Mental news from Spain. Did they really need to sack him? He was unbeaten for goodness sake! In 20 games!
Hopefully for Spain's sake Hierro has the same impact Zidane had at Real Madrid.
I mean, I can understand them being angry at him for not telling that he's going to Real Madrid. Not really ideal situation for the FA President to hear about it just moments before the press conference about it.
Was the sacking justified? Maybe. Was it necessary? Not really.
Group A Obviously Uruguay should win this group easily and for me it's out of Russia or Egypt for second. With Sallah out possibly I think Russia sneak through. Group B Portugal cane third in their group in Euro 2016 but luckily still made it though. They weren't very good but still snuck through each match by their skin of their teeth. They need more than luck this time though and can't afford to finish outside the top 2 here. Morocco are the dark horses and will beat Iran and prove difficult to beat and may take points off Portugal. I think Spain will beat the lesser two teams and may draw with Portugal which will be enough to see them win the group and send Ronaldo through too. And as I type this I just see that Spain have sacked their manager so hopefully they get a 2014 humiliation that they deserve again.
Group C France should prove too good for everyone else here and win. Australia are playing well right now but I think it is out of Denmark or Peru for the last spot. Peru did so well to make it and shocking sent one of the favourites to win the whole thing Chile out but Denmark I think may pip them.
Group D Group of Death? Argentina were dreadful in qualifying but maybe South America is just the toughest federation right now? I think they will go through here. Nigeria is possibly the best African team here, but Croatia while not the contenders they were say 4 years ago will beat them in the opening match and rule them out. I'm not counting it Iceland either, but I thing Croatia will avenge themselves at they are a big tournament team.
Group E Brazil should walk this but why if the others could go through. In my result predictions I had Costa Rica best Switzerland, Switzerland best Serbia Ave in the opening round Costa Rica Ave Serbia to draw. So the heroes of 2014 Costa Rica advance again.
Group F Germany win this one. I can't see Korea doing much sadly, so it's either Mexico or Sweden. It will come down to that last match between them. I love Mexico and want them to do well, but I fear Sweden who've already claimed the scalps of two of the favourites Netherlands and Italy will beat Mexico too.... But I'm going with my heart and saying Mexico.
Group G Oh dear God. Okay I think Belgium are the best and will win all 3. Panama are the worst and will lose all 3. So it's Tunisia or England for the runner up spot. So England surely? Ehhh I don't know. I have vivid memories of England failing to beat lesser teams like Costa Rica, Iceland and Algeria in recent tournaments and Tunisia are playing incredible well right now. It could come down to the match between the two that opens the group, but I think that'll be a tie. So likely it will be go differnce. Who can beat Panama by the most or perhaps most crucially who can lose to Belgium by the least and I think that's England.
Group H Colombia were the second best South American side in qualifying and I think they win here. I think it is either Poland or Japan and I will go for the surprise Japan victory.
Round 2 Uruguay vs Portugal.
Tough game! I think Portugal somehow scrape through yet again.
France vs Croatia.
Oooh another big game! 4 years ago I would have said Croatia, but their side is an old one so French youth go on.
Brazil vs Mexico
Another corker! Mexico want revenge but yet again they fall in round 2.
Belgium vs Japan
Japanese hearts are broken in round 2 once more.
Spain vs Russia
Spain with no manager will implode. But here though. Easy win.
Argentina vs Denmark. I can't see why way Denmark win this.
Germany vs Costa Rica
Germany are playing awful right now,but just like every other time they will find their form at the world cup.
Colombia vs England.
Well luckily for England they are opposite to the group with the weakest best team. They would lose to say other group winner, but they have a chance against Colombia. I would have said Colombia as recently as yesterday, but as the world cup gets closer I'm dreaming yet again. An England without the shackles of a useless Wayne Rooney makes me so excited. Sod it, England to win.
Portugal vs France
Euro 2016 grudge match! This time Portugal's luck runs out.
Brazil vs Belgium.
For all their hype Belgium fail to beat the top top teams yet again.
Spain vs Argentina.
This is where Spain's fragility with no manager fails them.
Germany vs England.
Oh God.... Well Germany are playing really poor right now... But they beat England. Again.
France vs Brazil
Ooooh damn. France... Just. Not bad for the only team that wasn't a semi finalist 4 years ago still in.
Argentina vs Germany.
The old rivals meet once more in a rematch of the 2014 final. This time the Argies win!
Brazil vs Germany
France vs Argentina.
Sorry Messi. Runner up one again.
Agree with most of the group stage. Think people are underrating Morocco and Iran are a good side as well. I was thinking Portugal might possibly be a surprise exit in the group stage but Spain changing their manager makes things even more unpredictable.
Think Peru might be a surprise package, play quite an attacking style and are a good substitute for Chile. But Denmark are tactically more astute and have Eriksen.
Not too impressed with Nigeria, have them down as one of the lesser impressive African sides here. Difficult group to call because while Argentina have Messi, they've not gelled as a team. Croatia also have a talented side but often seem to flatter to deceive at tournaments and Iceland are the weakest on paper but have the best team chemistry and a fantastic mentality that makes them better than the sum of their parts. I'm going to go for Argentina and Iceland to go through.
I think Costa Rica are a much weaker side than four years ago. It's pretty much the same team but they've aged quite a bit and I don't see them going through. Brazil top but I have a feeling the Swiss will scrape through, being the best of a weak three. Serbia, like Croatia, have talent but never seem to put together a solid team unit. Maybe this could be their time but I doubt it, the defence especially is very experienced but also past it.
I'm going to say Sweden are going through behind Germany. Solid side, if a bit unspectacular. Mexico have the most talent out of the other three but think Sweden might just edge past them.
I have a feeling England will top the group, a bit like in Euro 2012 where they finished ahead of a better France side. I think Belgium will flatter to deceive and won't live up their hype. Obviously talented side but not convinced with Martinez, nor the setup of the team, which has had glaring problems at full-back and controlling games in midfield, which Martinez has tried to fix by playing De Bruyne even deeper than at City.
Group H is the most interesting IMO. I think Senegal will go through behind Colombia. Underrated side with some good players throughout like Koulibaly, Gueye and Mane. Poland have some quality in midfield and attack like Zielinski, Milik and Lewandowski but are too weak in defence. Japan have talent, as always but appointed a new manager recently and as always, lack a proper goal threat up front.
Think Brazil will win. England and Belgium to go out against the first big team they play. Spain's a big question mark though, with a new manager if they collapse then there's an opening for others. Germany will be there as always.
Don't see France winning at all. Lloris has declined badly, full-backs are a big question mark, both in terms of fitness and defensive ability (Sidibe and Mendy) or ability going forward (Pavard and Lucas) Varane and Umtiti are great defenders but have not gelled as a partnership. They need a leader like Ramos or Pique beside them. Deschamps still hasn't worked out whether he wants to get the best out of Pogba (midfield three) or Griezmann (second striker) so we could see some system changes throughout like Euro 2016. He could go for a back three but that would mean dropping wingers so Dembele would miss out. All in all, too many question marks surrounding them.