Who will be the next team to win their first World Cup?

Currently, there are eight nations to have won a World Cup. England, Uruguay, Italy, France, Germany, Brazil, Argentina and Spain.

Spain are the last team to win the World Cup for the first time back in 2010 but who will be the next team to be able to claim the honour of being World Champions. Here we will look at possible candidates and rank them.

10. Nigeria.

Russia 2018 may well be too early for Nigeria and the climate will not suit them one bit. However Qatar 2022 could be the time for the first ever African World Cup winners and Nigeria look the most likely. Just in the Premier League there is a crop of extremely talented Nigerian players coming through and making a lot of first team appearances at a young age. Players like; Kelechi Iheanacho, Alex Iwobi, Wilfried Ndidi, Ahmed Musa and Isaac Success. Victor Moses is also only 26 and has proven to be a brilliant player for Chelsea this season.

If any African team is going to win any of the next two World Cups it will be Nigeria. Mark my words.

9. Mexico

One of the better teams at the last World Cup were robbed of a Quarter Final place via an Arjen Robben dive. Mexico’s current crop is at the prime age to put in their best performance in Russia next year, the climate will be an issue but if Brazil can win in Sweden in 1958 I don’t see why Mexico can’t go far in Russia. Guilhermo Ochoa wowed everybody at the last World Cup, Javier Hernandez has continued scoring in Germany. Solid players that would make it into any national team squad such as Carlos Vela, Hector Moreno and Andres Guardardo will all feature. The emergence of Hirving Lozano will also be interesting in the build to Russia as multiple big clubs around Europe are looking to secure his signature.

8. China

Other than Sun Jihai I couldn’t name you another Chinese footballer. However as any football fan knows football in China is growing at an incredible rate with money being pumped into it and international talents being bought for tens of millions of pounds. With a population approaching 1.5 billion if China continues to invest heavily in football they will begin to develop stars.

With managers like Andre Villas Boas, Gus Poyet, Manuel Pellegrini and Luiz Philipe Scolari all coaching in China the upcoming generation will have the perfect tutilage to become world class players. And with the implementation of a rule allowing teams only 6 foreign players in the matchday squad Chinese players will get the chance to play alongside some of the best footballers in the world as the big money signings keep coming in.

7. Colombia

Another team that won a lot of fans over at the 2014 World Cup Colombia are looking to go even further in 2018 or 2022.

With Falcao looking his best again at Monaco and James Rodriguez still being one of the most talented midfielders in the world Colombia’s attacking force is stacked. Carlos Bacca and Juan Cuardrado playing brilliantly in Italy, as well as Crstian Zapata and David Ospina, being solid down the other end, Colombia could go all the way at the next World Cup. People forget how good they were in 2014 and were only eliminated after an amazing goal by David Luiz

Colombia are a nation that love football so don’t be surprised to see the next generation of Colombian footballers be full of players as talented as James and Falcao.

6. USA

Ever since the MLS was founded football has been on an upward growth in the USA and the next decade could be the time for that to pay dividends for the national team.

The Women’s team are already dominant at their side of the game so if “Soccer” gets any bigger in the USA the National team could emulate their female conterparts successes.

Christain Pulisic and John Brooks are set to be the stars of this next generation fo American players. Both already finding great success in Germany at young ages. Brooks was fantastic in 2014 and 2018 will be Pulisic’s first time at a World Cup should they qualify. Emerson Hyndman and Gedion Zelalem both currently on loan at Rangers and VVV Venlo respectively, are two of the United States rising stars plying their trade in England so look out for them in the near future.

 

5. The Netherlands

The three-time runners-up and 2014 4th placed side have been on a huge decline since then. Failing to qualify for the 2016 Euros and recently sacking manager Danny Blind. The Netherlands need a dramatic turnaround if they are to make Russia 2018. The current crop of players will not win a World Cup, with the only arguably world class talents in the squad being an ageing Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben.

However The Netherlands have always got a new crop coming around the corner and have never been without some of the games top players, from Cruyff and Neeskens, Van Basten and Gullit, Van Nistelrooy and Seedorf and Robben and Van Persie. In the future The Netherlands will have another amazing crop of talent come through at some point but at the moment they don’t look likely but for the reason they will always have at least one world class talent they find themselves 5th on this list.

4. Croatia

Croatia have an argument to put forward that they have the best midfield in international football at the moment. With Modric, Rakitic and Kovacic all playing for either Barcelona or Real Madrid they are definitely one of the best midfield trios at the moment.

The talent doesn’t end there though. Going forward Ivan Perisic was one of the stars of Euro 2016 and Mario Mandzukic has been a great striker for years now.At the back Dejan Lovren, Tin Jedvaj and Daniel Subasic aren’t going to leak goals no matter what team they come up against.

The young crop coming through is also exciting. Alen Halilovic, Marko Rog, Tin Jedvaj, Mateo Kovacic and Marko Pjaca are all players under 23 playing for some of the best teams in Europe. It is fair to say the future is bright for Croatia and with them being one of the few teams who will cope with the climate in Russia next year don’t be surprised to see them cause a few upsets.

3.Portugal

You just cant write off a team that are European Champions and have Cristiano Ronaldo in the squad. Ronaldo is yet to have his huge crowning World Cup moment other than the infamous wink against England over a decade ago.

Next year will be a lot of this generations last chance at World Cup Glory with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Nani, Pepe and Quaresma all probably heading to their last World Cup and they will all want to go out on a high.

With young players like Renato Sanches and Bernardo Silva to add to the experience of the core players Portugal have a good chance of replicating their Euro 2016 success.

2. Chile

Back to back Copa America wins have Chile looking good heading into the next World Cup. Spearheaded by Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez Chile have an outstanding chance to do something huge at the next world cup.

Another team that was cruelly eliminated from the last World Cup with Brazil eliminating them on penalties after they hit the cross bar late on in the game. Gary Medel is an impressive player whenever he puts on the national team shirt. As bad as Claudio Bravo has been for Manchester City this season he does put in good performances for Chile.

1, Belgium

In my opinion, the best national team in the world on paper. The have to do something big in 2018. Every single area of the pitch has a top class talent, Lukaku, De Bruyne, Vertonghen, Courtois, Hazard, Kompany, Dembele, Nainggolan, Benteke. The list is endless. If they can get all of their players working together and firing on all cylinders they will be unbeatable. Their players all know each other so well as well playing together for the national team for years as well as the majority of the squad being Premier League players.

The attack is every defenders nightmare and the defence is every attackers nightmare. Scoring past Thibaut Courtois is hard enough but with Vertonghen, Alderweireld and Kompany in front of him, teams will find it hard to even get a sniff at goal. Belgium are one of the favourites for the next World Cup for a reason and it is now or never for their golden generation

 

 

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Author: Charles Jones

Sports Journalism student at Leeds Trinity University.

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