Fifa World Cup has always been dominated by the traditional powerhouses of football. Brazil, Italy, Germany, Argentina, Uruguay, France, England and Spain have been the countries who have won the World Cup so far.
Brazil have won the World Cup 5 times followed by Italy and Germany, who have won it 4 times.
However, in Fifa World Cup 2018, the status quo has changed so far. There is some kind of football anti-incumbency going on with the big teams getting eliminate against the so-called smaller opposition. Argentina was humiliated in the first round by Croatia, which is the reason they faced France in quarterfinals leading to their early exit. Spain were knocked by the host Russia in the round of 16.
There has also been the rise of new strong teams in the case of Belgium. Belgium thrashed the cup favourites Brazil, which had the likes of Neymar and Coutinho. They are one of those teams which have evolved as the tournament progressed and have learnt from their mistakes especially after the Japan game, where they had to come back from a two-goal deficit.
The question arises: Will we see a new winner in this year's Fifa World Cup or at least a new finalist?
Well, it is not that improbable.
No clear favourites?
In the semi-finals due to be played, on July 10, France are set to take on Belgium in the semi-finals after eliminating Uruguay with a 2-0 triumph. France have always been a footballing stronghold but as we have seen in this World Cup, reputation precedes determination. Belgium are a strong side on paper and play as a total unit. They have good players in all department led by the brilliance of EdHazardard and Kevin De Bryune with an experienced defensive backing.
In the 2nd semi-final, Croatia will face England. England have been playing well in this World Cup so far on a consistent basis but Croatia have been a cohesive unit. So there is no clear favourite in the 2nd semi-final as well. England had a comfortable victory against Sweden in their quarterfinal match whereas Croatia had to fight with Russia to win the game in penalties.
Regarding the issue of favourites, France defender Raphael Varane gave his opinion that there are no sure favourites to win the ongoing FIFA World Cup.
The Real Madrid defender said winning the 2018 World Cup would not be easy, in a tournament where "there are no favourites" since "all the remaining teams are strong."
The 25-year-old said France expect "a very difficult game" against Belgium, adding that his relatively young French squad "will have to give the best of ourselves" and that they are looking to show their "growth" and "maturity".
So what are the odds that can happen?
There is even a possibility that the final can be played between Belgium and Croatia, where we will see first-time runners-up and a winner.
Even for England, they have progressed into the semi-finals of the World Cup for only the third time, having also done so in 1966 and 1990. The young English squad deviates from their traditional approach of putting only high profile players in the national team.
The most ideal and traditional line-up for the final would be France vs England, but we should not disregard the chances of Croatia and Belgium.
The results as well the build-up to the World Cup have demonstrated that there has been a power shift. Not in terms of player generation but in terms of approaching bigger tournaments with emphasis given mostly on total team play rather than individual stars and excellence.