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The Balls.ie Team Make An Outlandish Prediction - World Cup Edition

The Balls.ie Team Make An Outlandish Prediction - World Cup Edition
By Gavin Cooney Updated

You may be familiar with our Premier League tradition of meandering around the office seeking outlandish prediction for the season ahead. These have mostly proved to be hideously wide of the mark (but please be advised this writer correctly predicted that Jose Enrique would quit Instagram citing football commitments ahead of the 2015/16 season).

Nonetheless, we are back this time around with a special World Cup edition. Get in touch with your own, and make them as creative (and unlikely) as possible.

Paul McGoldrick - Substantial Loss to Leitrim GAA 

Russia to get ridiculously far in the tournament, heavily aided by VAR

This might not appear as a "mad" prediction given the Russians history of questionable ethical practices at major sporting events. Much like South Korea's memorable 2002 World Cup campaign that saw them grab highly controversial wins over Spain and Italy and saw them finish third I would be very surprised if Russia don't experience a similarly suspicious campaign. Unlike South Korea, who relied heavily on their games being played on "Fouls: Off" mode, Russia have the advantage of the newly introduced, batshit-incompetent VAR system to help them along the way. I would bet good money that VAR will aid Russia heavily at least twice. At the very least, VAR will throw up a few questionable decisions, but I expect the majority of them to be in favour of Mother Russia.

Also, France to win with Griezmann top scorer, and Neymar to have a terrible tournament. Put it all on black.

Mark Farrelly - Man of the World (but mostly Cavan) 

Son Heung-min will score two goals against Brazil in a heroic 3-2 last 16 defeat and Oliver Giroud will score the winner in the World Cup final.

Mark my words, on Monday, July 2nd, Tottenham Hotspur's Son Heung-min will score twice against Brazil. While the South Koreans will still suffer a glorious defeat, Son will have brought us much joy by the time Brazil - using the spirit of the samba - bag the winner in the 85th minute.

Moving onto the final and there is no way Oliver Giroud is not scoring the winning goal for France. The handsome bastard will simply give the Adidas Telstar 18 a wink and smile, sending the ball veering into the top corner, as the French reach the promised land once again. Arsenal fans will weep as they watch Giroud go from Gunners substitute to an FA Cup and World Cup winner in the space of six months. 'Sacré bleu!' they'll say as Giroud signs a deal with NASA to become the footballer to get to visit space, in the wake of his final exploits. 'Ce n'est pas juste!' they'll scream as he goes on to win the Puskas, Ballon d'Or and Noble Prize for Literature. 'Ooh la la' they'll exclaim as he signs Calvin Klein's biggest modelling deal. This is Giroud's World Cup, we're merely bearing witness to it.

Mick McCarthy - Might have overthought this 

The first marriage separation of the 2018 World Cup will be reported shortly after Day 3 of the tournament, a beautiful summer Saturday in June. 

Your arrival at the in-laws' anniversary BBQ has already been pre-negotiated for 1.30pm, significantly later than the rest of the family, due to your outright insistence that an 11amWorld Cup match between France and Australia cannot be missed under any circumstances.
The only problem is, you haven't thought this through.

After three cans, and an easy 3-0 victory for the French, the looming arrival of Leo Messi at the 2018 World Cup is suddenly right in front of you, and with Iceland, the darlings of the competition, providing the opponents, a serious reluctance to leave the house comes over you. You decide there's no point in going anywhere until at least 3pm.

Though angry, your jilted spouse agrees to this selfish change of plan and makes arrangements with the family to arrive late.

However, by the time Argentina scrape to a 2-1 victory in the best game of the World Cup so far, World Cup Fever has well and truly kicked in, and there's no way you're missing Peru vs Denmark for any money, BBQs, or marriages in the world. The five cans consumed since the end of the France match is now be combining with the World Cup Fever to form a dangerous form of delirium. You are no longer responsible for your actions.

That game finishes in a 0-0 draw. You finally agree it's time to go, until you realise you're now alone in the house. The fever has subsided now, and you're not quite sure how long it is since they've left the house.

You send an apologetic text before finishing the rest of the beer and watching Croatia beat Nigeria 1-0. During Kenny Cunningham's analysis, you fall asleep on the sofa.

The next day, your father-in-law arrives to pick up some essentials. You're very hungover and can't quite believe your marriage could be over. You need to make this right, immediately...

But Costa Rica vs. Serbia starts in a few minutes.

