Racism, fan violence, VAR controversy? Think about how you would want to be served the World Cup excitement.
The four years wait comes to an end in few hours and all football enthusiast would be blessed with the visual delight of 32 teams, 64 matches – and one game in the land of Russia.
Indeed finishing touches are all be it concluded and all plans meticulously mapped out, expectations rising and some, who believe in the existence of the Supreme Being in the game of football are probably in the consultation mode with him.
Well! No matter what happens (except the world comes to an end), there would be one champion, one officially stand out performer, positively and negatively indescribable moments, unbelievable skills and mistakes, unexpected flops and ultimately, memories.
It is indeed a thing of regularity for pundits and fans alike to have something to look forward to and this Mundial hasn’t fallen short by any means. On the lips of everyone not living in mars or in a cave has been who snatches the crown from the Portuguese wonder man Cristiano Ronaldo, or will he just retain it winning the world’s best footballer for the sixth time, going one step ahead of the Lionel Messi, or will Mo Salah put an end to the Messi-CR7 duopoly we’ve been witnessing in the last 10 years
Well! Steering the wheels back on track, who will probably emerge as the most valuable player of the tournament? Default gaze turn to the three of the most outstanding footballers over the course of the regular season aforementioned, but who looks away from the Brazilian star Neyymar – who has in time pulled off from the doctor’s table and back on the pitch and greeted us with two magical goals in the Le Selecao 4-0 thumping of Australia last Sunday? Definitely not me.
Casting our mind back to the finals of the champion’s league when Sergio the sergeant ramous ensured the early shower for Mohamed Salah, Egyptians and by extension Africans had their hearts in their mouths as uncertainty over Salah’s fitness for the world cup hugged the headlines. As the Egyptian’s medical team continue to sweat it out over his fitness, you can rest assured that the Mundial won’t wait for Salah, so coming to the world cup half fit, and playing in an under armed team I probably won’t put my money on Salah to dazzle the world in Russia.
Another sure candidate for the coveted individual award is Cristiano Ronaldo. All be it 33 years of age, Ronaldo continues to prove to us that the corner of the saying (the older the wine the better) wasn’t drunk. But to many and me inclusive, feel Ronaldo although came good at the latter part of the season but wasn’t close to being the Ronaldo of old. Being in a team relatively weak in comparison to the bookmakers’ favourites, it’s difficult to see Ronaldo light up the world in Russia but put it passed him, at your own peril.
Shifting our attention to the Argentinian Lionel Messi, after a mixed season that saw the five time Ballon d’Or winner won a domestic double but crashed out of the Champions League in the quarter final – making it the third time in a row he would be watching the Champions League final in the comfort of maybe his living room, Messi who has not enjoyed success with his national team will be hoping to motivate his team to victory in Russia. With his ability and the strength of his team on paper, we might just be in for a Messi show at Russia.
Role the carpet for the young king Neymar! (A player so good that Barcelona had to sign him and his family). Though his season was cut short when he suffered a broken metatarsal during a Ligue 1 game in February, the so called new face of Brazilian football seems to be back, and ready to fire in Russia. With his magical touches, youthful exuberance, intelligence and an excellent team it’s difficult putting anything passed the young Brazilian who is hoping to carry the country on his young shoulders and march majestically to the trophy.
Outside chances for Eden hazard, EPL sensation Harry Kane, pep’s Golding boy Kelvin de Bruyne or can it just be Mikel Obi?
Most definitely, putting into cognizance the Russian political climate, rampant racial discrimination and the introduction of the VAR, the world cup in Russia won’t be one to erase from our memories anytime soon, it would be fascinating to see how the ugly racial chants would be curved, how the VAR will perform and how the players responds or reacts to racial discrimination.
Who then carts home the trophy? The Germans would be up and about hoping to defend their title they won in 2014, Brazil will be all out to make a statement not forgetting the 7 nil bashing from the Germans in their last World Cup outing, Messi hoping to win his first major title with the Albiceleste of Argentina, France will be willing to make their star studded side count for something, Spain wishing to bring their champagne football on the dance floor and the dark horses Belgium would be keen on pulling off a surprise.
With almost all competitions, (only one winner emerges) so would it be the efficient Germans or the stylish Brazilians, or the Messi driven Argentines, or star studded French, or fluid Spanish, or the probably under rated Belgians. Permit me to snick in the Super Eagles. My money would be on a Germany Brazil final and maybe Brazil nicking it.
No matter the outcome, one thing is certain, excitement would be served on a platter, heart raising, nerve cracking, adrenaline pumping moments would be unending. So seat back and enjoy the world cup is upon us. Stay woke!!