Lionel Messi is so desperate to win the World Cup with Argentina that he would trade success with Barcelona to triumph in Russia this summer.
Spearheaded by Barcelona forward Luis Suarez, two-time World Cup winners Uruguay are the favorites in Group A at the 2018 tournament, but hosts Russia will fancy their chances of qualifying in the top two after a kind draw.
Written off and mocked, the Brazilian midfielder is enjoying a new lease of life with Barcelona – paving the way for a shot at the 2018 World Cup.
Turkey’s ambitions of making an impact at the European Championship will rest largely on their captain. However, the former Galatasaray midfielder has not enjoyed the best of seasons at Camp Nou.
The Panenka discusses whether the player shouldering the majority of his country’s hope in France can bounce back from a difficult year in Spain.
This time four years ago we were sat around calling one of the best teams in the history of football boring because a) they won all the time and b) were so good that it wasn’t fair. Fast forward to today and after a disastrous 2014 World Cup in Brazil, Spain’s untouchable reputation has somehow been reduced to rubble. Despite all this, the reigning champions will undoubtedly be difficult to stop and anyone who pulls La Roja out the hat in the office sweepstake will have every reason to be confident.
Turkey have a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde reputation in world football ranging from the magnificent achievements of finishing third at the 2002 World Cup and making it to the Semi-finals of Euro 2008 to not even qualifying at all. They’re up against some understandably high expectations given the caliber of both the players they produce and the improving level of the domestic league. Turkey also has the eyes of the world upon them for political reasons at the moment. The team and fans alike will be under pressure to give a good account of themselves at Euro 2016 because of the government’s pending application for EU membership.