After months of lead-up, the World Cup 2018 begins today at 16:00 with the opening match taking place between Russia and Saudi Arabia. Overall there will be 32 teams (including holders Germany) who will be competing in 64 games over 32 days. And we are looking forward to literally hundreds of trading opportunities at Football Index as the competition progresses!
Germany (who beat Argentina in the 2014 final) will be looking to win back-to-back World Cups (the last time this happened was in 1962) whilst Brazil will be after a sixth world title (extending their existing record). One reason the Brazilians are confident is that Neymar (who cost a world record £200 million when he moved from Barcelona to PSG last year) has returned after a broken foot. Other favourites include Portugal (Euro 2016 winners) along with Belgium, Poland and 1998 winners France.
After being instrumental in Portugal winning Euro 2016, Cristiano Ronaldo will certainly be hoping for his first World Cup winners’ medal whilst Lionel Messi is after a first major trophy with Argentina. France is certainly going to be assisted by a young squad that includes 19 year old forward Kylian Mbappe plus a host of Premier League names such as Hugo Lloris (Tottenham goalkeeper), Paul Pogba (Manchester United midfielder) and Olivier Giroud (Chelsea forward).
What About England?
Current England skipper Harry Kane is quite positive – the Tottenham forward said “It’s impossible not to dream about lifting the World Cup. I believe we can win it – anyone can”. The squad is young (the third youngest squad in Russia in fact) with an average age of just 26 years and 18 days and defender Trent Alexander-Arnold the youngest at 19 years old. That said, if England want to go all the way, they will have to address their generally poor record at the knockout stages of major competitions.
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