A World Cup for Messi ... finally?
Brazil are the team most people pick to win every World Cup, but analyst Clyde Jureidini thinks Qatar, hosts of the event, will see a victory for Argentina and Lionel Messi. The Harbour View Football Club stalwart labels the two South American...
Brazil are the team most people pick to win every World Cup, but analyst Clyde Jureidini thinks Qatar, hosts of the event, will see a victory for Argentina and Lionel Messi.
The Harbour View Football Club stalwart labels the two South American giants as favourites with 2018 semi-finalists Belgium ranked third. “The first team that comes to mind is Brazil who have been performing consistently well, have superstars, have top players in every area, of midfield, defence, attack, goalkeeping and the bench, and some potential miracle workers, and seems to be less affected with injuries than some of the other big-name teams,” he estimated.
The Brazil squad includes Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson, the indefatigable 39-year-old defender Dani Alves, in form Newcastle United linkman Bruno Guimaraes, and a powerful frontline led by Neymar of Paris Saint Germain and Vinicius Jr of Real Madrid.
“Argentina, their neighbours, are the ones that are due and are hungry, and I think really are the ones to push with Messi to win this World Cup. So, I think those two South American teams are the big favourites to win the competition,” he extended.
Then he turned to the Belgians.
“I like Belgium and I think Belgium have underperformed and are due with their big unit to come forward, so I think the winners will come from those three,” Jureidini summed up with due respect to the Kevin DeBruyne-led team.
With 2018 World Cup winners Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante out, a title defence by France seems less likely, but Jureidini doesn’t write them off.
“With Benzema and Mbappe, even with their big midfield injuries, I think they can still come up trumps, but I would go with the two big South American teams, Argentina and Brazil, with the other two just behind them,” he assessed.
Alerted to concerns that Brazilian captain and central defender Thiago Silva is 38, and that Casemiro has made a slow start at Manchester United, the analyst replied, “Both those players are more in the team than out. When you look at Kante and Pogba, those two are definitely out for France. Argentina are hungry and have a leader who is on his last parade, and they have young emerging stars so that’s why I think Argentina should be given the edge.”
Jureidini thinks young Argentines like 24-year-old Villareal defender Juan Foyth, Manchester City forward Julian Alvarez, 22, Fiorentina front man Nico Gonzalez, 24, and 25-year-old Lautaro Martinez of Inter Milan will play their hearts out to give team leader Messi the lone honour missing from his trophy cabinet.
In four trips to the World Cup, the closest the 35-year-old Messi has come to winning was in 2014 when Argentina lost 1-0 to Germany.
“I think the climate suits both the South American rivals. Both of them are hungry, but without doubt, I think Argentina are the hungrier of the two, have motivation, have players, have the capability, have performance and should go there as a preseason favourites,” Jureidini decided.