. Uruguay

    Prediction: 2-4, Uruguay

    Notes: In a game that’s sure to have at least two penalties, the Uruguayans will put Ronaldo’s dreams of a World Cup to sleep. 

    Match 5: Ghana vs. Uruguay

    Prediction: 1-1

    Notes: Ghana will catch Uruguay by surprise.

    Match 6: South Korea vs. Portugal

    Prediction: 1-1

    Notes: We think Portugal’s World Cup will be all about the team problems caused by Ronaldo in his Man U exit interview. 

    Final Standings (Points): 

    1. Uruguay (7) 

    2. South Korea (4)

    3. Ghana (2)

    4. Portugal (2)

    (1H) Uruguay and (2H) South Korea advance.

    Here’s the knockout stages picture these predictions leave us with:

    As you can see from above, we expect Argentina, Brazil, France, and Uruguay to advance to the semifinals. Argentina will have to beat the best to become the best – but this year, no one is stopping Messi from reaching the top of the mountain like a true GOAT.

    What do you think of our predictions? Sound off below!

    Featured Image: Generated Image: DALL-E 2/FIFAWorldCup/DM

  • The US Guide to the 2022 FIFA World Cup – South Korea

    The US Guide to the 2022 FIFA World Cup – South Korea

    With the 2022 FIFA World Cup kick-off behind us, it’s time to explore the last team in Group H – South Korea. 

    Every day until November 20th, we’ll explore a different team represented in this year’s tournament, from Group A to Group H, including predictions about where they’ll end up.

    We’ve looked at all the other 31 teams participating over the last 32 days, from Qatar to Uruguay. Now we’ll explore a team we expect to shock Portugal – Son Heung-min’s South Korean Warriors. 

    South Korea

    Group H

    Nickname: Warriors, Tigers of Asia

    Colors: Red, white, blue

    Location: 

    Coach: Paulo Bento (Portugal)

    Top Players: 

    South Korea’s biggest star is Son Heung-min, the team captain and a Hotspur legend. Sonaldo is undoubtedly Korea’s strongest player, but he will have some big-league help from Napoli’s Kim Min-jae, Mallorca’s Lee Kang-in, and SC Freiburg’s Jeong Woo-yeong

    Team History:

    Qatar will be the 10th World Cup appearance for South Korea, who finished in fourth place in 2002 after upsetting Spain in the quarters and getting knocked out by Germany in the semis. In 2018, Korea bowed out in the group stages with losses to Mexico and Sweden but a win over Germany.

    South Korea is 11-2-3 in 2022, with wins over WC-qualifying squads Iran and Cameroon. South Korea also lost to Japan and Brazil by a combined score of 8-1, and you can probably guess where most of those points came from. 

    Tournament Prediction: Round of 16 loss to Brazil.

    South Korea opens against Uruguay on November 24, a match Uruguay is likely to win. So long as Son stays healthy, South Korea should squeak out a win over Ghana next. We think South Korea’s team dynamics will fuel an upset over Ronaldo’s divided Portugal in their final group match, which should send The Tigers of Asia to the knock-out stages.

    Unfortunately for Korea, they’ll face the winner of Group G in the round of 16, who is more than likely going to be Brazil. Brazil will take this one 3-1. 

    Featured Image: Generated Image: DALL-E 2/DM

  • The US Guide to the 2022 FIFA World Cup – Uruguay

    The US Guide to the 2022 FIFA World Cup – Uruguay

    With the 2022 FIFA World Cup kicking off on Sunday, it’s time to explore our dark horse Cinderella pick for the tournament – underrated Uruguay. 

    Every day until November 20th, we’ll explore a different team represented in this year’s tournament, from Group A to Group H, including predictions about where they’ll end up.

    Yesterday, we looked at one of Group H’s biggest underdogs – Ghana. Now we’ll explore a team we expect to go deep – Luis Suárez’s Uruguay. 

    Uruguay

    Group H

    Nickname: La Celeste, The Sky Blue

    Colors: Sky blue, white, gold

    Location: 

    Coach: Diego Alonso (Uruguay)

    Top Players: 

    Uruguay is top-heavy with talent. In the back, they have Atletico Madrid’s José Giménez and Ronald Araújo of Barca, though it’s unclear whether Araújo will fully recover from a recent surgery in time or not. Tottenham’s Bencantur leads the midfield alongside Federico Valverde, who has been having a hell of a season with Real Madrid. 

