World Cup

Words by Ciaran Coyle

The 22nd edition of the FIFA World Cup is almost upon us and what better way to try and get into the world cup spirit, challenging as it might be, than laying down some predictions ahead of the tournament. This is just our far from expert opinion, so don’t take our word for it! Let us know your world cup predictions in the comment section.

Player of the tournament: Cristiano Ronaldo

Whilst Portugal’s captain has been creating more headlines off the pitch than on it this season, with his latest media storm stemming from a ‘tell all’ interview with Piers Morgan in which Ronaldo was outspoken about his time at Manchester United, CSN believes he will go back to doing his talking on the pitch. The reaction from the footballing world has been mixed to say the least and not necessarily what the 6 times Champions League winner would’ve been expecting. But throughout his career, when the critics come calling he has provided an answer. This being his last world cup campaign, Ronaldo has no option but to prove to the footballing world that he can still be a valuable asset at the highest level and that is exactly what he will do.

Tournament flops: Denmark

The Danes will be looking to replicate the form that saw them reach the semi-finals of Euro 2020 just over a year ago but CSN predicts that Denmark will fall well short of expectations this time round in Qatar. Kasper Hjulmand’s side were drawn into Group D alongside champions France, Australia and Tunisia. With France being the obvious favourites to emerge as group winners, Denmark will be looking to secure 2nd place in order to progress to the knockout stages. However, with the weather conditions in Qatar set to be humid to say the least, this tournament could favour those teams who are used to playing their games in warmer climates. Australia and Tunisia will be looking to exploit this advantage and whilst Denmark’s quality may be enough to get them over the line, CSN predicts Denmark won’t have to bear the soring temperatures for long.

Dark Horse/Over performer: Mexico

Whilst many are writing off Mexico as a side who will be taking an early flight home from Qatar this time round, CSN predicts that they will outperform the expectations of the football watching public. Mexico find themselves in a tough group, with favourites Argentina, Saudi Arabia and Poland who will all provide very stern tests for Gerardo Martino’s side to overcome if they are to progress to the latter stages of this tournament. However, Mexico have played some clever football in recent times, leading to them being ranked as the 13th best team in the world according to the FIFA rankings. They will also have the added advantage of being able to acclimatise to the humid temperatures Qatar will throw up during the tournament. Whilst they may not have the same amount of players playing in the higher divisions as they did in previous tournaments, the likes of Hirving Lozano, Raul Jimenez and Hector Herrera will be hoping they can provide the quality which has seen them have successful careers at club level.

Winners: Portugal

With the footballing world seemingly on their knees for Lionel Messi to put the lid on a phenomenal international career with a glittering finish, his mortal rival will be all too aware of this fact. Portugal are a side that possesses immense quality all over the pitch and will have been many fans pick to fill the role of dark horses at this tournament, but CSN believes the 2016 European Champions will go all the way in 2022. Whilst this prediction is mostly based on storylines and hypothetical scenarios, football has a funny way of making the pieces fall into place for the chosen narratives to play out. It is simply, Ronaldo’s time…

Let us know what you think of our predictions in the comment section below and let us know who you are backing to go all the way this year!

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