The readers of this online sports blog/column must have been wondering why I have decided to choose this headline: “THE MIDDLE WEIGHT WORLD CUP”.
Some times in the early hours of Monday while compiling facts and suitable information for this column, I had to jettison an earlier column I was about writing for this because I thought this piece will make an interesting reading for my teeming readers’ delight who are already in the world cup mood.
Sweden was the host of the 1958 World Cup, and of course they eventually navigate their way to the final where they got to meet one of the emerging super powers in world football, Brazil. Indeed, they got trounced 5.2 by the selecao, who finally announced themselves on the world stage as World Champions.
But, the essence of this piece is to elaborate and analyze the 20 years interval where a fresh nation who had never won the world cup get to win same in a world cup year ending with the numerical number 8.
In other words, Brazil had won its first world cup in 1958 by beating host nation, Sweden in the final. However, 20 years after, that is 1978, another host nation Argentina played in the final against European power house, Holland and defeated the oranje 3-1 to win its first world cup title.
Similarly, another 20 years came calling when France hosted the world cup in 1998. The le bleus with their vociferous home support annihilated Brazil 3-0 in the final to win its maiden world title.
And now with another 20 years down the line, my crystal ball seems to inform me that the host nation of the 2018 World Cup, Russia, might get to play in the final against a national team that had never won the world cup.
Furthermore, if I may get to take a cursory look, and critically analyze teams that falls within this category of playing in this summer’s world cup final (who had not won the world cup), and probably with the realistic chance of winning it, then I might be looking at middle weight teams like Portugal, Sweden, Belgium, Poland, or perhaps Croatia who have achieved relative success at past world cup finals by getting to the semi-final.
Though, Russia is the host of the 2018 World cup, but, available stats concerning it football pedigree does not inspire confidence nor placed them as one of the book maker’s favorite to go all the way. Of recent, if results of tune-up matches played by Russia in preparation for the world cup is anything to go by, they might exit the World Cup at the group stage. It therefore implies that Russian coach, Stanislav Cherchesov must do something different and knock his boys into shape to face big guns at the world cup. In football anything can happen and, so if Russia gets past the group stage, decision its opponents at the knock out rounds en route to the final, then they must have eventually helped to accentuate my football hypothesis of having another host nation play in the World Cup final- and perhaps with the fighters’ chance of winning the world cup after another 20 years interval.
On the other hand, Belgium, Portugal Poland, Sweden and Croatia are the middle weight teams that could still go ahead to win this summer’s world cup. And interestingly too, some of these aforementioned teams are in a rich vein of form that could actually lock things down against traditional world cup teams like Brazil, Germany, Argentina, France and Spain. In similar vein, Belgium and Portugal has a team full of talents that could go as far as winning this summer’s world cup. More so, this may well be the last opportunity for Portugal captain and talisman, Cristiano Ronaldo to win the world cup because he might have past his prime before the next world cup in Qatar 2022 owing to age or lost of form. The Belgium national team could also go ahead to win the World Cup, if the plethora of world class players at its disposal could come to the party.
Furthermore, this is not to take anything away from Poland Croatia and Sweden whom I think does not have what it takes to win this summer’s world cup.
For readers of this column, please be reminded that we should not take anything away from traditional world cup teams and former world cup winners – and also undermine the possibility of any of the following big guns winning the 2018 world cup: Germany, France, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Spain. They have the pedigree and experience to go all the way.
But nevertheless, my postulations as explicitly stated and analyzed, could distort an established order of having these former world champions and favorites to win the Russia 2018 World Cup falter along the way. Hopes may be dashed, and expectations may not be met for those that may place their bet either on Brazil, Germany, Spain, Uruguay, Argentina and France to win the 2018 world cup in Russia.
In fact, I look into my crystal ball again, and foresee elements of surprises and shocking results at the fast approaching world cup.
All the same, the foregoing are mere hypothesis that is based on empirical proof, and if anything happens in the contrary, then the 20 years truncated interval of having a new world cup champions emerged would be defiled, and the hypothesis therefore becomes irrelevant and untenable.