Is this the year Belgium finally capitalises on their abundant attacking talent and transfer that to a FIFA World Cup title? Maybe, but the path isn't easy.

The biggest sporting event in the world kicked off in Russia yesterday morning and even before it started the drama had kicked off with Spain's head coach Julen Lopetegui sacked just 48 hours out.

Here are some quick hot takes what's going to happen:

Belgium will win the World Cup


Belgium's path to 2018 glory really has only one major roadblock - defending champions Germany.

They should ease past Panama and Tunisia to open their campaign and will presumably be far too good for England. Their attacking quartet of Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Romelo Lukaku and Dries Mertens will have too much for the Three Lions.

If they can stop Robert Lewandowski in a probable clash with Poland, they'll ease past them into a quarterfinal clash with Germany.

Germany are the unsurprising favourites and it'll take a mammoth effort to topple them but they've got the talent to do so.

From there, you feel they would have the best chance of winning. France lack experience, Spain are in off-field turmoil and Argentina are Lionel Messi or bust.

England will crash in the final 16 on penalties

This isn't a hot take more than a formality. England are poor at World Cups and even worse in penalty shootouts.

They'll most likely take on Colombia in the top 16 and lose. The UK media will then unfairly heap the blame on Raheem Sterling.


Sterling has been a great example of a professional athlete on and off the field, though he is always in the news for innocuous stuff.

The latest of which is him getting a tattoo of a gun on his leg, dedicating it to his dad who was shot and killed when Sterling was just two.

Media linked the stabbings of two teens to the tattoo just because the two played football.

Wouldn't it be great to see him succeed despite all the negative press? Absolutely, but he won't do it with England at this World Cup.

Neither Messi or Ronaldo will make the final

The Lionel Messi v Cristiano Ronaldo debate has dominated football for over a decade. Both have had unprecedented success on the club scene and will go down as two of the all-time greats.

But neither player has a World Cup title to their name. 2018 firms as likely the last chance for either of them to win it.

However a lack of talent around them will make this hill too tall to climb.

Tim Cahill will be denied a place in history by the crossbar

The 38-year-old striker has been the face of Australian football for four World Cup campaigns. He's scored in his first three and could potentially be just the fourth to score at four different tournaments.

But he won't - in dramatic fashion.

In their final pool match against Peru, Cahill will have a great look with about 15 minutes left on the clock. He'll beat the keeper but the framework will unfortunately deny him.

While the hours will be horrendous, sleep deprivation is a worthy price for the excitement of watching the World Cup (well, at least the knockout stages).