Getty Images

Predictions for 2018 World Cup

Leave a comment

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

Atletico Madrid temporarily cuts player salaries by 70 percent

Photo by Matt McNulty - Manchester City/Manchester City FC via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Atletico Madrid says it has reached an agreement with its players and coaching staff to reduce their salaries by 70 percent while competitions are stopped during the coronavirus pandemic.

[ MORE: FIFA extends men’s age limit for Tokyo Olympics due to virus ]

Atletico announced the agreement on Thursday and said it is temporarily suspending the jobs of club employees.

Atletico had previously said it would need to take such a drastic step but had yet to reveal the details.

A job suspension under Spanish law allows a company to greatly reduce its labor costs by having workers stay at home while guaranteeing they will go back to their positions when conditions improve.

[ MORE: UEFA threatens Belgian league with European expulsion ]

The Spanish club added that some of the money saved by the players’ salary cuts will be given to its other employees who will be furloughed.

Barcelona recently announced it had come to a similar agreement with its players.

Both clubs said that such cost-saving measures were necessary to ensure their financial stability due to the loss in revenue during the stoppage of competitions.

CONCACAF postpones Nations League finals, Gold Cup qualification

Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images
Leave a comment

CONCACAF announced on Friday that the 2019-20 Nations League finals and the opening rounds of 2021 Gold Cup qualification have been postponed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

[ MORE: UEFA threatens Belgian league with European expulsion ]

The Nations League finals — featuring the U.S. men’s national team, Mexico, Costa Rica and Honduras — were previously scheduled to take place in Houston and Dallas in early June. CONCACAF says the semifinals and final will be rescheduled for a later date.

The seconds round of Gold Cup qualifying was previously scheduled to be made up in June — following their postponement in March, with four two-leg ties featuring largely Caribbean and Central American nations. Those, too, will be rescheduled for a later date.

Given the ongoing public health situation, and following consultation with FIFA regarding the international football calendar, we have made the decision to suspend the CONCACAF Nations League finals, which was scheduled for June 4-7, 2020 in the Houston and Dallas areas.

The event, which includes the Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico and USA men’s national teams, will be rescheduled to take place at a later date in venues to be determined. This will be confirmed following further discussions with FIFA regarding the remaining international windows in the football calendar, and will obviously be subject to public health authorities deeming it safe for professional sports events to resume.

FIFA extends men’s age limit for Tokyo Olympics due to virus

Photo by Stuart Franklin - FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images
Leave a comment

GENEVA — FIFA has extended the age limit for the men’s soccer tournament at the rescheduled Tokyo Olympics due to the coronavirus pandemic.

[ MORE: UEFA threatens Belgian league with European expulsion ]

The amended Olympic rule on Friday retains the “players born on or after Jan. 1, 1997” standard for the Tokyo Games following a one-year postponement agreed last week by the International Olympic Committee and Japanese authorities.

It means players eligible for the intended under-23 tournament in 2020 can still play in Japan at age 24 next year. Men’s soccer kicks off ahead of the July 23, 2021 opening ceremony in Tokyo.

FIFA also postponed two women’s age-group World Cups due this year in Central America and India, and confirmed no international games for men and women will be played in the early June dates protected for national team call-ups.

Soccer’s world body said “health must always be the first priority and the main criteria in any decision-making process, especially in these challenging times.”

The Olympic decision was made by a FIFA panel of soccer officials worldwide, created to address the soccer shutdown during the health crisis.

The 16 men’s teams at the Tokyo Olympics next year can also select three over-age players in their rosters. A stellar lineup includes Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Spain.

Two women’s World Cup tournaments — the Under-20s hosted by Panama and Costa Rica in August and September, and the Under-17s in India in November — are postponed. No new dates were announced.

[ MORE: Report: Serie A could resume training May 2, games late in month ]

Until the COVID-19 outbreak, national team games scheduled in June included the 2020 European Championship, World Cup qualifying games in South America and Asia, and qualifiers for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations.

After Euro 2020 was postponed for one year, UEFA hoped to schedule playoff games in June to confirm the last four places in a 24-nation lineup. Those playoffs were postponed indefinitely this week.

World Cup qualifiers for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar now face uncertain scheduling in a congested calendar in Europe, South America and Asia.

FIFA said on Friday it would “organize bilateral discussions” with continental governing bodies “to finalize a revised match schedule pending health and safety developments.”

FIFA plans to direct hundreds of millions of dollars from its cash reserves to support a global emergency fund, and has agreed to appoint one official from each of the six soccer continents to coordinate the work.

Arsenal want season completed ‘to maintain integrity’ of PL

Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Arsenal remain in support of finishing the 2019-20 season in order to “to maintain the integrity” of the competition, despite Friday’s unanimous vote that the Premier League cannot resume at the start of May as previously hoped due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

[ MORE: UEFA threatens Belgian league with European expulsion ]

The Gunners, who currently sit ninth in the PL table with 10 games left to play (one more than the majority of clubs around them), were five points back of fifth-place Manchester United for qualification to next season’s UEFA Champions League thanks to Manchester City’s two-year European ban.

In a statement released on Friday, Arsenal reiterated their stance that the current season should be played to completion rather than called to completion at things stand or abandoned altogether.

We are in full support of the objective for all remaining domestic league and cup matches from the 2019-20 season to be played, in order to maintain the integrity of each competition.

We also fully agree with the principle that any return to action will only be with the full backing of government and when medical guidance allows.

The restart date is under constant review as the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic develops and we continue to work together with all stakeholders through this very challenging time