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The Mane Land’s World Cup 2018 Predictions

TML’s contributors give their favorites and predictions for World Cup 2018 in Russia.

Peru v Scotland -International Friendly Photo by Leonardo Fernandez/Getty Images

On June 14, 2018, at 11 a.m. ET, the world will stand still — at least until after 1:30 p.m. on July 15. The World Cup, the most watched sporting event in the world, will be upon us.

The spectacle is almost here, and I for one am chomping at the bit (horse puns are fun considering I think we will see another triple crown winner this weekend). My phone battery is already mad at me with the number of apps and emails and notifications my phone is beginning to receive. Final rosters are getting published this week and a couple things that relate directly to Orlando City fans are that Yoshimar Yotún was selected by Peru as we all expected, but Amro Tarek was not named to Egypt’s roster and is heading back to Orlando.

It may be a surprise to some, as asinine as it sounds, but the United States Men’s National Team will not be competing. I know, for 89.43% of you this is extremely old, and painful news. For the rest, this will come as a complete shock as they were certainly ready to cheer on the Red, White & Blue and show Russia exactly what the USA is all about (you can’t make this stuff up, folks, I see it almost every day on social media). Many outlets are pushing for Americans to back Mexico, with some going so far as to call them “America’s other Team.”

Everyone wants to know who you are rooting for, who you think will win, where you will be watching, and many more questions all surrounding the spectacle that is about to take place across Russia. I reached out to some of my fellow writers at The Mane Land and asked them for their thoughts and predictions, and at the end, I will give you mine, in graphic detail.

Ben Miller

“I’ll be rooting for Colombia, as I was born in Bogota and then came to the U.S. I think they’ll get out of the group and win in the round of 16 before losing in the quarters. I think the Germans will win the whole thing but my second pick would be Spain, they’re pretty damn good top to bottom — really good, revamped squad. Don’t sleep on Senegal, as I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see them make the knockouts, and the same goes for Nigeria, even though they’re both in tough groups. Two very good teams.”

Ethan Smith

“I will be rooting for Belgium. They have my favorite player, Kevin De Bruyne, as well as a talented squad that can compete with top powerhouses. Belgium drew a pretty easy group with Panama, England, and Tunisia, so the Belgians should have no issue getting out of the group stage. I believe the talent they have with the likes of De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Toby Alderweireld, Dries Mertens, and Romelu Lukaku can push them over the top and to a World Cup victory in Russia.”

Marcus Mitchell

“I’ll be rooting for Iceland since I’m a sucker for a Cinderella story. The Vikings are in a tough group, but crazier things have happened. As far as predictions go, I think Germany will win it all given its track record in big tournaments. Antoine Griezmann will win the golden boot, Russia won’t survive the group stage, and Morocco will be a fan favorite given its offense and style.”

Alek Pierce

“I see France taking home the cup. They’re loaded in every single position with world-class talent, and they’ve under-performed for some time now. I think this is the summer they finally put it all together and can forget Zizou’s red card in the 2006 final. As for who I’m rooting for, that’ll be Argentina, Brazil, and Portugal. I’d like to see Neymar, Messi, or Ronaldo lift the cup, and time is running low on the latter two. Quite frankly, I just want consistent quality football.”

David Rohe

“I will be splitting my allegiances for the World Cup between Germany and Iceland. My heritage is German/Irish, hence those teams always being in the mix even though Ireland isn’t in this year, but I love the Cinderella story that is Iceland. I wouldn’t be the grumpy old man that I am if I wasn’t also rooting against Mexico and Portugal. Mexico should be obvious as I’m a member of the American Outlaws, and as for Portugal, screw Ronaldo. As for the eventual winner, I’m going to stick with the defending champs, Germany.”

Brandon Turton

“I’m rooting for Poland as its 50% of my heritage. I also am a huge fan of Robert Lewandowski and like the idea that Poland is still a bit of an underdog in the competition. As a secondary team, I’ll be rooting for England and their young players. Prediction is France beats Belgium and Germany beats Spain, ending in a French championship over Germany. I do think a Mexico win in the round of 16 over Brazil is not out of the question either and I would give them a solid chance at an upset with their attack.”

Ryley Moore

“I’ll take Poland over Belgium in the round of 16. That’s my wild card. I also have a Germany vs. France final. Die Mannschaft with the crown.”

The Bearded Guy

As for me, if you have been reading my somewhat chaotic articles for a while, you should easily know who I will be rooting for. I can sum up my entire feels about the tournament in the following images:

Group Stage Predictions
Knock Out Round Predictions

This is how I see things panning out. Two teams that give me the biggest trouble are Peru and Iceland. These are my absolute bracket busters. As much as I wanted to have an all-European final, I think that Brazil has one match that wakes them up (it would be the Mexico match in my brackets) and then a run to final for them, where they meet the juggernaut that is Germany.

That is a good chunk of the contributors’ predictions and favorites. Who are you watching and why? Who do think will get that star on their nation team kit this year? Germany certainly seems the favorite, with France, Portugal, and Brazil not far behind. Is this the year we see a true Cinderella story and watch Iceland make a deep run in the knockout stages? Will teams sleep on the African squads?

The closer it gets, the more and more I begin to question my picks, but they are published now, so I will be sticking by them. Take your shots at me in the comment section, and leave your own predictions.