Ahead of arguably the biggest sporting event in the world, official sponsor EA Sports has released their predictions for the FIFA World Cup 2018 in Russia, by simulating the games over the length of the tournament using their flagship product FIFA 18. The simulation featured an all-European semifinals, with France defeating Belgium and Germany defeating Spain.
The simulated France-Germany final went to penalties, with the French prevailing 4–3 from the spot. France striker Antoine Griezmann and Spanish midfielder Isco were projected as the top goalscorers of the tournament with five goals a piece. Golden Boot winner Antoine Griezmann was also named the best player of the tournament after consistently putting on a scintillating show with France.
Spain may have been eliminated in the semifinal, but goalkeeper David De Gea earned himself the Golden Glove Award for his phenomenal performance between the sticks in Russia. The Spaniard is among the best goalkeepers in the upcoming tournament and it comes as a surprise to no one following his exploits in the Premier League with Manchester United.
However, bizzarely, EA Sports also went on to add that Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal and Lionel Messi's Argentina would both be knocked out in the Round of 16, the same as England, the first time under manager Gareth Southgate, who has made a few controversial decisions in his team selection.
"The first knockout stage saw a handful of surprising results, but most of the tournament favorites continued on their way to the quarterfinals. Brazil hammered Sweden 4-0, continuing their assault on the ghosts of 2014 at every opportunity," the EA Sports website said.
"The two best players in the world suffered narrow defeats with their respective countries as Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal fell 2-1 to Uruguay and Lionel Messi's Argentina were blanked 1-0 by France. England met a familiar fate, losing 5-4 in a penalty shootout with Colombia to make an early exit."
Belgium, the dark horses of the tournament, made it to the semi-finals, while defeating favourites Brazil in a 2-0 win. France, Germany and Spain also made it to the last four, with France and holding Champions Germany making it to the finals. France emerged the eventual winners after the final whistle, coming out on top with a 4-3 shootout result after it got to penalties.