What makes a great World Cup? It is sometimes hard to say because having all the right ingredients (in football terms) do not always make the perfect dish. Take, for example, the World Cup held in Italy in 1990. There were plenty of elements that suggested it would be an amazing feast of soccer, not least showcasing a certain Diego Maradona when he was in his prime as a footballer. However, while there were some memorable moments, the tournament is remembered for the fact that it served up turgid football, including a terrible Final match between Argentina and West Germany.
But there are, of course, lots of examples of World Cups that serve up both style and spectacle. France 1998 is a good example. On the pitch, we witnessed the breath-taking skills of Zidane, Rivaldo and Bergkamp, and the goals of Ronaldo, Suker, Vieri, and Batistuta. There was plenty of ‘drama’ too: David Beckham’s infamous red card against Argentina and Ronaldo’s mystery illness before the Final spring to mind. Of course, there was also the amazing atmosphere provided as the host nation, France, won the first World Cup in its history.
Tight betting suggests an unpredictable tournament
So, what can we expect as the tournament unfolds in Russia? The good news is that, from a footballing perspective, there is every reason to believe this will be a vintage World Cup. There is an argument that some nations – France, Germany, Brazil, and Belgium – are bringing their best squads in a generation. Indeed, the latest online betting from Mr. Green shows a tight market between Brazil (4/1), Germany (9/2), Spain (6/1) and France (13/2), but the fact that we have other nations, such as Argentina (9/1) and Belgium (11/1), in with a shout should serve the tournament well in terms of unpredictability.
Of course, Russia – a cool 40/1 with Mr. Green to match France’s feat of winning as hosts – have a role to play in making the tournament a good one. Moscow alone is expected to see up to one million visitors during the World Cup, but fans will also be keen to check out some of the other great cities hosting World Cup games with lots of things to do. You can be sure that the people of Russia will be keen to match previous hosts in providing a welcoming atmosphere to all the fans making the trip.
2018 World Cup could be the farewell party for modern greats of the game
Will having talented teams and a wonderful welcoming atmosphere mean that in years to come we will look back at Russia 2018 as one of the great World Cups? Only time will tell, but there are several factors that suggest this World Cup will be momentous.
Consider the fact that it might be the last time we see Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo at a major international tournament. Or, think about how there is a sense of fate around Belgium and its golden generation of players. Perhaps the story will be told from Brazil’s perspective? We will see a team looking for redemption after the 7-1 national humiliation at the hands of Germany at the last World Cup.
It’s not really possible to predict if an upcoming World Cup will be ‘good’ or ‘bad’, but Russia 2018 has all the elements to make the former option a reality. It’s just up to the teams, fans, and people of Russia to do their part. We will see what happens over the next few weeks but I hope it will be the World Cup that we will remember for years to come!