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What to expect at this summer’s FIFA World Cup

Get ready futbol (soccer) fans because this summer is going to be a great one. Make sure you mark these dates on the calendar (if you haven’t done so already): June 14 to July 15, because that is when the magic starts. The NHL playoffs will just be ending so you won’t have to move from the couch. I know this year might be tough because the United States will not be making an appearance, so you might want to pick someone else to cheer for. This World Cup will be the 21st FIFA World Cup, which happens every four years. Four years ago, it was the Germans who defeated Argentina 1-0 in Brazil, so they will be looking to take home the trophy again this year in Russia.

So, who are the teams to watch? It is safe to say that Germany will be a favorite again in this World Cup. These powerhouses are in a group with Mexico, Sweden and the Republic of Korea (South Korea). If you’re a big Sweden fan, don’t get too excited because according to ESPN, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, the guy with the man-bun, is retired from international football after the last Euro Cup in 2006. However, according to the LA Galaxy, Ibrahimovic is still interested in playing in the World Cup, so don’t lose all hope just yet.

The Brazilians are also a contender for the World Cup Trophy. The green and yellows have won the Cup five times and according to the official FIFA website, they are sitting right below the Germans. If you know soccer, then you probably know who the best player in the world is at this very moment. If you guess the Argentinian Lionel Messi, then you are correct. They were the runners-up in 2014, so they are looking for revenge — no pressure, Messi.

Argentina is also part of the “group of death,” which is what soccer analysts call the group that is full of very well-rounded teams. They will play Croatia, Iceland and Nigeria. According to Goal, Iceland is the smallest country to ever qualify for the World Cup and they topped their group in qualification. Another David vs. Goliath story.

The Belgian side is also looking like a team with potential. According to CBS Sports, Belgium’s attack scored 43 goals in qualification. The Red Devils have a very young and talented squad that could potentially be dangerous.

Let’s look at the host country, Russia,which is ranked 66th in the world as of April 12, according to FIFA’s website. The team automatically qualified for the tournament because of their selection to host. They are in a group with Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Uruguay (Uruguay being the favorite to top the group). According to The 18, you can’t rule Russia out of the mix, though.

So there you have it. This tournament only comes around every four years so make sure you don’t miss it because if you do  it’ll be a long four years.

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