Sat | Aug 18, 2018

Kelly's World | And the World Cup 2018 winner will be ...

Published:Monday | June 11, 2018 | 12:00 AM

Ok folks, time to get out your pencils and pens cause Daviot, the football sage, is going to predict the Russia 2018 World Cup.

Now admittedly, my record in predicting the World Cup hasn't always worked out.

In fact, it rarely works out. The closest I came to predicting a winner was in 2010 when I said The Netherlands would win in South Africa.

Alas, Iker Casillas, Andres Iniesta and the rest of the Spanish team desired to conspire against me.

Thing is, people will use all types of mathematics and analytics to make their predictions. Yours truly does a little of that, but for the most part, I go with my gut.

Mind you, it hasn't predicted a winner (yet). But hope springs eternal.

But I have a good feeling about my picks this year. I am used to going with sentiment at some point in my predictions.

That includes four years ago, when my gut told me Brazil couldn't handle the pressure at home. But I still wrote they would win.

In my defence, I still wouldn't have picked Germany. I might have gone with Argentina. So I still would have been wrong.

Anyway, this year, I am going to make my predictions completely devoid of emotion. So here goes with my predictions (gulp).

 

EASY QUALIFYING

 

First of all, Brazil won't win this time either. Mind you, it's my team. But I don't like to pick a team that eased through qualifying and looks unbeatable in the lead-up to the tournament.

As for the other favourites? Germany won't repeat (defence nuh all that good), France won't win (no guts when things get tough) and Argentina will look nice at times, but ultimately won't get it right.

Best CONCACAF team: That's a no-brainer. Mexico is in the best position to go to the second round (which is where they will stop). Panama can't score and Costa Rica, quarterfinalists last time out, are four years older (the bulk of the squad anyway), and they won't take anyone by surprise this time.

Best African team: Senegal. I don't expect any of the teams to set the World Cup alight. Egypt's star baller is not 100 per cent (curse on you, Sergio Ramos), Tunisia and Morocco are solid defensive teams but lack goals, and Nigeria is too schizophrenic.

Highly touted team that will disappoint most: Belgium. The Red Devils have all the talent but people are expecting breathtaking performances every game. Nah go happen.

Team that will excite: Peru. The South Americans will delight with their quick movement and never-say-die attitude. They won't reach the quarterfinals ,but they'll win new fans.

So that leaves the winner of World Cup 2018. If you've been following the favourites I've mentioned, then you'll realise I left one out. And no, it's not Portugal.

As much as I don't really like them, I think Spain has the right balance of style, grit, youth, and experience.

So there you have it. Head to your nearest betting shop (preferably a legal one) and tell dem a me send yuh. Lata.

Link me at daviot.kelly@gleanerjm.com