    Uruguay’s real depth is in attackers – veteran Luis Suárez returns to the national team a hero after helping his hometown club win the domestic league. He and fellow veteran Edinson Cavani will help facilitate a possible Golden Boot candidate – the young, dynamic, and in-form Darwin Núñez

    Team History:

    Qatar will be the 14th World Cup appearance for Uruguay, who won the tournament twice in 1930 and 1950. In 2018, Uruguay reached the quarterfinals, only to be knocked out by eventual champion, France

    Uruguay is 7-1-1 in 2022, with wins over Mexico and Canada. Uruguay’s CONCACAF conquering tour came to an end with the USMNT, though, who they tied 0-0. In what seems like a fluke, La Celeste lost to Iran in September, 1-0. 

    Tournament Prediction: Semifinals loss to France.

    Uruguay is poised to go deep on the backs of Valverde, Bencantur, Suarez, Cavani, and Nunez. 

    The Sky Blue open against South Korea, who we pick as the Group H runner-up, on November 24. Uruguay will either win or tie this one before upsetting Portugal in their second match-up. Uruguay should squeeze past Ghana as well, leaving the group stage with between 7-9 points.

    Uruguay will meet and defeat Switzerland in the round of 16, followed by an upset win over Belgium in the quarterfinals. They will run into their old nemesis France in the semifinals, and, unfortunately for Uruguayans everywhere, they will likely lose again, just like in 2018. 

    Featured Image: Generated Image: DALL-E 2/UruguayNationalFootballTeam/DM

  • The US Guide to the 2022 FIFA World Cup – Ghana

    The US Guide to the 2022 FIFA World Cup – Ghana

    With the 2022 FIFA World Cup kicking off in four days, it’s time to explore one of Group H’s biggest underdogs – Ghana. 

    Every day until November 20th, we’ll explore a different team represented in this year’s tournament, from Group A to Group H, including predictions about where they’ll end up.

    Yesterday, we looked at who many have as a Group H favorite – CR7’s Portugal. Now we’ll explore a team we expect to finish at the bottom of the group below Portugal – the Black Stars of Ghana.

    Ghana

    Group H

    Nickname: Black Stars

    Colors: Red, yellow, green

    Location: 

    Coach: Otto Addo (Ghana)

    Top Players: 

    Ghana is a team with a lot of chemistry but without a lot of name recognition.

    Celta Vigo’s Joseph Aidoo and Leicester City’s Daniel Amartey hold down the defense, backing up midfielders Thomas Partey of Arsenal and Mohammed Kudus of Ajax. 

    Up top, they’ve got Jordan Ayew of Crystal Palace, and Iñaki Williams of Athletic Bilbao. Williams’ younger brother, Nico, will be one of the rising stars for Spain this year.

    Team History:

    Qatar will be the fourth World Cup appearance for Ghana, whose best result came in 2010 when they reached the quarterfinals after upsetting the USMNT on a last-ditch goal in the 93rd minute. Bad memories.

    Portugal is 3-5-6 in 2022, with losses to WC-qualifying teams MoroccoJapan, Qatar, and Brazil. Ghana did just win a friendly over Switzerland earlier today, though.

    Tournament Prediction: Group stage exit.

    Ghana is good enough to upset Portugal in their first match, especially if the Portuguese underperform like we expect them to. However, we have a hard time seeing Ghana snag wins over both South Korea and Uruguay in their final two matches. We think Ghana loses both of those games, possibly tying one.

    With that, Ghana should exit at the group stage alongside Portugal with between 3-4 points. 

    Featured Image: Generated Image: DALL-E 2/GhanaFootballAssociation/DM

  • The US Guide to the 2022 FIFA World Cup – Portugal

    The US Guide to the 2022 FIFA World Cup – Portugal

    With the 2022 FIFA World Cup kicking off in four days, it’s time to start navigating Group H, beginning with Ronaldo’s Portugal. 

    Every day until November 20th, we’ll explore a different team represented in this year’s tournament, from Group A to Group H, including predictions about where they’ll end up.

    Yesterday, we looked at Group G’s biggest underdog – the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon. Now we’ll explore a team we expect to underperform in 2022 – Portugal. 

