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Here’s what will happen at the 2018 World Cup according to Football Manager

We've simulated the upcoming tournament and some of the results are very pleasing indeed

We’ve got World Cup fever and it seems the only cure is playing copious amounts of Football Manager until June. 

With a month to go until we don our England shirt and get all patriotic, we’ve decided to have a look at what will happen in Russia using our favourite football management game.

That’s right, we’ve simulated the entire tournament and we’ve got the results right here. 

No need to worry, Gareth

REUTERS
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No need to worry, Gareth

But before all of that, here’s who Gareth Southgate picked for his England squad. 

While we all know by now that the likes of Trent Alexander-Arnold and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are on the plane, in our simulation we see Michael Keane, Nathaniel Clyne, Danny Ings, Daniel Sturridge and Tom Heaton all getting the nod – probably because their real-life problems with form and fitness didn’t occur in the game.

However, we’re pleased to see there’s no place for the once immovable Joe Hart, which proves he’s just as authentically terrible on the game as he is in real life.

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DREAM TEAM WORLD CUP Click here to pre-register for this summer’s brilliant game


Group stages

GROUP A

Russia 

Egypt 

Uruguay 

Saudi Arabia

Russia are the big surprises here, topping their group by winning all three of their group games.

That’s what home advantage is for, eh?

We’d happily drink tea from this mug

Reuters
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We’d happily drink tea from this mug

Putin’s boys thrashed Saudi Arabia 5-1 in the opener and followed that with a 3-0 win over Egypt, with West Ham target Fyodor Smolov scoring all three goals.

As we expected, Mohamed Salah is the big hero for the Egyptians, helping them draw with Uruguay before inspiring them to a big win over the Saudi’s.

That means Luis Suarez, Edison Cavani and the other Uruguay boys are out at the first hurdle.

GROUP B 

Spain 

Portugal

Morocco 

Iran

We’d be willing to put quite a large sum of money on Group B going to Spain and Portugal, and not even Football Manager could deny us that.

The ones to watch this summer

AFP or licensors
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The ones to watch this summer

Spain thrashed their neighbours 3-0 in the opener and went onto win the two group games as well, while Cristiano Ronaldo was on target in Portugal’s remaining games as they finished runners-up.

GROUP C

Denmark 

France

Peru 

Australia 

We were hardly surprised by the team’s that made it out of Group C, but France missing out on the top spot was a bit of surprise.

Denmark – who’ll be relying heavily on Spurs midfield Christian Eriksen this summer – won all of their games, while France finished strongly by beating Australia 4-0 after their opening game defeat to the Danes.

Great Dane

AP:Associated Press
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Great Dane

GROUP D

Croatia 

Argentina

Nigeria

Iceland

Every tournament has a so-called ‘Group of Death’ and it appears this is the one in Russia.

Best player at the World Cup this summer?

AP:Associated Press
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Best player at the World Cup this summer?

Argentina – on paper at least – look to be the strongest of the four, but we’re also very excited by this Croatia side, and they’re the two to make it through.

GROUP E

Serbia

Brazil 

Costa Rica

Swtizerland

Another interesting group, with the runners-up spot very much up for grabs between Serbia, Costa Rica and Switzerland – while Brazil look nailed-on as group winners.

Not here though, it seems.

So good they put his face on houses

REUTERS
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So good they put his face on houses

Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic helped Serbia finish as table-toppers, with Brazil’s defeat to Costa Rica denying them the top spot.

GROUP F

Germany

Sweden 

Mexico

South Korea

The one to watch

AP:Associated Press
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The one to watch

We reckon tournament dark-horses Sweden and Mexico will be fighting it out for the runners-up spot in Group F, while we’re secretly hoping Spurs’ Son Heung-min can inspire a group surprise for South Korea.

But we can’t look beyond Germany to top this one and they duly deliver.

GROUP G

England

Belgium

Tunisia

Panama

We’re very happy to see England top their group, getting the better of Belgium’s so-called ‘Golden Generation’.

Boy wonder

PA:Press Association
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Boy wonder

Goals from Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford make the difference in the clash between the two, while Roberto Martinez’s side secure the runner’s up spot with an 8-0 hammering of Panama.

