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2018 FIFA World Cup Predictions

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What surprises does the world’s biggest stage hold this summer in Russia?

England v Costa Rica - International Friendly Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

If you’ve been a regular at Royal Blue Mersey for a little while, you’ve probably noticed that the staff here very much enjoys making predictions.

Now, it isn’t that we think we’re particularly good at them – more so that we enjoy making fun of each other when we collectively fail. So with the 2018 FIFA World Cup approaching this week, your favorite Everton bloggers have taken to making predictions for the sport’s biggest event!

A few weeks ago, I requested that each of our writers send to me a complete World Cup bracket, including their predicted final standings for each group and their projected resulting knockout stages. Let’s start by taking a look at our staff’s group stage winners and runners up in groups A-D.

Groups A-D

Writer Group A Group B Group C Group D
Writer Group A Group B Group C Group D
Adam Uruguay, Egypt Spain, Portugal France, Denmark Argentina, Croatia
Sean Uruguay, Egypt Spain, Portugal France, Denmark Croatia, Argentina
Matt Russia, Uruguay Portugal, Spain France, Denmark Argentina, Iceland
Brian L. Uruguay, Egypt Spain, Portugal Peru, France Argentina, Nigeria
Calvin Uruguay, Egypt Spain, Morocco France, Denmark Argentina, Croatia
Rachel Uruguay, Egypt Portugal, Spain France, Denmark Argentina, Iceland
Geno Uruguay, Egypt Spain, Portugal France, Peru Argentina, Croatia
Chris Uruguay, Egypt Spain, Portugal France, Denmark Argentina, Croatia
Tyler Uruguay, Egypt Portugal, Spain France, Denmark Argentina, Croatia
Tom Uruguay, Russia Spain, Portugal France, Denmark Argentina, Iceland
Zach Russia, Egypt Spain, Portugal Denmark, France Argentina, Croatia

In Group A, the majority of our writers seem to be following conventional wisdom – Luis Suarez and Uruguay leading the way through a pretty pedestrian group, with Egypt finishing second ahead of Russia and Saudi Arabia. Of course, if Mohamed Salah proves not to be healthy for the start of the tournament, we could have some unhappy writers.

Matt, Tom, and Zach do have the hosts, Russia, going through – Matt and Tom at the expense of Egypt, and Zach at the expense of Uruguay.

In Group B, it’s a wave of Spain and Portugal. Eight writers have Spain winning the group, with three picking Portugal. Only Calvin has Portugal bowing out here, with Morocco finishing ahead.

Everyone has France making it out of Group C, with nine writers picking the French to win the group.

Group D is similar – all our writers have Argentina making it out alive, with only Sean predicting a second-place finish for Lionel Messi and his compatriots.

On to Groups E-H!

Groups E-H

Writer Group E Group F Group G Group H
Writer Group E Group F Group G Group H
Adam Brazil, Serbia Germany, Mexico Belgium, England Senegal, Colombia
Sean Brazil, Serbia Germany, Sweden Belgium, England Colombia, Poland
Matt Brazil, Costa Rica Germany, Mexico Belgium, England Colombia, Poland
Brian L. Brazil, Costa Rica Germany, Mexico Belgium, England Colombia, Japan
Calvin Brazil, Costa Rica Germany, Mexico Belgium, England Colombia, Poland
Rachel Brazil, Switzerland Germany, Mexico Belgium, England Colombia, Senegal
Geno Brazil, Switzerland Germany, Mexico Belgium, England Colombia, Poland
Chris Brazil, Switzerland Germany, Mexico Belgium, England Colombia, Senegal
Tyler Brazil, Switzerland Germany, Mexico Belgium, England Poland, Senegal
Tom Brazil, Switzerland Germany, Mexico Belgium, England Poland, Colombia
Zach Brazil, Costa Rica Germany, Mexico Belgium, Panama Colombia, Poland

There is substantially more uniformity on this side of the groups, starting with Group E. Everyone has Brazil winning, with the second-place votes split between each of the other three participating countries.

In Group F, all but one of the picks are exactly the same. Everyone has Germany winning and Mexico finishing second, except for Sean, who has Sweden beating out Mexico.

Group G is Belgium’s to lose, according to our writers. All participants, sans Zach, have Jordan Pickford and England going through in second place.

Group H is messier than the rest of the groups in this part of the alphabet. Three different countries won at least one first-place vote, and all four have at least one writer predicting that they’ll survive into the knockout rounds. James Rodriguez and Colombia are easily the most popular pick though.

That brings us to the knockout rounds. For ease of viewing, I’ve just included each writers’ semifinalists, finalists, and World Cup champion.

Knockout Round

Writer Semi 1 Semi 2 Finalists Winner
Writer Semi 1 Semi 2 Finalists Winner
Adam France, Belgium Argentina, Germany Belgium, Germany Germany
Sean France, Brazil Spain, Germany Brazil, Spain Spain
Matt France, Belgium Argentina, Germany Belgium, Germany Belgium
Brian L. Peru, Brazil Argentina, Germany Brazil, Argentina Argentina
Calvin France, Belgium Spain, Germany France, Germany Germany
Rachel France, Brazil Argentina, Germany Brazil, Argentina Brazil
Geno France, Brazil Argentina, Germany Brazil, Germany Brazil
Chris France, Brazil Spain, Germany Brazil, Germany Brazil
Tyler France, Belgium Argentina, Germany France, Germany France
Tom France, Belgium Argentina, Germany France, Argentina France
Zach Portugal, Brazil Spain, Germany Portugal, Spain Spain

France is a popular pick to make the semis. Nine of 11 writers have them in the final four – or perhaps a better way to say that is nine of our 11 writers are very concerned with France’s 1-1 draw against the United States this weekend.

Brazil is almost as popular in the top half of the bracket, making the semifinals according to six of our writers. Belgium is next, garnering five semifinal votes.

Brian L. and Zach have the only two outliers on this half of the knockouts – Brian with Peru and Zach with Portugal.

The bottom half of the bracket is dominated by Argentina, Spain, and Germany. In fact, no other teams feature in our predictions for this semifinal! Germany is in every writer’s semifinal, while Argentina gets seven votes and Spain four.

Despite the uniformity in much of the semifinals, we actually are pretty divided on who will make the tournament’s main event. No matchup was predicted by more than two writers – those are Belgium v. Germany, Brazil v. Argentina, France v. Germany, and Brazil v. Germany.

The other predicted finals are Brazil v. Spain, France v. Argentina, and Portugal v. Spain.

Ultimately then, our predictions for World Cup Champion break down like this.

World Cup Champions

Champion Votes
Champion Votes
Brazil 3
Germany 2
France 2
Spain 2
Belgium 1
Argentina 1

Who are your picks to make the knockout rounds, and your subsequent finalists and winners?