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Predictions for 2018 World Cup

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It is time to make our 100 percent correct  outrageous predictions for the 2018 World Cup.

[ MORE: Latest 2018 World Cup news ] 

Below is a look at how each of our writers thinks the entire tournament will pan out. We encourage you to also have a crack at this in the comments section below.

[ LIVE: World Cup scores ] 

We will reset and release our updated predictions for the knockout rounds after the group stage ends, but for now, this is what we we are going with…

Click here for live and on demand coverage of the World Cup online and via the NBC Sports App.


JOE PRINCE-WRIGHT

Group A
1. Uruguay
2. Egypt
3. Russia
4. Saudi Arabia

Group B
1. Spain
2. Portugal
3. Morocco
4. Iran

Group C
1. Denmark
2. France
3. Peru
4. Australia

Group D
1. Argentina
2. Croatia
3. Iceland
4. Nigeria

Group E
1. Brazil
2. Serbia
3. Costa Rica
4. Switzerland

Group F
1. Germany
2. Sweden
3. Mexico
4. South Korea

Group G
1. Belgium
2. England
3. Tunisia
4. Panama

Group H
1. Poland
2. Senegal
3. Colombia
4. Japan

Round of 16
Portugal beat Uruguay
Denmark beat Croatia
Brazil beat Sweden
Senegal beat Belgium
Spain beat Egypt
France beat Argentina
Germany beat Serbia
England beat Poland

Quarterfinals
Portugal beat Denmark
Brazil beat Senegal
Spain beat France
Germany beat England

Semifinals
Brazil beat Portugal
Spain beat Germany

Third-place match
Germany beat Portugal

Final
Brazil to beat Spain


NICK MENDOLA

Group A
1. Uruguay 
2. Russia
3. Egypt
4. Saudi Arabia

Group B

1. Spain
2. Morocco
3. Portugal
4. Iran

Group C

1. France
2. Peru
3. Denmark
4. Australia

Group D

1. Argentina
2. Croatia
3. Nigeria
4. Iceland

Group E

1. Brazil
2. Serbia
3. Costa Rica
4. Switzerland

Group F

1. Germany
2. Mexico
3. South Korea
4. Sweden

Group G

1. Belgium
2. England
3. Tunisia
4. Panama

Group H

1. Senegal
2. Poland
3. Colombia
4. Japan

Round of 16
Morocco beat Uruguay
France beat Croatia
Brazil beat Mexico
Belgium beat Poland
Spain beat Russia
Argentina beat Peru
Germany beat Serbia
Senegal beat England

Quarterfinals
France beat Morocco
Brazil beat Belgium
Spain beat Argentina
Germany beat Senegal

Semifinals
Brazil beat France
Germany beat Spain

Third-place match
Spain beat France

Final
Germany beat Brazil


KYLE BONN

Group A

1. Uruguay
2. Egypt
3. Saudi Arabia
4. Russia
Group B
1. Spain
2. Portugal
3. Morocco
4. Iran
Group C
1. France
2. Peru
3. Denmark
4. Australia
Group D
1. Argentina
2. Nigeria
3. Iceland
4. Croatia
Group E
1. Brazil
2. Switzerland
3. Costa Rica
4. Serbia
Group F
1. Germany
2. Mexico
3. Sweden
4. South Korea
Group G
1. England
2. Belgium
3. Panama
4. Tunisia
Group H
1. Colombia
2. Poland
3. Japan
4. Senegal
Round of 16
Portugal beat Uruguay
France beat Nigeria
Brazil beat Mexico
England beat Poland
Spain beat Egypt
Peru beat Argentina
Germany beat Switzerland
Belgium beat Colombia
Quarterfinals
France beat Portugal
Brazil beat England
Spain beat Peru
Germany beat Belgium
Semifinals
Brazil beat France
Germany beat Spain
Third-place match
Spain beat France
Final
Germany beat Brazil

ANDY EDWARDS

Group A
1. Uruguay
2. Russia
3. Egypt
4. Saudi Arabia

Group B
1. Spain
2. Portugal
3. Iran
4. Morocco

Group C
1. France
2. Peru
3. Denmark
4. Australia

Group D
1. Croatia
2. Argentina
3. Nigeria
4. Iceland

Group E
1. Brazil
2. Switzerland
3. Costa Rica
4. Serbia

Group F
1. Germany
2. Mexico
3. South Korea
4. Sweden

Group G
1. England
2. Belgium
3. Tunisia
4. Panama

Group H

1. Colombia
2. Japan
3. Senegal
4. Poland

Round of 16
Spain beat Russia
France beat Argentina
Croatia beat Peru
Brazil beat Mexico
Germany beat Switzerland
England beat Japan
Belgium beat Colombia

