Wild predictions with 100 days until the 2018 World Cup

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With 100 days to go until the 2018 World Cup kicks off in Russia, let’s have a little fun in imagining what will play out.

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Below are are some wild predictions for the tournament which runs from June 14 to July 15.

Have your go in the comments section below too.

This video should get you in the mood.


    1. England will actually make the latter stages of the tournament: Gareth Southgate‘s youngsters will shake off the huge pressure on their shoulders and make it to the semifinals, then lose on penalty kicks… to Germany… Again.
    2. Neymar fails to shake off the rust and doesn’t score a single goal as Brazil crash out of the tournament in the last 16
    3. Germany win the entire tournament without conceding a goal and score 20 goals along the way (actually, this isn’t too outlandish…)
    4. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo both score eight goals in the group stage and meet each other in the quarterfinals. They each score a hat trick in the quarterfinal, then Argentina win on penalty kicks to make the semifinals. Messi and Ronaldo shake hands and then go their separate ways for the final time on the international stage. Emotions.
    5. Panama are the new sweethearts as Roman Torres scores a late winner against Tunisia to knock Belgium out of the World Cup. He removes his shirt, swings it around his head and swigs on a fans beer in the stand. Beer swigging goal celebrations become a staple of the World Cup tournament and are now known as “doing a Roman”
    6. Mexico’s Hirving “Chucky” Lozano wins the Young Player of the Tournament award and Mexico make it to the last eight, with El Tri’s newest star sealing a move to Manchester United.
    7. Iceland once again stun everyone and reach the knockout rounds in their first-ever World Cup. But, like the vuvuzela and the the ticker tape from the 1978 World Cup, the Viking thunderclap gets old… Fast.
    8. Paul Pogba is not a guaranteed starter for France and loses it with Didier Deschamps before being sent home from the tournament a la Nicolas Anelka in 2010
    9. On the eve of the tournament, Luis Suarez reveals his sponsorship deal with a company which makes the Russian equivalent of beef jerky. Slogan: “If you’re feeling peckish and fancy a nibble, grab a bag of концы”
    10. Egypt make it out of the group stage of the World Cup but lose to Spain in the last 16. Neutrals everywhere are devastated as Mohamed Salah has to settle with scoring just five goals in the tournament

Nothing to separate Portland and 10-man LAFC

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There was entertainment value in Los Angeles FC’s potential playoff preview with the Portland Timbers on Sunday in the City of Angels, but all that arrived was a scoreless draw.

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Both Giovani Savarese’s Timbers and Bob Bradley‘s nickname-free expansion club remain in the West’s Top Four. PLAFC remains unbeaten at home during their maiden voyage through Major League Soccer.

Adama Diomande came close for the hosts, who finished with 10-men when Lee Nguyen went studs-up on Sebastian Blanco‘s thigh for a pretty easy red card (though it took some time for Silviu Petrescu to produce the red).

VIDEO: France stars projected onto Arc de Triomphe

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If France’s players had any doubt about the level of import their World Cup title had back home, it was erased when their photos were projected onto one of the most celebrated monuments in the world.

The photos of Hugo Lloris, Paul Pogba, Antoine Griezmann, and company made their way onto the Arc de Triomphe on Sunday, hours after France defeated Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup Final.

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The Arc de Triomphe honors those who died in the French Revolution and early 19th century wars, and sits above France’s Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from World War I.

How humbling must it be for those players to grace such a heavy monument (both in weight and substance).

Dalic: In one day, Croatia went from lucky to unlucky

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Ante Cacic’s Croatia was on pace to miss out on the World Cup.

Zlatko Dalic’s Croatia rallied the troops to second place in their qualifying group, a playoff defeat of Greece, and a run to the World Cup Final.

Pretty decent stuff.

[ MORE: FIFA awards Golden Ball, Golden Glove ]

And surely the 51-year-old will reflect on that, probably even this evening, but he’s more focused on a letdown after Sunday’s 4-2 loss to highly-favored France.

Key to the match was a penalty awarded to France when a partially-obscured Mario Mandzukic handled a ball inside the 18, leading to Antoine Griezmann’s pivotal goal.

The PK was awarded via VAR, and France went up 2-1 en route to a three-goal lead. From the AFP:

“I never comment on referees but in a World Cup final you do not give such a penalty,” said Dalic.

“It in no way diminishes France’s win. We were a bit unlucky. Maybe in the first six games we were favored by luck and today we weren’t.

“I have to congratulate my players. Maybe today we played our best game at these championships. Against such a strong side as France you must not make mistakes. We are a bit sad but we must also be proud of what we’ve done.”

Croatia had two-thirds of the ball and doubled France’s shot attempts, and Dalic isn’t the least bit controversial in wondering whether the match is much different if that penalty goes unawarded by referee Nestor Pitana.

Atlanta comes back to draw 10-man Seattle (video)

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A scrappy if not downright venomous affair between the lowly Seattle Sounders and high-flying Atlanta United ended in a 1-1 draw in Georgia on Sunday.

The Sounders went ahead through a Nicolas Lodeiro penalty kick, awarded via VAR a la this morning’s World Cup Final, but Atlanta leveled the score with a highlight which show every bit of the game story.

[ MORE: FIFA awards Golden Ball, Golden Glove ]

Just check Josef Martinez’s barking at Stefan Frei, who made an uncharacteristic error on the play, after his 19th goal of the season (Nice cross, Julian Gressel).

Martinez needs nine more goals to break the MLS single season record, and he has 13 games to score them.

Jordan McCrary was sent off for Seattle in the 63rd minute for a second yellow, but Seattle navigated the final half hour or so to scoop up an unlikely point.

Atlanta still sits first with its earned point but opens the door for New York City FC to reach the top of the table when it plays its match-in-hand, while Seattle is now 11 points back of the West’s final playoff spot.