    Portugal

    Group H

    Nickname: The Selection, The Navigators

    Colors: Red, green

    Location: 

    Coach: Fernando Santos (Portugal)

    Top Players: 

    Portugal has some of the biggest names in the game, starting with CR7 himself, striker Cristiano Ronaldo. Portugal’s defense is stacked with Ronaldo’s Man U teammate Diogo Dalot, Portuguese legend Pepe, PSG’s Danilo Pereira, and Man City’s João Cancelo.

    Man City’s Bernardo Silva and Man U’s Bruno Fernandes hold down the midfield, backing up Ronaldo, Atletico Madrid’s João Félix, and AC Milan’s Rafael Leão up top. 

    Team History:

    Qatar will be the eighth World Cup appearance for Portugal, whose best result came in 1966 when they finished third. Portugal was upset by Uruguay in the round of 16 in 2018.

    Portugal is 5-1-2 in 2022, with losses to WC-qualifying teams Spain and Switzerland

    The Navigators are currently in an odd place. Ronaldo, club teammate of international teammates Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Dalot, has pissed off many of his cohorts by publicly trashing Old Trafford in a Piers Morgan interview. Videos like the clip above could be interpreted to illustrate a possible rift or lack of team chemistry in Portugal, seemingly due to CR7’s antics.

    Tournament Prediction: Group stage exit.

    Though many will pick Portugal to win Group H, we think most of their players are over the hill at the international level, especially Ronaldo. (Have you seen him lately? He looks like a shell of a shadow of a ghost of his former self.)

    Portugal will either beat or tie Ghana in their first game, but we think they lose to Uruguay and either lose to or tie South Korea in their last two matches, bowing out of the Cup early with between 1-3 points, effectively ending Ronaldo’s career. 

    Featured Image: Generated Image: DALL-E 2/DM

  • The US Guide to the 2022 FIFA World Cup – Cameroon

    The US Guide to the 2022 FIFA World Cup – Cameroon

    With the 2022 FIFA World Cup kicking off in five days, it’s time to explore one of Group G’s biggest underdogs – The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon.

    Every day until November 20th, we’ll explore a different team represented in this year’s tournament, from Group A to Group H, including predictions about where they’ll end up.

    Yesterday, we looked at two Group G competitors – Serbia and Switzerland. Now we’ll explore the lowest-ranked FIFA team in Group G – Cameroon.

    Cameroon

    Group G

    Nickname: The Indomitable Lions

    Colors: Green, red, yellow

    Location: 

    Coach: Rigobert Song (Cameroon)

    Top Players: 

    Bayern Munich star striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting is by the far biggest name on Cameroon’s roster. The Lions also have André Onana in goal from Inter Milan, Napoli’s André-Frank Zambo Anguissa in midfield, and Lyon’s Karl Toko Ekambi up top.

    Team History:

    Qatar will be the eighth World Cup appearance for Cameroon, who reached the quarterfinals once in 1990. Cameroon, much like the USMNT, did not qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

    Cameroon is 6-4-3 in 2022, without any wins over World Cup qualifying teams. Their only match against a WC-quality opponent resulted in a 1-0 loss to South Korea in September.

    Tournament Prediction: Group stage exit.

    Group G will make it difficult for Cameroon to pick up any wins. Cameroon has the quality to tie (or maybe even pull an upset victory) over Switzerland in their first game, but we think they’ll lose the next two against Serbia and certainly against Brazil. We predict Cameroon will make a group stage exit with between 1-2 points. 

    Featured Image: Generated Image: DALL-E 2/CameroonianFootballFederation/DM

  • The US Guide to the 2022 FIFA World Cup – Switzerland

    The US Guide to the 2022 FIFA World Cup – Switzerland

    With the 2022 FIFA World Cup kicking off in six days, it’s time to explore one of Group G’s peak challengers – Switzerland’s A-Team.

    Every day until November 20th, we’ll explore a different team represented in this year’s tournament, from Group A to Group H, including predictions about where they’ll end up.

    Earlier today, we looked at our pick for Group G runner-up, Serbia. Now we’ll explore one of the group’s other challengers for second place – Granit Xhaka’s Switzerland. 