Quarterfinals

France beat Uruguay
Brazil beat England
Spain beat Croatia
Germany beat Belgium

Semifinals
France beat Brazil
Spain beat Germany

Third-place match
Germany beat Brazil

Final
Spain beat France


MATT REED

Group A

1. Uruguay
2. Egypt
3. Russia
4. Saudi Arabia

Group B

1. Spain
2. Portugal
3. Morocco
4. Iran

Group C

1. France
2. Peru
3. Denmark
4. Australia

Group D

1. Argentina
2. Croatia
3. Nigeria
4. Iceland

Group E

1. Brazil
2. Costa Rica
3. Serbia
4. Switzerland

Group F

1. Germany
2. Mexico
3. Sweden
4. South Korea

Group G

1. Belgium
2. England
3. Tunisia
4. Panama

Group H

1. Colombia
2. Senegal
3. Poland
4. Japan

Round of 16
Portugal beat Uruguay
France beat Croatia
Brazil beat Mexico
Belgium beat Senegal
Spain beat Egypt
Argentina beat Peru
Germany beat Costa Rica
Colombia beat England

Quarterfinals
Spain beat Argentina
Germany beat Colombia
France beat Portugal
Belgium beat Brazil

Semifinals
Spain defeats Germany
Belgium defeats France

Third-place match
France defeats Germany

Final
Spain defeats Belgium


DAN KARELL

Group A

1. Uruguay
2. Egypt

3. Russia
4. Saudi Arabia

Group B

1. Spain
2. Morocco
3. Portugal
4. Iran

Group C

1. France
2. Peru
3. Denmark
4. Australia

Group D

1. Croatia
2. Nigeria
3. Argentina
4. Iceland

Group E

1. Brazil
2. Costa Rica
3. Switzerland
4. Serbia

Group F

1. Germany
2. Mexico
3. Sweden
4. South Korea

Group G

1. Belgium
2. England
3. Panama
4. Tunisia

Group H

1. Colombia
2. Poland
3. Senegal
4. Japan

Round of 16
Uruguay beat Morocco
France beat Nigeria
Brazil beat Mexico
Belgium beat Poland
Spain beat Egypt
Croatia beat Denmark
Germany beat Costa Rica
England beat Colombia

Quarterfinals
Uruguay beat France
Brazil beat Belgium
Spain beat Croatia
Germany beat England

Semifinals
Brazil beat Uruguay
Germany beat Spain

Third-place match
Spain beat Uruguay

Final
Brazil beat Germany

PSG vs. Dijon among 5 weekend French league games postponed

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PARIS (AP) For the second straight weekend, Ligue 1 leader Paris Saint-Germain will not play after several games were postponed at the request of authorities.

PSG’s match at Dijon on Saturday had initially been maintained, but it was among five weekend games postponed on Thursday after six matches were called off last weekend.

[ MORE: Europa League wrap ]

Saturday’s match between Amiens and Angers, as well as Sunday’s Brittany derby between Guingamp and Rennes, and Marseille’s home game against Bordeaux, will be played at a later date.

The French league said the reason for the postponements is because police forces are being stretched.

Saturday’s match between Nantes and Montpellier has also been postponed, and the match between Caen and Toulouse will take place on Tuesday.

Nice’s home game against Saint-Etienne – initially set for Friday and then postponed – will go ahead on Sunday.

It leaves Reims vs. Strasbourg as the only match left for Saturday, and Nimes vs. Lille and Lyon vs. Monaco are the only games still scheduled for Sunday.

Strasbourg is in mourning after a deadly Christmas market attack in the city on Tuesday night. A minute’s silence will be held at all soccer stadiums in France’s first and second divisions this weekend in memory of the victims and their families.

The six matches were postponed last week amid security concerns about anti-government protests. Those six matches are rescheduled for Jan. 15-16.

PSG will play its match against Montpellier, rescheduled from last weekend, on Jan. 15, but it may now be pushed back to February since it clashes with PSG’s planned winter training camp in Qatar, home to club owner QSI.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Top Premier League storylines for Week 17

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The Premier League begins a run of 50 matches in 18 days when Man City hosts Everton to kick off Week 17 on Saturday morning.

[ MORE: Europa League wrap ]

That’s a storyline in itself, but here are five we’re closely monitoring this weekend.


