On the eve of the big kick-off of the world’s greatest sporting event, PortuGOAL writers give their tournament predictions. The answers to the questions below were given without conferring – we’re happy to make fools out of ourselves independently!

How far will Portugal go at World Cup 2018? Who will win the tournament? Which team will be the surprise package? Which player will be the MVP?

Read the thoughts of the PortuGOAL team below. Do you agree? Add your thoughts and predictions in the comments section below.

 

Jamie Farr

How far will Portugal go?

Semi-finals. Portugal have a very tricky group to navigate including former champions Spain and dark horses Morocco, however Santos’ nous and game management could see them squeeze their way to the last 4 in a similarly unspectacular but effective style to that of Euro 2016.

Who will win the World Cup?

Brazil. Brazil experienced serious heartbreak in the previous World Cup and will be eager to make up for it. Despite his fitness issues Neymar looks to be entering the tournament in fine form and the squad as a whole is looking strong, particularly with something of an embarrassment of riches in the goalkeeping department.

Which team will be the surprise package?

Poland

Who will be the MVP?

Mesut Ozil

 

 

Marino Peixoto

How far will Portugal go?

Semi-finals. If the Seleção do manage to get out of their tough group, then I think they will thrive in the knockouts. A semi-final matchup against Brazil, Germany or France is likely to be too much of an ask, though.

Who will win the World Cup?

Spain. They possess an embarrassment of riches all over the park, are yet to lose under Julen Lopetegui and have a point to prove after their disappointing Euro 2016 and World Cup 2014.

Which team will be the surprise package?

Senegal

Who will be the MVP?

Neymar

 

 

Matthew Marshall

How far will Portugal go?

Portugal can win the World Cup, this is arguably the best squad in Seleção history and with Ronaldo anything is possible.

Who will win the World Cup?

Brazil deserve to be favourites, Tite has done an exceptional job and they have a formidable side.

Which team will be the surprise package?

Colombia

Who will be the MVP?

Ronaldo

 

 

Nathan Motz

How far will Portugal go?

I’ll go bold and say we’ll equal our best finish ever: 3rd place. I’ve long said this tournament might be the best chance we’ve ever had to win a World Cup and I think we’ll beat France in the quarters, lose to Brazil in the semis, then beat Argentina in consolation match.

Who will win the World Cup?

Brazil. best LB in football, arguably best keepers at the tournament (Allison/Ederson), Neymar, Gabriel Jesus, Coutinho AND Casemiro to hold their shape. Unless Neymar gets injured, they beat Portugal in the semis and Germany in the final.

Which team will be the surprise package?

Denmark

Who will be the MVP?

Neymar

 

 

Patrick Ribeiro

How far will Portugal go?

Quarter-Finals. My calculations see Portugal match-up with France in the Quarter-Finals, with the one-time world champions, in my opinion, having too much firepower up top for Portugal to tame.

Who will win the World Cup?

Brazil: Appearing well-balanced under Tite, I’m tipping Brazil to reclaim the tag of World Cup winners.

Which team will be the surprise package?

Senegal

Who will be the MVP?

Neymar

 


PortuGOAL World Cup 2018 preview podcast

 


 

Richard Cole

How far will Portugal go?

Semi-finals until losing to Brazil. It’s a good squad but I don’t think it’s good enough.

Who will win the World Cup?

Brazil. It’s going to be the Neymar show but this year with an improved supporting cast.

Which team will be the surprise package?

Nigeria

Who will be the MVP?

Neymar

 

 

Rui Miguel Martins

How far will Portugal go?

Third place. This time, Portugal will enthral audiences with their attractive, yet pragmatic style-of-play, which will take them as far as the semi-final, before ending their tournament on a high with a win in the third-place match.

Who will win the World Cup?

Germany. They have the strongest team on paper and they have been there before.

Which team will be the surprise package?

Denmark

Who will be the MVP?

Toni Kroos

 

 

Simon Curtis

How far will Portugal go?

Quarter finals. Dodgy defence (ageing and/or weakened by injury) and slightly distracted goalkeeper (and now others from Sporting!!) may lead to problems when Portugal meet one of the big guns.

Who will win the World Cup?

Spain. renaissance under way, with old guard still functioning well and new blood giving important injection. 

Which team will be the surprise package?

Nigeria

Who will be the MVP?

Gabriel Jesus

 

 

Tiago Estêvão

How far will Portugal go?

Semi-Finals. Think we can beat any side from Group A and will risk it and say we can sneak past France again in the quarters.

Who will win the World Cup?

Brazil. Best manager in tournament turned them from one of the best squads to probably the best team, able to adapt to different opponents as well.

Which team will be the surprise package?

Senegal

Who will be the MVP?

Neymar

 

 

Tom Kundert

How far will Portugal go?

Quarter-finals. The Seleção have fantastic talent, but so do France and with one notable exception they are Portugal’s bogey team.

Who will win the World Cup?

