Jeff Knight’s World Cup predictions
Jeff Knight is director of marketing at Foundation Home Loans
It’s finally here. The waiting is over. Four years ago, the England team touched down in Brazil with typically high hopes, only to have them dashed in tragically premature fashion. So, what can we expect from the national team this time around and what other upsets are on the cards?
What are the experts saying?
Looking at the odds, Brazil and Germany are favourites, and according to AI technology from Goldman Sachs, the South American masters will beat the Germans in the final, reaping revenge for the humiliation of four years ago. Sadly, they also predict that England will be beaten by Germany (again) – though don’t go as far to say whether this will be on penalties or not.
Shocks on the horizon?
While it’s difficult to look beyond Germany and Brazil to lift the trophy, I genuinely feel there will be one or two upsets on the horizon. These shocks are what makes this tournament so great, so rather than a simple set of predictions, I’m going to stick my neck out with a few calls on where such upsets might occur.
Will Russia be knocked out early on? Many pundits are predicting this but I don’t see it. Instead I think they will qualify at the expense of Uruguay. The surprise being that they will be joined by Saudi Arabia, who I believe will not only escape their group, but could then knock out Spain in the last 16 in a famous victory. That would be a shock.
The biggest shocks could come from both France and Argentina, neither of whom making it out of their groups, which will be a shame as the tournament needs the likes of Messi. That means that Iceland will make it through, following on from their Euros success, and take on the mighty Australia (who will qualify from their group along with Peru and knock out France in the process) in the last 16, with the winners playing Portugal.
That means we’ll have one of Peru or Saudi Arabia in the semi-final (with Brazil, Germany and Portugal). Now that would be a World cup shock.
What about a pipe dream?
So my pipe dream prediction is that Mexico will win Group F, with Germany finishing second. This means that if England beat Columbia in the last 16, then play (and beat) Mexico in the quarter finals, they would meet old enemies Portugal in the semi-finals. With Rooney looking on from the stands, Ronaldo misses the Portuguese final penalty of the shoot-out, which means England make it to the final.
We can only hope.