• 23 Jun - 29 Jun, 2018
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Sports

The game has begun and the world is grooving to the beats of Live It Up with every football fan in high spirits. The biggest sporting event of the year, the 2018 edition of the FIFA World Cup, being held in Russia, is all the rage these days, taking the world by storm with its magical pull. After a rigorous multi-year qualification process, the Russian football fields have welcomed 31 teams from around the world. Deemed to be the most unpredictable and open FIFA World Cup in decades, the odds of your favourite teams winning are possibly high. Despite a lengthy list of potential winners, we’re rooting for these four big teams and their star players that might just take home the coveted trophy!


A team transformed under the astute leadership of Tite, Brazil were the first nation – besides the hosts – to book their place at Russia 2018. The ghosts of 2014 and that 7-1 walloping by Germany have been exorcised by some outstanding performances, including a recent 1-0 win over the world champions in Berlin. The team’s key player is none other than Neymar. There was a collective intake of breath when Brazil's talisman suffered a season-ending foot injury for Paris Saint-Germain in February. At 26, the young player already has 55 goals and is now joint-fourth place with Romario on the list of Brazil's top goalscorers. The team’s coach says that the team are “A favourite at the World Cup. By the football presented, the campaign completed, by level, performance plus results… we are one of the teams [who can win the Trophy], yes."


Didier Deschamps arrives at Russia 2018 with a squad crammed full of individual talent. A mere look at their 23-player list, which contains names such as Pogba, Griezmann, Mbappe and Dembele, guarantees a degree of expectation. Should Deschamps settle on a formula that brings out the best of this dazzling array of stars, he could become just the third man – after Mario Zagallo and Franz Beckenbauer – to win the Trophy as coach and player. With an outstanding performance for the French at UEFA EURO 2016, and the hero once again for Atletico Madrid in their recent UEFA Europa League final, Antoine Griezmann has proved himself to be a man for the big occasion. Dynamic and deadly, this speedy forward will again be expected to spearhead Les Bleus' multi-talented attack.


Retaining the World Cup is notoriously difficult, and no-one has managed it since Brazil in 1962. Germany, however, arrive at Russia 2018 with a group of players that is arguably even stronger than the one that brought them glory four years ago. Their victory at the FIFA Confederations Cup with a youthful squad heralded the arrival of youngsters such as Timo Werner, Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich, all of whom are ready and able to contribute to the team's impending title defence. Brilliant on his day, and a stalwart of Low's Germany, Mesut Ozil has been criticised in recent years for his inconsistency for both club and country. He remains as talented and creative as ever, though, and if the holders are to retain their Trophy, they will need their assist king at his inventive best.


After early exits at Brazil 2014 and UEFA EURO 2016, Spain have rediscovered their swagger and approach Russia 2018 in fine fettle. In mixing heroes of the team that won three successive major titles between 2008 and 2012 with a new generation of exciting players, Julen Lopetegui looks to have found the perfect blend. Outstanding showings in qualifying, and against big-name friendly opponents, have strengthened the belief that this hugely talented Spain side is ready to go the distance. Though a veteran of well over 100 internationals and a member of Spain's golden generation, David Silva tended to play a supporting role during that aforementioned, silverware-laden four-year period. Now, aged 32, he is one of the team's undisputed stars, with sparkling performances and five goals during qualifying having cemented the Manchester City hero's place at the heart of Julen Lopetegui's plans.


Lionel Messi

Football is incomplete without having mentioned this exceptionally talented star. Lionel Messi has been threatening European nations ever since he started his football career. He’s always proved himself as the saviour of FC Barcelona whenever in need. We cannot wait for the 30-year-old star to spin magic on the fields with his game and give us a glimpse of his glorious career in FIFA 2018, for this will possibly be his last chance to win the World Cup and help Argentina take the fancy trophy home.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Cristiano Ronaldo – an all-time favourite, is the one of the most dominating players in the history of FIFA. The gifted player doesn’t miss a chance to impress his crazy fans. Even though he’s never had the opportunity to win his team the desirable trophy, Ronaldo has led Portugal while winning the Euro Cup 2016. The player can never be underestimated, for winning this edition of FIFA could just be on his must-do list! This four-time Ballon d’Or winner is regarded as the best player in the world, another reason for him to eye a win this time around.

Mohamed Salah

He came, he played, he conquered. Mohamed Salah is stepping up the ladder of success one goal at a time. Despite having suffered a dislocated shoulder after colliding with Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos in the Champions League final, Salah is one of the favourites for FIFA 2018. The 25-year-old Egyptian footballer has all the prayers and wishes of die-hard fans from around the world, as he gears up with his team to take on the world of football.