There are four teams remaining in the 2018 Men’s World Cup. Which of them is going to win?
None of them, obviously. They all have one fundamental flaw that will surely drag them down.
France are a young team. They are sorely lacking in experience, with players that had never previously played in a Men’s World Cup, such as Kylian Mbappé, Ousmane Dembélé, and Benjamin Pavard. Teams that are so heavily reliant on youth always have a match or two in which they look extraordinary, run circles around the opposition, and appear as though they will destroy anyone they go up against. But then they inevitably come crashing down, as this same French team did against Portugal in the Euro 2016 final. Also, they scored only three goals in three matches in the group phase. So clearly this is a team that is inconsistent and that can be shut down by the right opponent.
Belgium are an old team. They are overly reliant on players in their thirties, such as Jan Vertonghen, Marouane Fellaini, Mousa Dembélé, and Vincent Kompany. Teams that are so heavily reliant on experience always have a match or two in which they look extraordinary, run circles around the opposition, and appear as though they will destroy anyone they go up against. But then they inevitably come crashing down, as this same Belgian team did against Wales in the Euro 2016 quarterfinals. Also, they have already conceded three goals in two matches in the elimination phase. Against a team with the sort of attacking firepower that France have at their disposal, the Belgian defense will surely be unable to keep up.
Croatia are an exhausted team with injury concerns. They have gone to extra time and penalties in both of their elimination phase matches, against Denmark and Russia. In the quarterfinal against Russia, goalkeeper Danijel Subasić remained in the match despite a hamstring injury, which visibly affected his leaping abilities, and defender Šime Vrsaljko was forced out due to injury. The excessive minutes that Croatia have played, and their constant injury concerns, will surely be their undoing in the semifinals. After all, the only previous time a team won two consecutive penalty shootouts, Argentina in 1990, they lost their next match, which was the final to Germany FR.
We asked Debbie to write this paragraph, but she declined: “England will not win the World Cup, but that is not because of tactics, or team cohesion, or any shortcomings of the players. England will lose because England are England. The fact that this squad have not yet been brought down to Earth in horribly crushing fashion does not mean that it will not happen.”
Okay, well, it looks like Debbie wrote that paragraph after all.
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