Sportsnet’s 2018 FIFA World Cup picks and predictions


Sportsnet’s panel of writers, broadcasters and commentators offer their picks and predictions for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

2018 World Cup coverage on Sportsnet

The FIFA World Cup in Russia runs from June 14 to July 15, and Sportsnet.ca will have in-depth daily coverage.

Daily news & feature stories

| Match schedule

| Group standings

| Team profiles

| History of the World Cup

| Scoreboard

JAMES SHARMAN

Final four: France, Brazil, Spain, Germany
Winner: Germany beats Brazil in the final
Tournament top scorer: Timo Werner, Germany
Biggest surprise team: Croatia
Biggest flop team: Portugal
Breakout-star to watch: Timo Werner, Germany
Group stage match to watch: Argentina vs. Croatia
Keep an eye on: I genuinely hope I am wrong, and that this is a wonderful World Cup jam packed with attacking football and drama. However, I fear the pragmatism that has creeped into the international game will continue, and we’ll be set for some cagey and defensive affairs. Sadly, FIFA will enable some of this thanks to the inclusion of Video Assistant Referee system. VAR is not ready for the World Cup, and the World Cup isn’t ready for VAR. There are still many kinks being ironed out, and many of the officials in charge of games in Russia will be inexperienced in its usage. Overall, I expect VAR to get most of the calls correct, but my concern is the time it will take to reach these conclusions. I fear that an over reliance on “getting it right” is going to kill off some of the tension and momentum in games.

STEPHEN BRUNT

Final four: France, Brazil, Spain, Germany
Winner: France beats Germany in the final
Tournament top scorer: Antoine Griezmann, France
Biggest flop team: Argentina
Breakout-star to watch: Kylian Mbappé, France
Group stage match to watch: Spain vs. Portugal
Keep an eye on: Normally, all of the hooligan stories leading up to a World Cup or Euros turn out to be empty hype (France ‘98 being the exception). Remember the police in Japan in 2002 armed with water cannons and net guns ready for violent gangs that never showed up? But Russia is a true wild card. No idea what to expect. And the locals won’t be any gentler if their team gets humiliated in the group stage.

SID SEIXEIRO

Final four: France, Portugal, Germany, Brazil
Winner: France beats Portugal in the final
Tournament top scorer: Robert Lewandowski, Poland
Biggest surprise team: Peru
Biggest flop team: Argentina
Breakout-star to watch: Saul, Spain
Group stage match to watch: Spain vs. Portugal
Keep an eye on: This tournament will go down as the one of the most controversial in World Cup history. VAR will be a scourge on 2018 that none of us will ever forget. With all due respect to Serie A and the FA Cup (where VAR is used), the stakes have never been higher. World Cup dreams will live and die based on a system that’s rarely been used. This isn’t going to go well.

JOHN MOLINARO

Final four: Brazil, Spain, Germany, France
Winner: Spain …read more

Source:: Sportsnet

      

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