    Switzerland

    Group G

    Nickname: A-Team, National Team, The Red Crosses

    Colors: Red, white

    Location: 

    Coach: Murat Yakin (Switzerland)

    Top Players: 

    Yann Sommer of Gladbach is a Swiss legend in goal, more ferocious than an alpine yeti. Torino’s Ricardo Rodriguez and Newcastle’s Fabian Schär help on defense, backing up a stout midfield starring Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka, the former formerly of Liverpool and the latter of Arsenal. Up top, they’ve got Breel Embolo from Monaco and youngster Noah Okafor from RB Salzburg. 

    Team History:

    Qatar will be the 12th World Cup appearance for Switzerland, whose best results were the quarterfinals in 1934, 1938, and 1954. The A-Team reached the round of 16 in 2018, only to be knocked out by Sweden, a country many Americans regularly confuse with Switzerland.

    Switzerland is 3-1-4 in 2022, with tough losses and wins against quality opponents like Portugal and Spain. The Red Cross also lost a friendly to England in March. 

    Tournament Prediction: Group stage exit.

    Switzerland opens up against Cameroon on November 24th, a game the A-Team should win or tie. Brazil will almost certainly be a loss, and we think Group G rival Serbia has the edge on Switzerland in their final group stage game. The Swiss will likely exit the group stages with 3-4 points, too few to advance to the knockout rounds. 

    Featured Image: Generated Image: DALL-E 2/DM

  • The US Guide to the 2022 FIFA World Cup – Serbia

    The US Guide to the 2022 FIFA World Cup – Serbia

    With the 2022 FIFA World Cup kicking off in six days, it’s time to explore one of Group G’s top challengers – the Eagles of Serbia.

    Every day until November 20th, we’ll explore a different team represented in this year’s tournament, from Group A to Group H, including predictions about where they’ll end up.

    Yesterday, we looked at Group G’s projected winner, Neymar’s nearly-unstoppable Brazil. Now let’s look at one of the teams battling for second place: Aleksandar Mitrović’s Serbia.

    Serbia

    Group G

    Nickname: The Eagles

    Colors: Red, white, gold

    Location: 

    Coach: Dragan Stojković (Serbia)

    Top Players: 

    Defender Nikola Milenković and forward Luka Jović both hail from Fiorentina, the former club of Serbian teammate Dušan Vlahović, who now scores for Juventus. Many of the attacking players come from Lazio, Verona, Sampdoria, and Torino while all-time Serbian leading scorer Aleksandar Mitrović is having a hell of a season in the Premier League with Fulham. Also, keep an eye out for captain Dušan Tadić of Ajax.

    Team History:

    Qatar will be the 12th World Cup appearance for the Serbians, whose best results came in 1930 and 1962 when they finished in fourth. The Eagles bowed out of the 2018 group stages with two losses, including a 2-0 defeat to Brazil. 

    Serbia is 5-1-2 in 2022, but none of the wins are against World Cup qualifying teams. Their only match against a WC squad resulted in a 3-0 loss to Denmark in March.

    Tournament Prediction: Round of 16 loss to Uruguay.

    Serbia has the unfortunate task of playing Brazil first, which will surely result in a loss for the Eagles. However, Serbia is more than capable of bouncing back against Cameroon, leading up to a final showdown with Switzerland to determine who follows Brazil to the group stages. We think Serbia has the edge and will face the Group H winner, Uruguay. There, Serbia’s run will end, probably in a 1-0 defeat. 

    Featured Image: Generated Image: DALL-E 2/FootballAssociationofSerbia/DM

  • The US Guide to the 2022 FIFA World Cup – Brazil

    The US Guide to the 2022 FIFA World Cup – Brazil

    With the 2022 FIFA World Cup kicking off in one week (!!!), it’s time to explore the FIFA #1 ranked men’s team – Neymar’s talented Brazil.

    Every day until November 20th, we’ll explore a different team represented in this year’s tournament, from Group A to Group H, including predictions about where they’ll end up.

    Earlier today, we looked at Group F’s CanadaMorocco, and Croatia. Now let’s look at Group G, starting with one of the favorite squads to win it all – Brazil.

    Brazil

    Group G

    Nickname: The National Team, Little Canary

    Colors: Yellow, green, blue

    Location: 

    Coach: Tite (Brazil)

    Top Players: 

    Where to even start… Brazil is so stacked that people are going to stop saying stacked and just start saying Brazilian instead. 

