KingFut writers’ early predictions for World Cup 2018
You’ve already had time to plot the World Cup 2018 all the way to the final. But do your predictions match those of KingFut experts? Read and find out.
They had to give eight early predictions and this is what they had to say:
1. Give us your prediction of Egypt’s World Cup campaign
Omar Khairallah: Round of 16. We’ll qualify but we’ll eventually lose to Spain or Portugal. I actually fancy our chances a bit against Portugal.
Luke McBride: I think Egypt will pick up a draw against Uruguay on the basis that Uruguay tend to play to the level of their opponents a lot and they normally pick up steam as the tournament goes on. It will be tough against the hosts but I think Salah will run their old defence ragged and will be too much for them to handle which will be the key battle in what will end up as a draw. In the final game I think Egypt will take an early lead against Saudi Arabia and defend all game as Saudi’s expansive style will play into Egypt’s hands and they will hold on to win. As a result Egypt will go through but finish below Uruguay in my opinion. The next opponents are likely to be Spain or Portugal which will be too much for Egypt to handle and will be their final game.
Evrosina: Egypt will open the World Cup against Uruguay and can get a draw. In the second match against Russia, Egypt should be able to get another draw. Against Saudi Arabia, Egypt will have to be careful. Saudi Arabia made it to the World Cup in dramatic fashion on the final matchday and can be full of surprises, but Egypt should be able to get the win. Egypt will make it to the Round of 16 but not past it, barring any injury Mohamed Salah.
Adam Moustafa: It’s an incredibly balanced group and a bit more difficult than what people may think. Uruguay the clear favourites, facing the hosts is never easy and the only other time we faced Saudi Arabia in a FIFA competition it didn’t go so well (5-1 loss at the 1999 Confederation Cup). Still, I think depending on the result against Russia we have a chance to advance from the group. Round of 16 would be my predicted ceiling.
Omar Morsy: It’s extremely tough to predict World Cup groups, due to a wide array of factors involved. My best guess would be a tough battle for second spot with Russia, in which the Pharaohs narrowly come out on top, followed by a round-of-sixteen exit against 2010 champions Spain. Again, the margins are minuscule so my prediction could be way off-base.
2. Which Egyptian footballer will surprise many?
Omar Khairallah: Hegazi will pocket every single striker he comes up against. He’ll have a great tournament.
Luke McBride: Abdallah El-Said will surprise people as he is relatively unknown outside Africa but has fantastic chemistry with Salah who Egypt play through a lot.
Evrosina: Rami Rabia could surprise many of his critics with a strong performance at the tournament.
Adam Moustafa: Ahmed Hegazi. I think the world is just starting to notice his talent in the Premier League, but he’s still managing to go under the radar. His presence is significant in Cuper’s defensive approach, and we’ll need him to put in more than just a shift against the likes of Cavani and Suarez on the world stage.
Omar Morsy: Mahmoud ‘Trezeguet’ is still relatively unknown despite his excellent performances for the national team, as well as Turkish side Kasimpasa. I believe he will shine on the left wing should he start ahead of Ramadan Sobhi, or even as a substitute.
3. And who will be the breakout star of the whole tournament?
Omar Khairallah: If Joe Gomez starts for England he’ll impress everyone. If not, maybe Timo Werner.
Luke McBride: He isn’t the youngest but I think Christian Cueva from Peru will surprise a lot of people. Possibly Chucky Lozano from Mexico too who has been tearing up the Dutch league this season. However my main pick will be Piotr Zielinski. With Milik’s injury problems Zielinski will carry most of Poland’s burden creatively and is a constant goal threat which should make him a key player.
Evrosina: André Silva has been an important part in Portugal’s qualification and at just 22 he can have an even bigger impact in Russia.
Adam Moustafa: Timo Werner. The 21-year-old has already scored 7 goals in 10 appearances for the world champions, including 3 goals in 4 on his debut in a senior FIFA competition at the Confederation Cup this year.