Eoin Lyons - You've seen him in that Saorview ad

Mohamed Salah will fail to score a single world cup goal
With the hopes of a nation on his back (and recently injured shoulder), Mohamed Salah will fail to fire against Uruguay in Egypt's opening game. The forward will be bullied by Diego Godin and Liverpool reject Sebastian Coates as the South Americans win out thanks to strikes from Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez.

In Egypt's next match against Russia, the Liverpool star will hit the post and also have several penalty claims denied, as the officiating is roundly criticised amid accusations of corruption. Russia will win the game thanks to a dubious offside call.

Egypt's final game against Saudi Arabia will be a dead rubber with Uruguay and Russia on six points, but a mentally and physically drained Salah will fail to get on the scoresheet again as the Saudi's double up on the 25-year-old to secure a 0-0, meaning that Russia and Uruguay go through to the knockout round.

A devastated Salah returns to Merseyside early with Real Madrid hesitant to bid for the forward following a disappointing World Cup campaign Salah decides to stay at Anfield for another season and after much deliberating and soul-searching on his recent Champions League and World Cup failures, the former Roma player vows to come back stronger.

A rested and rejuvenated Salah returns to the Premier League action with Liverpool in August and manages to put his recent woes behind him as Liverpool go on to claim their first League title in 29 years.

PJ Browne - Liked Kerry hurling before it was cool 

Putin it all on the line

After a series of controversial goals and referee decisions get them through the group stages and Portugal have three players sent-off in their last-16 game, Russia progress to a quarter-final against France. The game finishes 0-0 with France having two goals disallowed by VAR. Vladimir Putin - cunningly disguised as Artem Dzyuba - brings himself on with the penalty shootout looming. 'Dzyuba' misses his penalty and despite a ten-minute protestation that Hugo Lloris moved from his goal line before the penalty was taken, the referee refuses to award it. France win the game. The officials are taken from the pitch Martin Sludden-style and go into hiding. Not even their families know of their location.

Donny Mahoney - Russian sympathiser

Cristiano Ronaldo will self-combust after a goal against either Morocco or Iran

The sight of Cristiano Ronaldo's arms and torso after the incredible penalty he scored against Juventus in the Champions League quarter-final was truly disturbing. He flexed and looked like a middling mid-90s WWF superstar. The penalty was a crowning career moment after all of Juve's skulduggery, but he flexed and a great moment became gross.

It was proof that Ronaldo's physique is under phenomenal stress as it tries to cope with his grandeur as a creature.

Sadly, the strain of a likely final World Cup will be too much for Ronaldo's body this year. Ronaldo's body will explode after a goal against either Iran or Morocco, likely a beautifully struck goal, as the lethal combination of charisma, ego and ability become too much for any human to bear and like an ant under a magnifying glass on a hot day, flames will pour out of his nostrils, ears and fingertips.

Gavin Cooney - Did he mention he's got one of these right before? 

Loris Karius to rebuild his flayed reputation and end the tournament as a national hero

Had Loris Karius not tossed a third straight Champions League straight to Madrid, perhaps an unfulfilled Zinedine Zidane would never have left his job. Therefore, Real wouldn't have had to announce Julen Lopetegui two days before the World Cup, and the Spanish FA would have avoided self-immolating by sacking him a day before the finals. It was easy to see a Lopetegui-led Spain sailing serenely to the final, knocking out Germany en route. Now, however, the Champions' main stumbling block has  blown itself up and it is almost entirely down to the actions of Germany native, Loris Karius.

After Brazil are beaten 6-1 in the final (the Selecao have improved, in fairness to them) Karius is recognised for what he is: a selfless national icon who did more than most to ensure Germany's triumph and will be rewarded as Germany reward all of their great names: by being invited to organise a future World Cup.

Plus, with Sergio Ramos humiliated by a combination of Spain's Karius-triggered exit and the fact VAR will catch a few of his straight elbows, a schadenfreude-filled Mo Salah will feel sufficiently emboldened to persuade Liverpool to give Karius another shot.

Ultimately, he will be rewarded as Liverpool reward all of their great names: by being invited into a television studio to explain how shite the current Liverpool squad are compared to those from his day.

Brian Reynolds - Felt Leeds should have given Bielsa more time

Peru to get to the semi-finals and Paolo Guerrero to be tournament top scorer

Back it.


See Also: The Staggered Reaction To Spain Sacking Their Manager A Day Before The World Cup

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