FIFA World Cup 2018: Reviewing my predictions

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SINGING IN THE RAIN: The inclement weather certainly didn’t ‘rain’ on France’s parade. PHOTO: DNA India

A ROLLERCOASTER RIDE was this 2018 edition of international football’s most prestigious tournament, with France taking out the top prize beating Croatia 4-2 in the final in Moscow. Russia put on an amazing display of colour, culture and camaraderie with all 32 teams walking away feeling like they achieved something.

After the first weekend of play, I attempted to predict this unpredictable world phenomenon and not surprisingly I failed miserably in some respects. From the group stage to the final, there was just some things that didn’t go the way of me, you or anybody who tried to shine the crystal ball of world football.

So today, I’ll go through all of my predictions from Group A to Group H and the knockout stages. It will be interesting to see just how hard it is to prognosticate the event that is the World Cup.

Group stages:

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FRENCH REVELATION: Kylian Mbappe is only 19, just let that sink in. PHOTO: Hypebeast

 

The group stages certainly did not go to plan for many of the big juggernauts of the World Cup. Germany for example, the reigning champions, were eliminated in humiliating circumstances by South Korea. This made way for the lesser-nations, the teams that were there to ‘make up the numbers’ to be successful on the big stage. Japan and Sweden played out of their skins due to these opportunities. There were also teams who exceeded expectations like England, Mexico and especially Croatia. In this section, I show you my original prediction and the actual outcome, highlighted in pink. There are some interesting results, so take a look for yourself.

Group A:

Prediction:

1. Uruguay

2. Russia

3. Egypt

4. Saudi Arabia

Actual outcome:

1. Uruguay

2. Russia

3. Saudi Arabia

4. Egypt

Group B: (PREDICTED CORRECTLY)

Prediction:

1. Spain

2. Portugal

3. Iran

4. Morocco

Actual outcome:

1. Spain

2. Portugal

3. Iran

4. Morocco

Group C:

Prediction:

1. France

2. Australia

3. Denmark

4. Peru

Actual outcome:

1. France

2. Denmark

3. Peru

4. Australia

Group D:

Prediction:

1. Croatia

2. Argentina

3. Iceland

4. Nigeria

Actual outcome:

1. Croatia

2. Argentina

3. Nigeria

4. Iceland

Group E: (PREDICTED CORRECTLY)

Prediction:

1. Brazil

2. Switzerland

3. Serbia

4. Costa Rica

Actual outcome:

1. Brazil

2. Switzerland

3. Serbia

4. Costa Rica

Group F:

Prediction:

1. Mexico

2. Germany

3. Sweden

4. South Korea

Actual outcome:

1. Sweden

2. Mexico

3. South Korea

4. Germany

Group G: (PREDICTED CORRECTLY)

Prediction:

1. Belgium

2. England

3. Tunisia

4. Panama

Actual outcome:

1. Belgium

2. England

3. Tunisia

4. Panama

Group H:

Prediction:

1. Colombia

2. Poland

3. Japan

4. Senegal

Actual outcome:

1. Colombia

2. Japan

3. Senegal

4. Poland

Three out of eight groups predicted correctly in order ain’t bad. In a tough tournament, I can hold my head up high here.

Knockout stages:

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HEROIC: Luka Modric owned Croatia this past month with his dazzling displays on the pitch. PHOTO: SB Nation

The knockout stages are expected to display incredible football with the juggernauts coming out on top. This was partly true and albeit we didn’t get to see powerhouses everywhere it made for an even more entertaining knockout phase. All I can say is Croatia and England, enough said.

Round of 16:

Prediction:

France (WIN) v Argentina

Uruguay v Portugal (WIN)

Spain (WIN) v Russia

Croatia (WIN) v Australia

Brazil v Germany (WIN)

Belgium (WIN) v Poland

Mexico (WIN) v Switzerland

Colombia (WIN) v England

Actual outcome:

France 4 def. Argentina 3

Uruguay 2 def. Portugal 1

Russia 1 def. Spain 1(4-3 on penalties)

Croatia def. Denmark 1-1 (3-2 on penalities)

Brazil 2 def. Mexico 0

Belgium 3 def. Japan 2

Sweden 1 def. Switzerland 0

England 1 def. Colombia 1 (4-3 on penalties)

Quarter-finals:

Prediction:

France v Portugal (WIN)

Germany v Belgium (WIN)

Spain (WIN) v Croatia

Mexico v Colombia (WIN)

Actual outcome:

France 2 def. Uruguay 0

Belgium 2 def. Brazil 1

England 2 def. Sweden 0 

Russia 2 v Croatia 2 (4-3 on penalties)

Semi-finals:

Prediction:

Portugal v Spain (WIN)

Belgium (WIN) v Colombia

Actual outcome:

Croatia 2 def. England 1 (ET)

France 1 def. Belgium 0

Third Place:

Prediction:

Portugal (WIN) v Colombia

Actual outcome:

Belgium 2 def. England 0

Final:

Prediction:

Spain v Belgium (WIN)

Actual outcome:

France 4 def. Croatia 2

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SYMBOLIC: Luka Modric was everywhere but just couldn’t help an unlucky Croatia get over the line in the final. PHOTO: Sportsnet

Well my knockout phase predictions were incredibly far off the mark as the competition went further on. Spain in the final, Colombia and Portugal making it through to the last four, Germany making it to the knockout stages and Mexico getting to the quarter finals, they were rough, give me a break. What did happen was very special and I much preferred the real life outcome to my predictions. In summary here I predicted;

  • 4 out of the 8 Round of 16 matches
  • 3 of the the 8 quarter-finalists
  • 1 of the 4 semi-finalists

The rest was wrong but again the predictions were not bad in reality.

Overall this World Cup was by far the most entertaining and memorable I’ve ever watched. The pride and the passion was in full swing and I cannot wait to see it happen all over again for the 22nd time in Qatar 2022. Until then, goodbye.

KELSEY TRUSCELLO