Every tournament usually has its favourites, and Russia 2018 World Cup is no exception.
Chelsea legend Pat Nevin will be in Russia to cover the World Cup, and the former Chelsea winger believes the competition is a bit open, and has revealed the Chelsea players who have a chance of being World Cup champions.
He wrote in his column on the official Chelsea website: “In reality, if you are Eden Hazard, Michy Batshuayi, Thibaut Courtois, Olivier Giroud, N’Golo Kante, Antonio Rudiger, Cesar Azpilicueta, Willian or even Willy Caballero, you really have got a right to think you have a more than decent chance of winning this one. Maybe Gary Cahill and Ruben Loftus Cheek accept that England are outside that big group of favourites, but you just can’t tell this time.
“There might be a few surprise packages as well, which is something we all like to see in the World Cup finals and I just hope I am at one of those wild games. My first one is on Saturday in Moscow where Caballero looks like he will suddenly be first choice for Argentina between the sticks following the injury to Sergio Romero. Considering the dazzling standard of the Argentinian forwards you would think it should be a walk in Gorky Park but Iceland, as every Englishman will tell you, tend not to follow the script of plucky underdogs. Rather they are tenacious dogs of war. Can Iceland really bring that extraordinary team spirit to this competition like they did in the Euros two years ago? I do not think anyone will be shocked if they are not star struck or intimidated by Messi and co., especially with those amazing fans behind them.”
He also backed Hazard to have a good tournament as he continued: “I have no idea who the team will be that steals my heart or indeed yours this time but as I say, that is the joy of the tournament. Well one of the joys, the other being the chance to see the greatest players on the planet all playing in close proximity to each other over a short period of time.
Many people will wonder if it is going to be Lionel Messi’s time and it might be, but I do not think it would surprise many Chelsea fans if Eden Hazard had a month to remember. His form improved markedly as the season went on and maybe he is peaking just when Belgium need him. There is no doubt that he has the ability, that is not in question, but does he have the group spirit around him that you need to flower in a World Cup? They have the players and if you have one of the best keepers on the planet in the side, the likelihood is that they will go deep into the tournament and that always helps.”
Speaking about kante, Giroud and Willian’s chances, he added: “N’Golo and Olivier are of course in an extremely strong squad and they must be in with a great chance but having watched Brazil’s build-up to the tournament, and the incredibly attacking style they have gone with, then Willian has a fabulous chance of coming back to the Bridge with a gold medal.”