You don’t need a storyline when the Red Devils head to Anfield
Liverpool vs. Manchester United, 11 a.m. ET on NBCSN 
[ STREAM ]

This one is easy to put in the win column for the in-form Reds against mercurial Manchester United, but be careful: When Jose Mourinho’s Red Devils hit matches like this, they tend to find something out of nothing.

League disappointment to continue for someone at the Etihad Stadium
Man City vs. Everton, 8:30 a.m. ET Sunday on NBCSN
 [ STREAM ]

The champs are no longer unbeaten in league play following a loss at Chelsea, while the visitors rescued a point against visiting Watford. Neither will want to drop points again on the bounce, and Everton could slip behind West Ham with a loss.

West Ham looks to continue its table surge with London Derby
Fulham vs. West Ham United, 12:30 a.m. ET on NBC STREAM ]

Speaking of the Irons, they very much have a chance to continue a run into contention for fifth or sixth. West Ham has won three matches, scoring nine goals, since losing to Man City, and a forgiving run of fixtures continues with Fulham, Watford, Saints, Burnley, and Brighton over the festive season. Could Manuel Pellegrini‘s men be sitting pretty by Jan. 3?

Tottenham aims for third-straight win as hopeful Clarets arrive at Wembley
Spurs vs. Burnley, 10 a.m. ET Saturday on NBCSNSTREAM ]

Sean Dyche‘s Burnley finally picked up its third win of the season with a surprising defeat of Brighton, but going to Tottenham is another story. The Lilywhites are coming off a fine draw at Barcelona to go with two league wins, and the North London Derby loss can be avenged in the League Cup next week. They just cannot overlook the Clarets on Saturday.

Six-point scrap at The John Smith’s Stadium
Huddersfield Town vs. Newcastle Utd, 10 a.m. ET on NBC Sports Gold STREAM ]

The Terriers are three points behind the Magpies heading into this one. The way the relegation scrap is shaping up, anything less than three points in December could sting come May.

Europa League field: Who can Chelsea, Arsenal draw?

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There are 32 teams left in the quest for two spots at the Olympic Stadium in Baku, Azerbaijan, one of which will earn an automatic spot in the 2019-20 UEFA Champions League.

[ MORE: Europa League wrap ]

The intrigue in the field took a hit when Rangers and AC Milan failed to advance, meaning there will not be an Old Firm Derby or Milan Derby inside of UEL play.

And Maurizio Sarri‘s last two clubs, Napoli and Chelsea, are seeded for the Round of 32 draw, so they will not meet for at least one more round.

Both Chelsea and Arsenal can draw anyone from the group of unseeded teams, with no English teams in the field. Arsenal-Celtic? Chelsea-Lazio?

Seeded teams
Bayer Leverkusen
Red Bull Salzburg
Zenit Saint-Petersburg
Dinamo Zagreb
Arsenal
Real Betis
Villarreal
Eintracht Frankfurt
Genk
Sevilla
Dynamo Kiev
Chelsea
Napoli
Valencia
Inter Milan
Benfica

Unseeded teams
Zurich
Celtic
Slavia Prague
Fenerbahce
Sporting Lisbon
Olympiacos
Rapid Vienna
Lazio
Malmo
Krasnodar
Rennes
BATE Borisov
Viktoria Plzen
Club Brugge
Shakhtar Donetsk
Galatasaray

Emery praises Arsenal teen: “His personality is very important”

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Unai Emery played the kids in Arsenal’s 1-0 win over Qarabag on Thursday at the Emirates Stadium, as the Gunners claimed the top spot in their group.

[ RECAP: Arsenal 1-0 Qarabag ]

Bukayo Saka, Carl JenkinsonJoe WillockEddie Nketiah, and Zech Medley all got meaningful playing time for the Gunners, and Emery specifically liked Saka (17).

Emery, like Arsene Wenger, believes very much in getting experiencefor his kids.

From The London Evening Standard:

“We have a responsibility to every young player to give them chances to train with us,” Emery told Standard Sport. “We are very demanding of ourselves in his performance. We give them these chances in the games like today when we can do that. They show us positive things in every match.

“Today Saka played with a good performance, with a very big personality. We were speaking at half-time, they were trying one-on-one against the opposition. Not every action was good for us but his personality is very important, continuing in the second half to try to do one-on-ones and break lines with his quality.”

Will anyone have made enough of an impact to get some time in the Premier League? We’ll see, but remember that this Gunners system has sent Reiss Nelson on loan to Hoffenheim.

Also, to put this in perspective: Saka was born six days before Sept. 11, 2001. This class of youngster in the Arsenal system is coming, and coming fast.