Omar Morsy: Christian Cueva might already be 26, but he’s still plying his trade at São Paulo. The Peru winger was phenomenal in his team’s first successful World Cup qualification campaign in 36 years. Expect good things from him in Group C.
4. Which player will disappoint the most?
Omar Khairallah: Cristiano Ronaldo
Luke McBride: Harry Kane. He has always looked really lethargic for England and I feel that they will go into the tournament with a fairly defensive approach which will only hinder him.
Evrosina: Because we haven’t seen any indication of otherwise, Joe Hart will probably be playing for England. His form for club and country has been uninspiring to say the least.
Adam Moustafa: Hard to say, I’m sure many will have a worse tournament but England always somehow manage to disappoint, so let’s say Jordan Henderson.
Omar Morsy: I’m not one to make negative predictions, but if I were to pick a potential ‘flop’ of the tournament, I would go for Andre Silva, who I think will have a torrid time against Spain and Morocco.
5. Your golden ball and golden boot winners?
Omar Khairallah: Golden Ball, Isco. Golden Boot, Gabriel Jesus.
Luke McBride: Suarez normally performs when it matters for Uruguay and despite his poor season for Barcelona so far I am confident he will bounce back and he will be my pick for golden ball. For golden boot I will pick Gabriel Jesus who has a phenomenal strike rate for Brazil, which helps as they normally go deep in the tournament.
Evrosina: For Golden Boot, Gabriel Jesus has been in fine form for Brazil. For Golden Ball, Christian Eriksen.
Adam Moustafa: Neymar could easily win both. Brazil look solid after having to actually qualify for the finals this time, and he didn’t disappoint on his debut at the competition in 2014, scoring 4 goals in 5 games.
Omar Morsy: Neymar for the Golden Ball, and Timo Werner (who could possibly join Real Madrid after the tournament) for the Golden Boot.
6. Now your country picks, which team will be the surprise package?
Omar Khairallah: Watch out for Serbia.
Luke McBride: Despite being in pot one I feel that a lot of people are underestimating Poland and between Belgium and England in the neighbouring group I believe they will take a big name scalp and reach at least the quarter finals.
Evrosina: Costa Rica did really well in CONCACAF qualifying which surprised many, including beating the US both home and away. They have experienced players such as Watson and Urena who were integral to qualifying who can make the difference in Russia.
Adam Moustafa: Morocco. They’re in such a difficult group but they won’t be no pushovers; think they’ll manage to put in some impressive performances after going through World Cup qualifying without conceding a goal. Hervé Renard has shown on numerous occasions that his sides are extremely well-prepared for knockout competitions.
Omar Morsy: I think Morocco will shock everyone by qualifying from Group B, and could possibly defeat the winners of Group A (who will most probably be Uruguay) in the round-of-sixteen.
7. Which team will disappoint the most?
Omar Khairallah: As per always; England.
Luke McBride: Belgium have one of the easiest groups they could hope for but I believe they will drop points in key games and fail to progress from the group stage.
Evrosina: Argentina haven’t been in top form to say the least and after a string of disappointments in official competitions, it’s hard to see them turning it around, especially if Messi gets injured.
Adam Moustafa: England despite having an easy group.
Omar Morsy: Following on from the previous question, I think Portugal will fail to qualify ahead of Morocco from Group B.
8. Put your credibility on the line, which team will win the World Cup 2018?
Omar Khairallah: Spain
Luke McBride: There have been plenty of shocks in the footballing world in recent years and I think there will be another as Uruguay wins the World Cup 2018.
Evrosina: Brazil. It’s hard to see any team stopping their lethal attack, while they have two great goalkeepers to choose from and a defense that has been in top form.
Adam Moustafa: Brazil.
Omar Morsy: I’m picking a Brazil-Germany final, but I’m not so sure Germany will be able to make it two World Cup wins in a row so I’m sticking with the Canarinho. However, I would not be completely shocked if the Germans managed to do it.
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