According to the latest FIFA World Rankings, Switzerland will approach the 2018 FIFA World Cup bracketed amongst the traditional favorites of Brazil, Germany and Argentina. Those are the only three nations above them in the latest August rankings. It’s easy to laugh at the Swiss opening up a sizable gap over the traditional European powers of France, Spain, Italy and England, but there’s no reason to not have them pegged as dark horses in Russia.
It’s easy to say now, sure. Now that his trophies are won, his legacy cemented, Diego Maradona has no problem supporting VAR. Video Assistant Referees can’t review his past indiscretions.
In an attempt to curry favor for its VAR system, FIFA posted an interview with Maradona and his views on VAR. Unsurprisingly, he's in favor of VAR.
On Thursday, FIFA announced the plans for the FIFA World Cup Trophy Tour, an immense trek across the vast landscape of Russia as the world’s most coveted hardware visits 24 cities from Sept. 9 to July 7, 2018.
For World Cup groupies, better stock up on gas, Red Bull and beef jerky if you want to follow along.
Here’s a closer look at scheduled route.
(While FIFA didn’t give details on travel arrangements, we’re going to assume the trophy travels by plane at the start and end of each of two phases and by car the remainder.)
When it comes to the notoriously ill-advised FIFA World Ranking system, there’s generally a lot to laugh at. Nations are cruelly punished by virtue of not playing (the United States, unbeaten since November of 2016, drops 12 places to 35th) while others largely benefit by playing lesser sides in meaningful competition (Poland is up to sixth after waxing Romania in World Cup qualifying).
It turns out Trump was right. You can get sick of winning. Germany winning, that is. Especially when German guy Lothar Matthäus starts rubbing it in.
Before you get your undies in a bunch and start telling us that "Lothar Matthäus isn't just some 'German guy,'" and that he may or may not be the greatest German player in history, let us cut you off. We know. We know he played in five World Cups. We know he's the most capped player in German history. We have the internets.
So Germany won the Confederations Cup on Sunday. It’s exciting for the players and the fans always want to watch their team win, but what does it mean in the big picture?
More precisely: What does it mean for Germany's chances in the 2018 World Cup next summer?
The Confederations Cup, in its current format, has been played the summer before the World Cup prior to the last five four-year cycles.
Soccer has fans in all the nations of the world, with countries as small as San Marino (population 33,000) and as big as China (1.38 billion) fighting for the World Cup trophy.
Regardless of size, some countries, like Uruguay, are far more successful than others, say, Indonesia.
But what sets the following nations apart isn’t their success or failure, it’s their fans' relationship with the latter.
If you're looking for a sleeper team at the 2018 World Cup, Iran is a good candidate.
They were recently the third team to qualify for Russia 2018, having gone undefeated in both the second and third rounds of AFC qualifying to this point (12-4-0).
Bruce Arena has finalized his 23-man roster for the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup, and it’s an interesting mix of veteran players that are desperate to impress and make one final World Cup squad while the next generation of talent aims to prove that their time has arrived.
While every player on the roster stands to either gain or lose a lot with regards to the ultimate goal of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, here are five players that could use this tournament as a springboard to more important roles next summer.