Spain. Exceptional quality all over the pitch, a clear identity and have got their swagger back under Julen Lopetegui.

Which team will be the surprise package?

Croatia

Who will be the MVP?

Mbappé  

 

 

Comments (10)

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

How far will Portugal go? - The Finals

Who will win the World Cup? - Portugal

Which team will be the surprise package? - Portugal

Who will be the MVP?- Ronaldo

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I like this!

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I wonder if all these Spain to win the World Cup predictions were made before Lopetegui got fired.. far as i'm concerned any chance they had just got tossed out the window.

Brazil is really the only team I fear. They have world class players in...

I wonder if all these Spain to win the World Cup predictions were made before Lopetegui got fired.. far as i'm concerned any chance they had just got tossed out the window.

Brazil is really the only team I fear. They have world class players in every position, and a chip on their shoulders after the last World Cup. However, out of the 5 times they've won it.. only once they did on European soil. Germany is expected to go deep as usual but I believe Portugal is on par with France. Remember we beat them without our best player in the Euro final, call it a fluke if you want to either way our squad is much deeper than it was 2 years ago.

Let me end by saying this, I have not seen Portugal knocked out of a major tournament under fair circumstances in the last 18 years except for World Cup 2014. Anyone who watched the Euro 2012 semi-final understands the level of bias on many calls made by referee Cüneyt Çakır which favored Spain. WC 2010 you have the David Villa offside goal. Euro 2008 - Michael Ballack pushes off Paulo Ferreira. WC 2006 - Henry dives in the box and France are awarded a penalty. Euro 2004 - Ricardo is clearly obstructed by Greece player in the box. WC 2002 - South Korea? Everyone knows they cheated. Euro 2000 - Okay this was a clear handball by Abel Xavier but if you go back and watch the film, there was no time to react between the distance of the ball and power of which it was struck with. Very harsh indeed.

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Supremo, this was compiled before the Lopetegui news and yes, I'm changing my winners' prediction from Spain to Brazil.

On Twitter Marino & Simon also said they no longer tip Spain. Incredible news. Things falling Portugal's way???

As for your...

Supremo, this was compiled before the Lopetegui news and yes, I'm changing my winners' prediction from Spain to Brazil.

On Twitter Marino & Simon also said they no longer tip Spain. Incredible news. Things falling Portugal's way???

As for your refereeing observations, spoken like a true Portuguese, ha ha. Don't agree with you - only missing the Paulo Ferreira foul was a terrible decision imo - but what that list does show is that for 18 solid years Portugal have only been edged out narrowly of every tournament, often by the powerhouses.

Euro 2016 was coming. Hopefully more to come. Looking forward to this World Cup more day by day.

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In order for Portugal to actually win this thing, a few things have to happen in my opinion.

1. Two players other than Ronaldo have to score consistently through out the tournament. You can pick either, Guedes, Bernardo or Andre whoever it does...

In order for Portugal to actually win this thing, a few things have to happen in my opinion.

1. Two players other than Ronaldo have to score consistently through out the tournament. You can pick either, Guedes, Bernardo or Andre whoever it does not matter. They CANNOT rely on Ronaldo at this tournament.

2. Set pieces and corner kicks have to be defended against almost impeccably. I swear to god over the last 16 years, every time a ball comes into the box I have an anxiety attack. Portugal just can't seem to defend that situation for some reason and it's usually not even the first ball into the box that causes trouble. It's the second ball that nobody is around for portugal and someone has a clear shot on Rui Patricio.

3. Lets be honest here guys if were going to win this thing we are going to need some luck. Were not better than around 4 teams at this tournament. Were somewhere in the 5-12 range. I extended us out to 12 because I'll tell you right now I don't know if we are better than Columbia or Nigeria etc. Maybe on paper we are better but that does not matter as you guys already know.

Last thing, I hate how portugal gets absolutely no respect for anyone in the media. Espnfc analysts all have Portugal losing to uruguay if they get out of their group. I'm not saying that we can't lose to Uruguay(they're in that 5-12 group) but jesus christ we just won the Euros two years ago and our team is better now. Sometimes I find myself wanting to Portugal to win not for them but just to shut everyone up.

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Your prediction and analysis is 1, in a scale of 1 to 10 ( 1 being the least knowledgeable of the game and 10 being an expert views).

This comment was minimized by the moderator on the site

You're not adding anything to the conversion.

Show us your expert analysis

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The breakdown is very good Justin. As per all your comments over the years.

Also thought about this and compared it to Euro winning side.

1. Two players other than Ronaldo have to score consistently through out the tournament.
- Ronaldo scored...

The breakdown is very good Justin. As per all your comments over the years.

Also thought about this and compared it to Euro winning side.

1. Two players other than Ronaldo have to score consistently through out the tournament.
- Ronaldo scored 3 and Nani stepped up huge with 3 more at Euro 2016. Portugal only scored 9 goals total. RQ had 1, Renato Sanches had 1. Forget last one.

