A few surprise teams will rise in 2018 World CupDate: June 12, 2018
By Chris Schweitzer
The 2018 World Cup is looking to be a very exciting one with many interesting storylines such the performances of some of the world's best players, and some teams that can surprise people. The performance of some of the top players in the world will be something I am looking forward to, with Mohamed Salah returning from his injury in the Champions League Final, Lionel Messi trying to get over the hump and win an international trophy, and Cristiano Ronaldo and how he will lead Portugal after their improbable performance to win the 2016 Euros.
Everybody knows that teams like Germany and France will have strong performances in this year's tournament, but I am excited for some of the lower ranked nations that could make some noise. Three teams that I like a lot are Senegal, Peru, and Serbia. Senegal has a lot of talent and had the most points of any team in CAF during the World Cup Qualifiers. Led by two dynamic wingers up front in Sadio Mane and Keita Balde Diao, Senegal have a lot of attacking talent. They also have some defensive talent as well with Kalidou Koulibaly, and Salif Sane on their back line, with Idrissa Gueye and Cheikhou Kouyate providing cover from the defensive midfield.
Peru is a team that doesn't have a lot of recognizable talent but with solid coaching they play better than the sum of their parts. Peru is also in a group with France, Australia, and Denmark, and could make their way to the knockout stages in the second position behind France. Serbia is a team built around exceptional midfield play with rising star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, the dependable Nemanja Matic, and in-form Luka Milivojevic looking to play big parts in Serbia's tournament. They also have Aleksandar Mitrovic up front, who has been red hot to finish the domestic season with Fulham and help them secure promotion to the Premier League, and if he can carry over that level of play then he should have a fine tournament.
Lastly, the team that I think will be crowned world champions at the end. Despite lots of talent on every team, I believe Brazil will be the victors. Brazil has a top five player in the world in Neymar, and lots of attacking talent to link up with him such as Roberto Firmino, Gabriel Jesus, Philippe Coutinho, and Douglas Costa. A midfield of Casemiro, Paulinho, and Renato Augusto was incredible for them during qualification and there is no reason to say they won't play just as well in the World Cup. Something Brazil struggled with in the last World Cup was goalkeeper play, but with Alisson and Ederson, Brazil have two of the best goalkeepers from this past association season. With players like Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, David Luiz, Marcelo, and Miranda in front of them, I don't see any team that can match up with Brazil's level of talent and coaching.
Chris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org