Football Fever

This year sees thirty two countries compete in the biggest tournament of the year, but who will be crowned the 2018 winners?

Excitement is building for the 2018 football frenzy, with all 32 teams now confirmed for the next edition of football’s showpiece event. But which country is going to be the one that will contest football’s top prize this year. Millions of fans across the globe will be on the edge of their seats as they watch some of the most nail biting matches of the tournament.

We take a look at some of the nations taking part.

Australia is on its fifth appearance, but unfortunately its best appearance is round 16 in 2006. Known as the Socceroos, its coach is Bert van Marwijk who was appointed in January this year. He led the Netherlands to the 2010 final.

Argentina has a proven track record with 16 first stage appearances, five semi-finals, five finals and two titles. Definitely one to watch.

Belgium booked its place in the competition after finishing top of European qualifying Group H. Its best achievement was fourth in 1986.

Brazil has five championship titles to its name and is always the team to beat. Can it do well again this year?

Columbia – its star player is golden boot winner at Brazil 2014, James Rodriguez, who will hope to score more goals for his country.

Costa Rica reached the quarter finals in 2014, with its key player Bryan Ruiz being instrumental in getting the team to that stage.

Croatia booked its spot, thanks to a 4-1 aggregate play-off win over Greece having finished second in Europe’s Group 1.

Denmark’s play-off hero Christian Erikson was an inspired form through the team’s qualifying.

Egypt has only had two appearances in the tournament in 1934 and 1990.

England is one everyone will be watching. Despite numerous appearances over the years and being knocked out at various stages, it has only won once in 1966. Fingers’ crossed this will be the year.

Germany is probably one of the most successful teams, having won the title four times. Joachim Low has been its long-term coach since 2006 and has led the team to tremendous success.

Iceland. This will the first time ever for the country to compete in a global tournament. Its coach Heimir Hallgrimsson is a former dentist. Iceland is the smallest country by population ever to qualify.

IR Iran became the first team from Asian Football Confederation (AFC) to book its place.

Japan has had five appearances at the first stage. Its veteran coach has experience of managing tournaments with the Men’s Olympic Football Tournament in Atlanta in 1996.

Korea Republic is Asia’s most successful tournament nation. It has featured in nine events, reaching the semi-finals on home soil in 2002.

Mexico reached the quarter finals twice in 1970 and 1986. Its all time leading goal scorer, Javier Hernadez appeared at both South Africa in 2010 and Brazil in 2014.

Panama. Coach Hernan Dario Gomez has made history by leading Panama to its first international tournament.

Peru has reached the quarter finals on two occasions, 1970 and 1978. Thirty three year old Jefferson Farfan is one of its oldest players but has still proved himself to be as important as ever during qualifying.

Russia. As hosts of the tournament it qualified automatically. Its coach is a former USSR and Russia international goalkeeper. Russia’s star player is six-time title winner Akinfeer who has more than 100 caps for his country.

Senegal has had a 16 year absence from the major event, last appearing in 2002, where it reached the quarter finals in its debut appearance.

Switzerland’s coach Vladimir Petkovic was born in Bosnia and will be making his debut this year. He has had success with the team since taking over La Nati after taking part in 2014.

Uruguay has been champions two times over, albeit in 1930 and 1950. Luis Suarez is a prolific striker for the club and Uruguay’s all-time leading goal scorer.

While the bookies might have their favourites to win, the tournament promises to have the nation gripped with football fever.



Tedd Walmsley

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Tedd Walmsley managing director of Live Magazines shares his views on the latest topics in media.

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