    You’ve got Alisson and Ederson of Liverpool and Man City battling it out for top GK position, two of the best in the world. They are defended by all-stars including Thiago Silva of Chelsea, Dani Alves formerly of Barcelona, Éder Militão of Real Madrid, and Marquinhos of PSG, plus three defenders from Juventus. 

    The midfield is just as deep with Man U’s Casemiro, Liverpool’s Fabinho, Newcastle’s Bruno Guimarães, and West Ham’s Lucas Paquetá. But Brazil’s scariest asset is their fully-loaded attack. 

    First, you have Real Madrid’s Rodrygo and Vinícius Júnior, which would be more than enough for most teams. Then you add on Arsenal’s two GabrielsJesus and Martinelli, and you think – this offense couldn’t be any more explosive. And that’s before we’ve even gotten to Man U’s Antony, Tottenham’s Richarlison, and freaking Barcelona’s Raphinha. Holy cow, Batman. And then, of course, who can forget the Batman/Joker himself, one of the most controversial and talented footballers ever, Neymar Jr. of PSG. Something to watch – Neymar is two goals away from tying Pele for Brazil’s top goalscorer of all time. 

    On paper, Brazil is unbeatable. But the FIFA ranked #1 team heading into the World Cup has never hoisted the trophy. 

    Team History:

    Qatar will be the 22nd World Cup appearance for Brazil, who have won the tournament five times, most recently in 2002 over Germany on a Ronaldo (the other one) brace. Brazil may have been knocked out by Belgium in the 2018 quarterfinals, but the Little Canary hasn’t lost a game since July 2021 when they lost the Copa America final to Messi’s Argentina

    Tournament Prediction: Semifinals loss to Argentina.

    Brazil may be unbeatable on paper, but on the field, Argentina’s drive to win Messi a World Cup will prove too much for the over-talented Brazilians. 

    Brazil will likely win every game in Group G play, with Switzerland and Cameroon being their most competitive opposition. 

    We think Brazil meets and beats South Korea in the round of 16, followed by a thumping of Germany in the quarterfinals. They’ll meet Argentina, the only team to beat them (twice) in the last three years, in the semis. There they’ll finally lose, probably on penalty kicks.  

    The match will be absolutely blockbuster. Brazilian fans can sleep a little better knowing they lost to the best, quite possibly the greatest of all time. 

    Featured Image: Generated Image: DALL-E 2/BrazilianFootballConfederation/DM

  • The US Guide to the 2022 FIFA World Cup – Croatia

    The US Guide to the 2022 FIFA World Cup – Croatia

    With the 2022 FIFA World Cup kicking off in one week (!!!), it’s time to explore the 2018 World Cup runners-up – Luka Modrić’s Croatia.

    Every day until November 20th, we’ll explore a different team represented in this year’s tournament, from Group A to Group H, including predictions about where they’ll end up.

    Earlier today, we looked at Canada and Morocco, the two teams we expect to finish at the bottom of Group F. Now let’s look at our bet for Group F runner-up: Croatia.

    Croatia

    Group F

    Nickname: The Blazers, The Checkered Ones

    Colors: White, red, blue

    Location: 

    Coach: Zlatko Dalić (Croatia)

    Top Players: 

    Real Madrid superstar midfielder Luka Modrić is a living Croatian legend, leading The Blazers in what will probably be his final World Cup. He’ll be assisted by Chelsea’s Mateo Kovačić, Inter Milan’s Marcelo Brozović, and Tottenham’s Ivan Perišić, among others, as The Checkered Ones try and make another memorable run.  

    Team History:

    Qatar will be the sixth World Cup appearance for Croatia, whose best result came in 2018 when they Cinderella’d themselves all the way to a 4-2 finals loss to France, beating England in the semis. The Blazers are burning through opponents in 2022 with wins over France, Denmark, and Austria for a 5-2-1 record. 

    Tournament Prediction: Round of 16 loss to Germany.

    Croatia opens against Morocco on November 23 and anything less than a win for Croatia would be considered an upset. The Blazer’s next two matches against Canada and Belgium should be more challenging, but the Croatians have the talent and experience to pick up points from both matches. We think Croatia beats Morocco and Canada while tying Belgium, which should be good enough for five points and second place in Group F. They’ll face off with Group E winner Germany in the round of 16, where we think their Cinderella Story will end in a 3-1 loss. 

    Featured Image: CroatianFootballFederation/DM

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