2. Set pieces and corner kicks have to be defended against almost impeccably.
- The corner kicks are down to our goalies. With Rui P it is much better. Ricardo was notorious for taking a nap on his line or completely misdjudging incoming corners. Beto is a fantastic reflex goalie but he also misjudges a lot of corners, he did it again last friendly.

3. Lets be honest here guys if were going to win this thing we are going to need some luck.
- All teams need luck to win. Portugal had every reason to fold up in the finals vs France and yet they never did. When Ronaldo went off crying I (along with most people) thought “here we go again…” but they stepped up big time. It was a very important day in Portuguese Football history imo. The day they Selecao grew up. I love how composed Portugal are now. They are pro’s and it shows. Luck gives and luck takes away but Portugal always stayed on course.
- Portugal had no luck during the group phase however and still managed to claw their way through. They outplayed Hungary and Iceland so badly it was a joke and both times got ties out of it. 50 shots on goal over 2 games and 1 goal to show for it. Ronaldo also missed a PK.
- We are never given France treatment but most countries are not. France is a world cheater and Platini keeps reminding us just how badly with his almost weekly revelations about the special treatment France gets/got.

4. Last thing, I hate how portugal gets absolutely no respect for anyone in the media.
- Meh, I don’t care about this so much. I love seeing/reading the lame replies after the fact. Like all the idiots eating crow after Euro 2016 and unbelievably still complaining. It is the same when Donald Trump won, I laughed and laughed all night from Canada at the arrogance of the media. I don’t care about Trump but I love it when know it all’s eat their words.
- Just look on Portugoal Justin. The same trolls come out ONLY during loses (we all know who) and yammer on about “I TOLD YOU SO” yet during wins they are invisible and during the Euro win, not a damn peep…

Fernando Santos has put together a solid side yet again. The only thing we have to argue about is who starts up top, Andre Silva or Guedes and there is an argument for the inclusion of Neves.

How quickly people forget the awful squads assembled by the Bento-Box and Carlos Queiroz. The players respect, admire and genuinely love Fernando Santos. You can see it with the way they interact with him, especially Ronaldo.

Fernando Santos is a true leader in every sense of the word and he has done something special here. I think this time around I will just enjoy the ride and not have heart attacks every damn game.

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@neville
I’d love to know why you think that. Perhaps you think that it’s not important for other players to score and be involved/take pressure away from Ronaldo. Oh I know, Ronaldo can just score all the goals!! It wouldn't be really nice if...

@neville
I’d love to know why you think that. Perhaps you think that it’s not important for other players to score and be involved/take pressure away from Ronaldo. Oh I know, Ronaldo can just score all the goals!! It wouldn't be really nice if either Guedes or Bernardo Silva scored a goal every game, especially against teams that park the bus(Morocco, Iran).

So are you really telling me that our defending isn’t pretty damn bad on set pieces and corner kicks historically? I’d like to hear why I’m wrong instead of you telling me I’m wrong. Please explain? I’ll admit that we’re a little better at it with Santos but it’s still a scary situation.

Is it my rating of other teams that you don’t like? Brazil, Germany, France, Spain(hopefully we beat them) are better than us. So my 5-12 grouping leaves us in the mix with Belgium, England, Columbia, Argentina, Nigeria, Croatia(remember the euros?) and Uruguay. Perhaps you think we’re better than all of these teams by miles and my 1 ranking is obviously holding me back. I have to at least be a 3...no? One day I’ll be a 10!!!!!

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I think Portugal will reach either the quarters or semis, if I had to make a prediction. Considering the talented squad we have, we should make at least the quarters, anything less would really be a disappointment. But I doubt we are strong...

I think Portugal will reach either the quarters or semis, if I had to make a prediction. Considering the talented squad we have, we should make at least the quarters, anything less would really be a disappointment. But I doubt we are strong enough defensively to get further than the semis. This is what common sense tells me, but on the other hand we can always dream. And in theory if you can win the Euros, you can win the WC, the level of competition is roughly the same and our squad is arguably stronger than it was 2 years ago. So let's see.

Even before Lopetegui's sacking, I didn't see Spain winning the cup. Yes they have a strong squad of players, including some talented new young players, but a few of their key players (I.e Iniesta, Busquets, Pique) are clearly past their peak now. Mainly though, they are still dependent on the tiki taka, and struggle to find a plan B if it doesn't work. They may well beat us and win the group, but I think in the knock out stages their inflexibility will eventually be their downfall.

Brasil are the favorites for me. They have arguably the strongest squad across all the positions. They are also the most in form national team in the world at the moment, with an incredible run of results over the last year and a half or so. Also after the disaster of 4 years ago, I think their players will be extra motivated and determined to make up for it this time around. The team to beat in my opinion.

In general though, this could be one of the most competitive and unpredictable WCs ever, so stand by for surprises!

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