The long awaited 2018 FIFA World Cup starts this June 14, 2018 in Russia. Group stage match days begin on June 14th and continue until June 28th when each group will have completed their round robin. The elimination games begin on June 30th and last until July 15th when the World Cup final will be played.
The main storyline for the United States this World Cup is the fact that we were embarrassingly unable to qualify. However, that is no reason to discourage you from watching!
There is still plenty of great soccer to be played and many things to pay attention to. Here are the main story lines to watch out for.
Having qualified for the World Cup for the first time in 28 years, the Egyptian National Team is hoping for the best this year. They are led by Liverpool Forward Mohamed Salah, who burst onto the national scene after this past year.
Born in Nasr City, Cairo, Egypt, Salah bounced around multiple clubs before landing a premier spot with the Champions League runner-ups. Salah tied the Premier League record for the most goals in a season this year. The Egyptian National Team is hoping he brings this sharp shooting with him to the cup.
This country has struggled politically and socially in years past. One thing that has brought the country together is soccer. You can check out a great documentary about that here. Just qualifying for the World Cup was a major victory for the country, but they are hoping for much more.
Will there be an end to the Messi Ronaldo debate?
While the two greats have shown no signs of slowing down it’s hard to be sure when that might happen. When the 2022 World Cup starts in Qatar, Messi will be 35 and Ronaldo 37. This puts them on the down turn of their career. Each player has more personal accolades then we can mention, but both are missing a World Cup title.
While it’s not a ‘now or never’ situation for the two greats, it certainly won’t get any easier in the future. With opinions split on who the best player is, a World Cup title would certainly give one of them the edge.
Will we see one of these take home the World Cup this year?
Russia as the World Cup host
Our final storyline isn’t about a team or player but the location of the World Cup. Controversy has surrounded the location for the 2018 World Cup ever since it was awarded back in 2010. There are many allegations, with good proof, saying Russia bribed FIFA officials to get the World Cup.
The country has spent billions of dollars renovating and building stadiums while around 14% of their citizens live in poverty. Russia also spent $52 billion on the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games. This isn’t new.
It will be interesting to see if the operations go smoothly for this World Cup. With the controversy even higher for the 2022 location, all eyes are on Russia to see if they will be able to successfully and safely run the World Cup.
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