Well folks - it’s nearly here. But by nearly, I mean really nearly. As in a whisker away. A hair outside the goalpost. Inches from going in. We are officially 12 hours from kick-off in Moscow.
Perhaps, for many of you, we’re already there. That is of course, in 2026 we’ll be there. The big news today came that the Unity Bid was successful and Canada, Mexico and the United States will be the first tri-country hosts of a World Cup. Not only that, it’s an expanded tournament which will include 48 teams for the first time in World Cup history.
Maybe you saw the Vancouver Whitecaps’ own Alphonso Davies deliver a moving speech to FIFA Congress earlier today about potentially playing a match in the World Cup, in his own hometown of Edmonton, Alberta.
So. Proud.— Vancouver Whitecaps (@WhitecapsFC) June 13, 2018
Today, our very own @AlphonsoDavies delivered a moving speech to FIFA Congress before Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. were awarded the 2026 FIFA World Cup!!#United2026 #VWFC #OurAllOurHonour pic.twitter.com/GhfOvV6esg
Think about it - in 2026 Alphonso Davies will be in his prime! It’s entirely possible the greatest Canadian men’s national team ever will be assembled!
The only downside is it’s going to cost the small sum of an unfathomable, not yet named, sum of money out of all taxpayer pockets.
On the whole, to wrap my current feelings up in five words or less.
It’s the freakin’ World Cup!
Anyways, on to the rest of our round table where we posed questions to our writers including who they expect to finish as top scorer, which teams are grossly overrated and why their other predicted finalist will make it all the way to the final hurdle only to fall short.
Of course if you haven’t yet joined our World Cup Prediction Tournament on FotMob, you can enter for free by making your selections on FotMob and entering the code: BUHMJVE to join.
Best of luck to you all and enjoy!
Why do you feel your other selected finalist will get back to Moscow for the Final, but won’t be able to win?
CWilkins: My other finalist are Germany. I’m predicting a rematch of the infamous 7-1 game. This time around though, Brazil are much more balanced, better coached, and better overall. Germany are also still very good but I don’t know if they have a player as capable of producing something special as Neymar.
AtlantisB: Brazil seems like the obvious choice, but I am not confident in my selection. I could see them losing out to France. It will be close and I would not be surprised if France edges out Brazil.
TDahl: I have Brazil facing Argentina and I gave the edge to Argentina based on experience. Argentina lost the last World Cup to Germany and I think that will drive the team to greatness here.
IanJones: My other team, Belgium, will had to have gone through Colombia, Germany, and Spain (based on my prognostications, anyway) to get to that point. They will be emotionally, and exponentially, spent. To get through that gauntlet, they will need to remain cohesive AF throughout and, to me, that’s where they faltered in 2014: they have the talent, but after those three matches in succession, the Red Devils may not have anything left.
Samuel_Rowan: While Belgium has a great team from top to bottom, I believe that the experience and mental fortitude of the German squad will win out when it matters most.
Jitsuo: I have a Franco-German final because you can’t discount how good Die Mannschaft is.
Who will finish as top scorer?
CWilkins: I think Neymar will win the Golden boot. We all know he can be a bit selfish and i’m predicting Brazil to win so it’s a pretty safe bet.
AtlantisB: Antoine Griezmann. France plays their ‘easy’ match first, against Australia, meaning that Griezmann doesn’t sit any matches and has a chance to get off to a quick start. He is the man for France and I see them going deep, potentially to the final.
TDahl: Lionel Messi will finish as top scorer, as I said above I think he wants to prove he’s the GOAT and leading his team to glory while being the scoring champ would certainly put a stamp on the matter in my opinion
IanJones: Despite what I literally just typed out, Belgium’s Romelu Lukaku. Belgium will beat up on Tunisia and Panama, and Lukaku himself plays in the EPL, so I’m sure he’ll be familiar in facing players like Danny Rose and John Stones.
Samuel_Rowan: Timo Werner, the 22 year old has 7 goals in his 12 appearances going into the World Cup and the service he should be provided with in the German 4-2-3-1 formation is top notch.
Jitsuo: Antoine Griezmann. He’s at the height of his powers, his movement is incredible and he has an ability to turn a half chance from anywhere inside 25 yards into a goal. The French team is also built around creating chances for him. As a side note - I was hugely tempted to pick Harry Kane, if he gets going he could wrap up the golden boot in the group stage.
Is there a team you feel to be criminally under or overrated?
CWilkins: I think Sweden are underrated because people assume they won’t be as good without Zlatan. On the contrary though, I think they may actually be better now.
AtlantisB: Like with Poland, I don’t think Belgium gets enough credit. They are always a contender but someone that often gets overlooked in my opinion. I have them going out in the quarters to Brazil, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they go further. And, I think many WOULD be surprised if they did.
IanJones: Underrated? Possibly Peru. It’s their first time back in the show since 1982, and they’re not ranked #10 in the world for nothing.
Overrated? It would be easy to say England: they invented football, but never seem to win at it. But I feel like I should do my due diligence, and say Poland. They skated through a relatively easy qualifying group, with only a 4-0 loss away to Denmark being their only real blemish.
Samuel_Rowan: I think Spain and Argentina are both overrated squads generally speaking. Spain lacks a consistent attacking option that the likes of David Villa has provided in the past and Argentina’s defensive options and chemistry is troublesome - one player is not enough to win you a tournament of this magnitude.
Jitsuo: Iceland are the definition of overrated. Everyone’s ready for them this time around, and Gylfi Sigurdsson is hurt. Remember when Greece won Euro? Same story, different decade.
Which players or teams are you disappointed won’t be at the World Cup?
CWilkins: Honestly I kind of like that some perennial World Cup teams didn’t make it. It’s interesting to see new teams like Tunisia and Iceland get a chance to show what they can do.
AtlantisB: The Dutch. My team has always been Germany, but I have always had a soft spot for The Netherlands. I am not sure where that came from, but they have always been my second team. It is really sad that they will not be in this World Cup. Like, I am actually sad, not just writing it down.
IanJones: The United States to a certain degree, as I have friends in Vegas and Seattle who really rally behind the country when it comes to the World Cup. But ultimately, I’d say Chile, particularly because of their inspiring performance at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil (kept out of the quarters by the goal post!) and the two most recent Copa América tournaments. To see a squad like that be kept out because of goal differential is heartbreaking. Then again, don’t go losing to Paraguay at home 3-0, I suppose.
Samuel_Rowan: As a Canadian I’m obviously disappointed to have not seen a World Cup squad in my lifetime, but beyond that distant hope, the Netherlands and Italy have always brought such a great and atmosphere and excitement to the tournament, so that will be missed.
Jitsuo: I’m disappointed Gareth Bale and Co. won’t be there on a personal note. But for the biggest let down it has to be that Gianluigi Buffon won’t be there. I love to write them off but it doesn’t feel like a World Cup without the Azzurri.