The World Cup for Dummies
June 5, 2018 (No Comments) by Dean Fitzgerald

world cup 2018

The FIFA World Cup is upon us once again, as the four year cycle reverts to its most exciting position. This year’s edition, hosted by Russia (thanks to Sepp Blatter perhaps?), is sure to be another affair of the grandest scale. Despite being the biggest single sport competition in the world outside of the Olympics, it is common for many to be unfamiliar with the events that will transpire. For those interested in investing a month of the summer into soccer, here are a few pieces of knowledge for you:

Dates

The first game, Russia v Saudi Arabia, begins on June 14th at 4 o’clock Irish time. Games will occur every day until the 28th, with the knockout stages beginning the 30th, the World Cup Final takes place on July 15th in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

Troubles

Russia has been earmarked as a cauldron for potential issues relating to fan violence. Back at the 2016 European Championships, Russia fans assaulted English fans in France in unprovoked attacks, and Ultras have threatened further violence in the build up to the tournament. There have also been problems with racism towards players in the country, which is absolutely unacceptable in any capacity for a nation hosting a worldwide competition of people of various races and ethnicities. It remains to be seen how the authorities – both FIFA and Russian – deal with these issues during the World Cup.

Genuine Contenders

World champions Germany will be challenged for supremacy by 31 other teams, but realistically there are less than 10 opponents worthy of dethroning them. The obvious choices include Spain, Brazil, Argentina, France, Belgium, and European champions Portugal, with Colombia, Uruguay, and Croatia capable of upsetting a few apple carts. England, on the other hand, enter with little expectations of lifting the iconic golden trophy, with as weak a squad as they have entered in years.

Underdogs

There are a few teams that are worth supporting for the underdog factor if nothing else. They may not ultimately end up in the latter stages, but a Cinderella run would be extremely sweet to watch. Iceland top this list, with a population of under 350,000 fully behind their resilient side. A sheer will to succeed with be extremely tested by a difficult group containing Argentina, Croatia, and Nigeria.

Elsewhere, there is an Egyptian side whose hopes rest on the currently dislocated shoulder of the majestic Mohammed Salah. Should the Liverpool dynamo be declared fit enough, they could break out of Group A, which features hosts Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Uruguay. Additionally, we have the unexpected qualifiers from Panama, who ousted the United States from contention and compete with Belgium, Tunisia, and England in Group G.

Games to Watch

The group stages contain some intriguing matchups and a few mouth-watering clashes. Spain and Portugal lock horns on the tournament’s second day (June 15th), while Argentina and Croatia battle on the 21st of June. Germany face Sweden on June 23rd, and a lesser hyped meeting between Poland and Colombia takes place the next day. The final game of the first round features England and Belgium, which could have important qualification implications. Topping the group may be crucial in avoiding other stronger teams until the latter stages.

The Knockouts

The last-16 is when the competition begins to heat up, as the weaker teams are eliminated in favour of single knockout games. The top teams may not thrive at this stage, but will survive, as tournaments are about momentum and staying alive. It may not be pretty, but the best teams tend to win out.

The Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals bring together the powerhouses, with a sprinkling of underdogs possibly still in the hunt (see: Costa Rica – 2014, Ghana – 2010, South Korea – 2002).

This World Cup is set to be one of the most intriguing in years, with several potential winners in the running and the likelihood of surprises as high as ever. We hope that the tournament produces amazing performances and games, and that some less familiar fans become hooked on the atmosphere around the competition.

Dean Fitzgerald
Can relate any life problems back to GAA. Has an interest in sport of all kinds, including even cricket for some reason.

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The World Cup for Dummies
June 5, 2018 (No Comments) by Dean Fitzgerald

world cup 2018

The FIFA World Cup is upon us once again, as the four year cycle reverts to its most exciting position. This year’s edition, hosted by Russia (thanks to Sepp Blatter perhaps?), is sure to be another affair of the grandest scale. Despite being the biggest single sport competition in the world outside of the Olympics, it is common for many to be unfamiliar with the events that will transpire. For those interested in investing a month of the summer into soccer, here are a few pieces of knowledge for you:

Dates

The first game, Russia v Saudi Arabia, begins on June 14th at 4 o’clock Irish time. Games will occur every day until the 28th, with the knockout stages beginning the 30th, the World Cup Final takes place on July 15th in the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow.

Troubles

Russia has been earmarked as a cauldron for potential issues relating to fan violence. Back at the 2016 European Championships, Russia fans assaulted English fans in France in unprovoked attacks, and Ultras have threatened further violence in the build up to the tournament. There have also been problems with racism towards players in the country, which is absolutely unacceptable in any capacity for a nation hosting a worldwide competition of people of various races and ethnicities. It remains to be seen how the authorities – both FIFA and Russian – deal with these issues during the World Cup.

Genuine Contenders

World champions Germany will be challenged for supremacy by 31 other teams, but realistically there are less than 10 opponents worthy of dethroning them. The obvious choices include Spain, Brazil, Argentina, France, Belgium, and European champions Portugal, with Colombia, Uruguay, and Croatia capable of upsetting a few apple carts. England, on the other hand, enter with little expectations of lifting the iconic golden trophy, with as weak a squad as they have entered in years.

Underdogs

There are a few teams that are worth supporting for the underdog factor if nothing else. They may not ultimately end up in the latter stages, but a Cinderella run would be extremely sweet to watch. Iceland top this list, with a population of under 350,000 fully behind their resilient side. A sheer will to succeed with be extremely tested by a difficult group containing Argentina, Croatia, and Nigeria.

Elsewhere, there is an Egyptian side whose hopes rest on the currently dislocated shoulder of the majestic Mohammed Salah. Should the Liverpool dynamo be declared fit enough, they could break out of Group A, which features hosts Russia, Saudi Arabia, and Uruguay. Additionally, we have the unexpected qualifiers from Panama, who ousted the United States from contention and compete with Belgium, Tunisia, and England in Group G.

Games to Watch

The group stages contain some intriguing matchups and a few mouth-watering clashes. Spain and Portugal lock horns on the tournament’s second day (June 15th), while Argentina and Croatia battle on the 21st of June. Germany face Sweden on June 23rd, and a lesser hyped meeting between Poland and Colombia takes place the next day. The final game of the first round features England and Belgium, which could have important qualification implications. Topping the group may be crucial in avoiding other stronger teams until the latter stages.

The Knockouts

The last-16 is when the competition begins to heat up, as the weaker teams are eliminated in favour of single knockout games. The top teams may not thrive at this stage, but will survive, as tournaments are about momentum and staying alive. It may not be pretty, but the best teams tend to win out.

The Quarter-Finals and Semi-Finals bring together the powerhouses, with a sprinkling of underdogs possibly still in the hunt (see: Costa Rica – 2014, Ghana – 2010, South Korea – 2002).

This World Cup is set to be one of the most intriguing in years, with several potential winners in the running and the likelihood of surprises as high as ever. We hope that the tournament produces amazing performances and games, and that some less familiar fans become hooked on the atmosphere around the competition.

Dean Fitzgerald
Can relate any life problems back to GAA. Has an interest in sport of all kinds, including even cricket for some reason.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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