All eyes on Qatar for the greatest show on earth
The greatest sporting spectacle on earth, the FIFA World Cup, gets underway on Sunday evening, as hosts Qatar take on Ecuador in the opening match.
As far as curtain-raisers go, it’s hardly one to get the pulses racing!
However, once the tournament gets going and the superstars of the game enter the fray, excitement will surely build.
Will Ronaldo roar with delight, can Messi make it all the way or is it the Samaba Boys turn to dance to victory?
Voice Sport desk give their thoughts on how they see the WC going…
This has been the strangest build-up to a World Cup ever and so I wouldn’t be surprised if Qatar make it to the last eight.
It’s a pity the whole thing has been turned into some sort of a campaign by the western countries, who seem unprepared to respect Qatar’s beliefs.
For me this is the World Cup that will finally settle the Messi/Ronaldo debate. The little Argentinean will show his class and bag the only trophy that has eluded him so far.
Good luck to The Three Lions as well!
Not that I’m ever excited by the World Cup, I much prefer AFCON. I have always supported England and will be looking forward to seeing how our manager Gareth Southgate will be planning his game.
I have a soft spot for England because it includes many players from my team, Manchester United. We need to collect 3 points in our first match on Monday against Iran so that it gives us confidence. All the best Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, Marcus Rashford and team Three Lions. Let’s bring it home!
Normally, the World Cup brings excitement worldwide. Sadly, this one seems to lack the x-factor – perhaps it’s because it was moved from its usual calendar, between June and July?
I think Argentina will go all the way, even though they struggled in the 2018 edition, crashing out in the Round of 16. Since then, they have gone back to the drawing board and have come back stronger, which showed in their 2021 Copa America success.
Their talisman, Lionel Messi has been in great form for his club, Paris Saint-German (PSG) and I expect him to take the tournament by storm in what, at 35, is surely his last World Cup. Besides Messi, big-names such as Paulo Dybala, Lautaro Martinez, Angel Di Maria, and Julian Alvarez will have to step up.
However, I will not rule out: Brazil, England, Germany, France or Portugal – they all have the quality to surprise Argentina.
Honestly, I’m not looking forward to the World Cup because it’s taking place under such strange circumstances. It lacks the usual vibe since it has been clouded by issues of human rights abuse on immigrant workers engaged to work on the country’s stadia.
Also, the laws of Qatar seem to be a major challenge to many of the fans who are travelling to the Middle East for the one-month football showpiece. With so many players out injured the timing is also terrible.
As for the football, I do believe Brazil will win the Cup. They are ranked number one in the world for a reason and have been in fine form of late, going undefeated throughout their qualification campaign, winning 14 and drawing three games.
Though I don’t want to call it a star-studded side they have a good squad and are a team with class and talent across most of its departments. Their attack boasts Vinicius Junior, Neymar, and Gabriel Jesus who have all been performing well for their respective clubs and will be key to Brazil’s chances of success.
They last tasted WC glory back in 2002 – that’s far too long for such a football mad nation.
Inspired by the return of Christian Eriksen, I expect Denmark to cause a few shocks and repeat their heroics from Euro 2020, when they made the semi-finals.
I will be supporting Portugal. Ever since I first watched the World Cup back in 2010, I have been a fan of Portugal.
My love for Christiano Ronaldo was the driving force behind this. However, this year things will be different and CR7 won’t be the sole reason I support the team.
I have faith in Fernando Santos’ squad and I’m eager to watch guys like Bernado Silva and Bruno Fernandes. Silva has been amazing for Man City and I tip him to be the standout player because of his high technical ability, passing range, good vision and his lethal left foot.
The defending AFCON Champions, Senegal, will be my choice out of the five African countries on show.
I believe Wales, who last qualified for the World Cup in 1958 can spring a surprise but they will be relying solely on Gareth Bale.
As a proud Englishman I have to back the Three Lions to go all the way.
With Harry Kane leading the line, you’ve always got a chance of scoring no matter the opponent. I expect Jude Bellingham to come of age in Qatar and really make his mark.
There are concerns over our defence, however, with both Pickford and Maguire prone to howlers. Hopefully it will be the rock solid Maguire from four years ago who turns up and not the donkey whose been playing for Man U recently!
England’s opening game is against Iran, who should prove easy pickings (famous last words, I know!) and allow Gareth Southgate’s side to build some momentum for the rest of the tournament.
From there you just never know; dare to dream boys!