64 matches, 32 countries, one winner. The World Cup is once again upon us, with the very best footballers on the planet competing for the ultimate prize. To mark the occasion the EchoSport reporters are pitting their wits against some of south Essex’s best and brightest young football experts to see who really knows more.
RAYLEIGH Primary School have backed the French to set the pace in Group E but Billy, Danny, Jack, Alfie, Woody, Josh, Brannon, Sonny, Emily and Matthew don’t think they can win the tournament.
Woody: It has to be France the rest of the teams look hopeless.
Josh: France’s defence isn’t very good. I think they will concede goals, even in this group.
Alfie: I think Switzerland will look to raise their game against France and could get a point.
Echosport reporter Luke: So is the crunch match in this group going to be between Switzerland and France? Do the other teams stand a chance?
Brannon: I think the other teams could be in with a shout. Ecuador will struggle to score goals against Switzerland who have a good defence so that will be important for second place in the group.
Honduras won’t get any points. The only good thing for them is they will be used to the heat but they won’t win any matches, agree the group.
Matthew: (Franck) Ribery and (Karim) Benzema will be too good for these teams. The trouble with France is they are not used to the weather and that could cost them. It will be a big blow for France if Ribery is ruled out with injury. (He since has been).
Franck Ribery - a big miss for France
Emily: France have good strength on the bench too. They have a good second choice goalkeeper and they could rest players if they win their first two games.
Echosport Luke: A lot of Ecuador’s and Honduras’ players play in their own country so will be used to the high temperatures. Do you think that will influence the group?
Josh: It may give them an advantage and they will need that to help them as their teams are the weakest.
Jack: Honduras will know they have a tough group so may just defend and look to score if they get a chance.
Although the majority of the youngsters think France will top the group, they do not fancy France to win the tournament, or progress to the later stages.
Billy and Danny: If France come up against one of the bigger sides, like Spain, Brazil or Argentina they will lose. The group is quite easy but they aren’t as good as other teams.
So what about England? 48 years since Bobby Moore lifted the trophy do the youngsters think the Three Lions and Steven Gerrard will be repeating the feat in Rio this year?
Bobby Moore lifts the cup in 1966
England won’t win, laughs the group.
Emily: I don’t even know if they are aiming to win. They have taken the young players to give them experience for the next World Cup or in 2022.
Woody: Uruguay have a really good team and I think they are a favourite to win the tournament.
Josh: England should start with some quick wingers. I would have taken some more experienced players.
Echosport Luke: Can England win this year?
Group: Not this year.
To bring the World Cup to south Essex, EchoSport has invited eight primary schools to take on each other (and us!) in predicting the results of the matches. A correct score line prediction will see three points awarded and the correct result one point. The school with the most points at the end of the tournament will be crowned champions.
Sunday: Switzerland v Ecuador Echo: 0-0 Rayleigh: 2-1
Sunday: France v Honduras Echo: 2-0 Rayleigh: 2-0
20/6: Switzerland v France Echo: 1-1 Rayleigh: 1-2
20/6: Honduras v Ecuador Echo: 0-2 Rayleigh: 0-1
25/6: France v Ecuador Echo: 2-1 Rayleigh: 1-1
25/6: Honduras v Switzerland Echo: 0-1 Rayleigh: 1-2