It’s a lovely weekend on the back of a win, isn’t it? 3 points in the bag, back into the playoff places and well, a win for the Vancouver Whitecaps, it really helps make for an enjoyable weekend. A weekend that allows you to focus on other teams - like Toronto FC and their continued struggles as they mustered a point at home against Columbus Crew.
On the international stage, there was a friendly tune-up match for the World Cup where Austria managed to knock off one of their age old rivals in neighbours Germany 2-1 and England managed a 2-1 win at Wembley against best-kit-to-ever-grace-the-football-world Nigeria.
Heck, maybe you were so excited about the international friendlies that you sat through all of the Portugal 0-0 Belgium, or got out of bed early on a Sunday because Brazil was taking on Croatia.
Oh the stars on display, the beauty of it. It’s coming and you just know it too.
The 21st rendition of the most popular tournament on the planet is coming.
We’re only 11 days away now, and soon all eyes will shift to Moscow and the Luzhniki Stadium when hosts Russia will welcome Saudi Arabia in a civilized football battle between two super powers of the oil game, as the tournament of tournaments kicks off.
The excitement among the writers at 86Forever is building, and if you’re like us then maybe you’ve begun to break down the groups, and then the knockout rounds, to look at the permutations of wins, losses and draws to see who’s going to take on who for la coupe de la gloire, La Coupe du Monde, the trophy that reduces full grown people to tears of joy and despair around the globe.
There are perennial favourites coming back to their best in Spain, France, Brazil and holders Germany. There are teams that have under performed in the midst of what many have seen as a golden generation of players in Belgium and Croatia.
Holy crap I’m excited.
I’ve looked through it all and tried to work out who the upstarts and the surprises are going to be, wondering who’s going to go on the Cinderella run late into the knockout rounds?
Will Mo Salah be back in time to steer Egypt through their group? Will Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez’s Uruguayan attack have Jose Aja, Nico Mezquida and Cristian Techera jumping for joy? Can our captain Kendall Waston help Costa Rica scrape out of Group E ahead of their European contenders Serbia and Switzerland? Or will all three be left dumbfounded by the insatiable Brazilian attack?
This is going to be so good.
In fact, it’s so good, and there are so many questions to ask, we at 86Forever are betting our words against each other that we know who’s going to be returning to Moscow and the Luzhniki stadium on July 15 to lift the trophy and write their place in footballing lore. We’ve disagreed so much that we’re even opening it up to you our readers and anyone else who wants to join.
Yes - that’s right. We’re setting up a World Cup Prediction Tournament!
To my knowledge as a rookie who’s never been writing during a major tournament before, this is the first World Cup Prediction to be conducted by 86Forever. Whether it’s a win or a total flop - it’s automatically a great success!
Now here’s what you’ll need to know.
We’re hosting the prediction on FotMob and in a shameless not-in-any-way at all profitable for myself plug, if you haven’t used it, it’s an excellent app and website for keeping track of stats, player performance and results.
To join you can either download the FotMob app, or visit the website here: https://www.fotmob.com/wc2018/competition
Once you go through and make your selections, you can join our 86Forever league by entering the following code: BUHMJVE
Please note, in setting this up with the writers we had to specifically enter this code into the My Leagues tab to join our league so be sure you do so.
And now, the caveat - to the winner on here we normally reserve bragging rights, and shout-outs as your spoils - but not this time! I will personally be offering up a pair of tickets to the September 15 home match against our bitterest of Cascadian rivals Seattle Sounders to the winner of our tournament.
So what are you waiting for? It’s free to sign up - and there’s a real prize!
Be sure to check back to 86Forever as we’ll be sharing our own predictions, and some of our theory surrounding our own picks.
Until then, I’ll leave you with Nicky Jam’s official song of the World Cup to play on repeat for the next 11 days - happy Sunday, and best of luck!