GROUP H

Colombia

Poland

Senegal 

Japan

We loved Colombia at the last World Cup, thanks largely to the brilliance of James Rodriguez.

And they progress from Group H with relative ease, with Robert Lewandowski’s Poland finishing behind them.

Excitement level

Reuters
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Excitement level

First knockout round

Russia v Portugal 

Egypt v Spain

Denmark v Argentina

Croatia v France

Sweden v Serbia

Germany v Brazil

Poland v England

Belgium v Colombia 

There’s some standout games here, with Germany v Brazil – a repeat of the infamous 2014 semi-final – the pick of the bunch.

Once again, using that home advantage, Russia got the better of Euro 2016 winners Portugal, denying Cristiano Ronaldo in what’s surely his final World Cup appearance.

More misery

Splash News
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More misery

Costa and Juan Mata were on target for Spain in their win over Egypt, while Lionel Messi got his first goal of the tournament as Argentina beat Denmark 4-2.

France collapsed against Croatia in a 1-0 defeat, thanks to a goal from Juve’s Mario Mandzukic.

Former Man City man Matija Nastasic was one of the guys on target for Serbia in their win over Sweden, while Germany were a little easier on Brazil this time around, winning just 2-0.

Belgium’s underwhelming campaign finished at the hands of Colombia, with Radamel Falcao on target.

Curler

AP:Associated Press
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Curler

As for England?

They went out via a penalty shootout, of course.

Having put their fans through 120 minutes of goalless misery against Poland, Rashford and Danny Rose both missed their respective spot-kicks to send us crashing out.

Southgate then announces his immediate resignation from the national team and we all go back to living our lives.

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Quarter-final

Russia v Croatia

Spain v Argentina 

Serbia v Colombia

Germany v Poland

Russia’s excellent tournament finally ended at the hands of Croatia, with Liverpool’s Dejan Lovren the surprise match winner.

Argentina got the better of Spain – completely going back on their real-life 6-1 friendly defeat recently – with a 4-2 win, as Juve duo Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala both scored twice.

Not a bad double-act, eh?

AP:Associated Press
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Not a bad double-act, eh?

The biggest rivalry of the final eight was Germany v Poland, which ended in a stunning 4-4 draw that Germany won on penalties, while Serbia reached the semi-final for the first since 1962 – back when they were known as Yugoslavia.

Semi-final

Croatia v Germany

Argentina v Serbia

It was all set up for a Germany against Argentina in the final, but that’s not what we got with Croatia beating the champions 1-0 – this time thanks to a certain Luka Modric.

Playmaker

AFP or licensors
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Playmaker

Serbia’s Milinkovic-Savic was on target against Argentina, but his tournament-long brilliance wasn’t enough to get the better of Messi and Dybala – who both netted in their 2-1 win.

Argentina’s first World Cup win since 1986 is on.

Final

Croatia v Argentina 

Well, well, well.

Argentina made easy-work of Croatia, smashing them in a 5-1 win.

That’s right, 5-1.

They’re Messi’s hands, I assure you

AFP or licensors
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They’re Messi’s hands, I assure you

And while we all expect Messi to be Argentina’s hero this summer, it was Dybala who was the man of the match in the final by scoring four goals – which was enough for that all-important Golden Boot award.

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So there we have it and we can only really use our imagination from this point.

Dybala will likely move to Real Madrid, Messi will announce his retirement and England will hire Sean Dyche as their new manager.

It all makes perfect sense.


Dream Team World Cup has landed

The greatest show on Earth just got that bit more exciting.

That’s because the Dream Team World Cup game is coming ahead of this summer’s tournament.

Dream Team World Cup

Can Messi finally achieve glory internationally?

Getty Images - Getty
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Can Messi finally achieve glory internationally?

The game officially launches on June 1but you can pre-register for the game now.

If you’re an existing Dream Team customer the World Cup game now appears in the app or you can enter here, but if you’re not follow these simple steps:

  • Download the Dream Team app
  • Create an account
  • Click on the World Cup banner below in the app and follow the pre-registration instructions

From Russia with a whole lot of love.

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