Tomorrow the FIFA World Cup begins in Russia. A heavily promoted tournament and a competition that makes the entire world hold its breath. But how important is this competition any more?
For us in Romania this year’s World Cup is just another tournament as our national team failed (again) to qualify. I have not expectations from this World Cup as the charm and fairytale, the romanticism of football is long gone.
For some players this tournament is a pain in the ass as it follows a long and heavy season and instead of a well deserved holiday they have to play in a tournament where their chances are slim. Let’s take Mohamed Salah for example. Egypt’s superstar comes in Russia after a successful yet tiring season with Liverpool and with the well known fact that his team stands no chance for the medals. As for his team mates they could make a name for themselves but for him, except for the pride of representing his country, there is nothing else at stake.
For Cristiano and Leo this tournament is just another battleground to prove who is the best out of them two. But here, they do not have their team mates from Real or Barca and so the task is harder. Some say Argentina is one of the favourites. They could be if they play as a team and will not expect everything from Messi.
Brazil is another strong candidate if they resolve their defensive daydreaming. This could be Neymar’s tournament. It is the moment to find out if he is finally a grown man or not. In my opinion he is not but I expect him to prove all of us wrong.
Spain just fired their manager but most people say that this team doesn’t really need a coach as they have tremendous quality in the squad. They are one of my favourite teams in Russia.
Germany is always a contender but I am not their biggest fan. Actually I am not their fan at all.
France is a team I really don’t like. I don’t like their manager, I don’t like the players and I don’t like the attitude. But I have to admit that they are a very strong group and they have some great players.
Belgium is a team full of superstars but are they really a team? We’ll find out.
England is overrated as usual.
Russia will be heavily helped by the referees so I can see them in a quarter final or even a semi final. Depends what Putin the Tzar wants. And this brings me at the hypocrisy part. Everyone is talking about the fact that Russia bought this tournament. Everybody says that Russia is not a real democracy and that human rights are heavily stepped upon there. Everybody says that Russian athletes (no matter the sport) are heavily drugged. Yet all the kings of morality are present at this tournament. If that is not hypocrisy I don’t know what it is.
As a personal note, my opinion is that Russia did nothing different than all the others who organised the last three – four tournaments. And when it comes to drugged athletes let’s face it already: all the superstars are using illegal substances but the business around them is so profitable that we all pretend that we are blind.
Well, anyway, I hope that there will be some surprises at this tournament and I hope of some good games. For a couple of weeks let’s pretend this tournament is pure as an angel. Right?