Daily Football Show editors Joel Fruci, Hugh Schuitemaker and Brayden May predicted what would happen at the World Cup and things certainly couldn’t have gone differently.
Joel: Germany. Going back to back is not easy but there is just so much quality and depth for Joachim Low to work with; so much so that Leroy Sane was incredibly left out of the final 23. They know how to get it done when it counts.
Joel’s review: I should have known. The champions curse struck again as the Germans disappointed, unceremoniously dumped out at the group stage. A 2-0 defeat against South Korea in Kazan sent them to the bottom of Group F.
Hugh: Brazil. The likes of Neymar and Roberto Firmino are coming off amazing seasons at club level, while Philippe Coutinho can also change a game. With the motivation the team will feel from the failed 2014 campaign, there is a point to prove that will result in another crown for the Selecao.
Hugh’s review: The Selecao showed some of their attacking best at times, but ultimately could not match Belgium’s depth in the quarter-finals.
Brayden: France. The level of depth in the French national team is absolutely insane, you just need to look at the players they have left at home. They fell just short at the Euros on home soil two years ago and that harsh lesson may just spur them on.
Brayden’s review: During the group stage, they were far from their best but when their time come they came to the plate. Pleased to say I got this one right.
Joel: As per usual, Brazil have a squad that can cause some serious damage and they will go far on the world stage again. The Selecao have tough opposition in Group E (Switzerland, Serbia, Costa Rica) but should still be expected to top that pool.
Joel’s review: This one was also a bust. Brazil were not too bad but not good enough, and paid the price against a clinical Belgium in the quarters.
Hugh: I’m going for something of a surprise in Belgium. They have been touted for years, but with a confident Kevin De Bruyne feeding Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku, this could be the tournament where we see the best from Roberto Martinez’s men.
Hugh’s review: Many wanted to see Belgium play in the final, but few would complain of their overall campaign in Russia – which was ended by the eventual champions.
Brayden: Germany were on the top of the world four years ago but this time around they are going to fall just short. But they are just a good as chance as anyone of winning the whole thing.
Brayden’s review: If I had of been told Germany would leave after just three matches I would have thought you were mad.
Joel: Iran will do Asia proud and push the envelope in the hugely challenging Group B, alongside Morocco, Spain and Portugal. They breezed through AFC qualifying and coach Carlos Queiroz has the benefit of continuity in the top job for seven years.
Joel’s review: They did do Asia proud to a degree but were not able to crack the supremely challenging Group B. Greater proficiency in front of goal could have delivered victory against Portugal.
Hugh: Croatia have a team full of names that have impressed domestically this season and apart from Argentina, face winnable fixtures against Nigeria and Iceland. If the attackers can build confidence in the group stage, then they can cause upsets deep in the tournament.
Hugh’s review: On point – the Croatians exceeded any expectations by battling their way to the final.
Brayden: Sadio Mane is a talented player who we often get to enjoy on a weekly basis in the Premier League. On the back of a successful season, he will lead Senegal to a knockout stage berth.
Brayden’s review: Oh so close to a knockout stage berth denied only by fair play. Very stiff.
Joel: On paper, Belgium have one of the best squads at the tournament and should go far, as they were expected to do in Brazil four years ago. But this time around Roberto Martinez’s side is not even guaranteed to go through alongside England and the unbeaten Africans Tunisia. Not convinced.
Joel’s review: Wrong again… Belgium reached the semi-finals before being eliminated by eventual champions France, and won the third-place play-off. Anything but a disappointment.
Hugh: Spain. There has been little progression in the starting XI since their 2010 crown and a lot will hinge on the first match with Portugal. La Furia Roja’s confidence will be rattled early.
Hugh’s review: They might not have been the biggest disappointment, yet Spain provided few memorable moments in this World Cup.
Brayden: It seems an easy out, but England often let their supporters down. While expectations are not too high, they do have a talented squad, and I would not be surprised if they do not even progress to the knockout rounds.
Brayden’s review: The Three Lions surprise made me look a bit stupid. What a fantastic tournament.
Joel: Antoine Griezmann will be world football’s next €100 million man and looks ready to prove it to everyone. The Atletico Madrid star has been in imperious form for both France and the Rojiblancos.
Joel’s review: Finished second on five behind Harry Kane, who scored six. Most of Griezmann’s goals came from the spot but still, given my track record thus far, I will gladly claim being closer to the pin than Hugh and Brayden!
Hugh: Neymar has no shortage of teammates ready to feed him assists and similar to the Brazil squad as a whole, will want to silence any critics which remain over his transfer to PSG.
Hugh’s review: Neymar hit the net just twice and his time in Russia will more be remembered for his antics on the pitch.
Brayden: Despite facing a difficult test in Group E, Neymar is already banging in the goals prior to the tournament and he will continue to do so in Russia.
Brayden’s review: I think he spent more time rolling around on the floor than anything else.
Joel: If Germany are to claim their second World Cup in a row, their big guns will have to fire and Toni Kroos is exactly that. He was instrumental in another Real Madrid Champions League victory and will convert his form to the global stage.
Joel’s review: Scored a cracker against Sweden but that was as good as it got.
Hugh: Manchester City’s 2017-18 Premier League dominance was led by Kevin De Bruyne and I expect that these efforts will be replicated for Belgium.
Hugh’s review: De Bruyne was an orchestrator of Belgium’s impressive attack, and can reflect upon his efforts with pride.
Brayden: Paul Pogba has always had his price tag at club level questioned and now is his chance to show why Manchester United paid the big bucks. Forget the extravagant hairstyles, this guy is here to play in Russia.
Brayden’s review: Luka Modric was the rightful winner of the award but Pogba was a top performer for the French in Russia.
A Star Is Born
Joel: He has already secured himself a move to Bayern Munich from FC Schalke, but young German star Leon Goretzka will continue his rise as one of the world’s most promising midfield prospects. Everyone will know his name by mid-July.
Joel’s review: Yeah, bad call.
Hugh: We sing his praises everyday in Australia, but Aaron Mooy has shown that he can handle pressure situations with Huddersfield and will leave his mark on the World Cup stage.
Hugh’s review: This clearly was not a well thought out prediction.
Brayden: Serbia’s Serge Milinkovic-Savic is already being linked with Europe’s biggest club and this tournament will only see his price tag grow. His line of potential suitors may be as long as Russia’s east-to-west border by the time the final whistle sounds on the World Cup.
Brayden’s review: Failed to set the world alight during his nation’s matches but still has plenty of time on his side.
Joel: “Kazan renamed to Karzani as Aussie starlet shocks France”
Yep. He really is going to nutmeg Pogba.
Joel’s review: Didn’t happen this time around but count on it for Qarzani 2022.
Hugh: “Roosia 2018”
I went there.
Hugh’s review: Our results showed that there is still a lot of development needed to compete on the world stage.
Brayden: “Socceroos stun the world, again”
We were given very little hope in 2006 and it would be amazing to reminisce similar memories.
Brayden’s review: Not what we wanted but there is plenty of positives going forward.