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.

WESTWOOD Academy Primary School pupils are in no doubt as to who will top Group F.

Jack, Ben, Bailey, Jak, Freddie, Callum, Joe, Tommy, Louis, Reilly, Joel and Ben all think Argentina will prove too good for Bosnia & Herzegovina, Nigeria and Iran.

Joe said: This group can only go one way. Argentina will be far too strong for the likes of Iran and Bosnia.

Freddie: Nigeria could cause Argentina problems down the wings with their pace so I think that game will be close.

Joel: Bosnia only have one good player so I can’t see them causing anyone any problems.

Echosport reporter Luke: With Argentina the clear favourites to top the group, this group may be a fairly straight forward one to predict but do you think the other sides will pose Lionel Messi’s side problems?

Argentina have such good strikers that even though their defence isn’t that good they will be too good for this group,” agree the youngsters.

Jak and Freddie: They have strikers playing at the best clubs in the world and can’t stop scoring. They have Pablo Zabaleta (of Manchester City) in defence but the rest of the defence and the goalkeeper aren’t strong enough.

Echo: Pablo Zabaleta

Pablo Zabaleta - one of the star performers in Argentina's defence

The occasional voice disputes this, claiming La Albiceleste do have a good enough team to win the competition as they could rest their key players in the final group game should they have qualified after two matches.

Callum: What about Nigeria? They have some good attackers too. (Peter) Odemwingie and (Victor) Moses were a threat in the Premiership this year and they are so quick. They will finish second.

Echosport Luke: So you think the Africans are likely to get the runner-up spot ahead of Bosnia & Herzegovina?

Tommy: Bosnia have Edin Dzeko (of Manchester City) and Asmir Begovic (of Stoke City) but that is it. They are not experienced enough but will beat Iran to third place.

Echo: Asmir Begovic

Begovic - had a good season for Stoke

Echosport Luke: So you think Iran will be the group’s whipping boys?

One youngster summed it up.

Iran look rubbish but they have made the finals so they might do something I suppose.

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?

The group immediately respond: They won’t win.

All but Louis remain convinced Roy Hodgson’s side doesn’t have enough to compete with the likes of Spain, Brazil and Germany.

Bailey, who has made detailed notes on the teams’ chances, said: We have good options on the wing with Oxlade-Chamberlain, Sterling and Strurridge but they don’t know how to win.

Louis: We will win it. We will get to the final and beat whoever we face 5-0. I can feel it.

Echosport Luke: There must be someone else who think England can win it?

Group: NO!


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.

Sun: Argentina v Bosnia & Herz Echo: 3-0 Westwood: 2-1

Sun: Iran v Nigeria Echo: 0-1 Westwood: 0-2

21/6: Argentina v Iran Echo: 5-0 Westwood: 3-1

21/6: Nigeria v Bosnia & Herz Echo: 1-1 Westwood: 2-2

25/6: Nigeria v Argentina Echo: 0-2 Westwood: 1-2

25/6: Bosnia & Herz v Iran Echo: 0-0 Westwood: 1-0