Ahead of World Cup, Students React to U.S.’s Absence

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Source: skysports.com

Nick McAdam, Staff Writer

Excitement for the upcoming World Cup in Russia has continued to grow as 3.2 billion people are predicted to watch this year’s tournament, according to CNN. That number equates to 46 percent of the world watching the tournament.

The World Cup will feature an array of high-tech stadiums in Russia with 32 teams set to compete. The combined expenses to cover the competing teams and design the stadiums could cost the country up to $10 billion, according to a recent study by CNN.

At this year’s competition, there will be one noticeable absence: the United States. Despite going 0-1-8 in all international competitions, Trinidad & Tobago knocked off the U.S. with a 2-1 victory last October.

The loss marked the first time the Americans have failed to qualify for the World Cup since 1986. In a search for answers to why this happened, former United States player Eddie Johnson said on Twitter that success starts with youth and younger athletes receiving better coaching and development.

With the U.S.’s discouraging absence, The Tangerine asked Utica College students if they were still excited for this year’s World Cup tournament.

Utica’s Elizabeth Darling believes the U.S. has made no significant strides since its upset loss.

“They fired their manager, and that’s about all I have seen,” Darling said. “It will take years for me to take soccer seriously again for the United States.”

Some optimism is shared for the U.S., as they have put in a bid to host the 2026 World Cup. Utica sophomore Kassidy Krenzer believes this will help spark the growth of the game in the United States.

“There’s a lot to be down about now,” Krenzer said. “Hopefully with the right finances, the U.S. will be able to host the games a few years from now. I think that will bring a lot of hope for fans of the men’s team to get back into the World Cup.”

The U.S. has reportedly been asked to share the bid with Canada and Mexico as combined expenses for the 2026 World Cup could be triple the cost of what Russia is set to pay.

Among the 32 teams to win the World Cup, returning champion Germany was given the highest betting odds to win again, according to ESPN. The 2014 World Cup winners seem to stand alone as Brazil chances dropped significantly due to a recent injury to superstar Neymar.

However, freshman Wyatt Cayer still believes Brazil has a good chance without its superstar.

“Brazil has a lot of talent all over to really push them through without Neymar,” Cayer said. “They just can’t choke like they did four years ago in the semifinals to Germany.”

In 2014, Germany beat Brazil 7-1 in what was basically a road game as the World Cup was hosted by Brazil. Germany scored four goals in a span of 20 minutes in the match after Neymar was injured earlier in the tournament.

Among every World Cup cycle comes a surprise team in the group stage. This year, many look to Egypt to pull off an upset or two as Mohamed Salah is in good form. The Liverpool striker has over 40 goals this season, and scored a game-winner against Manchester City to send them out of the Champions League.

Egypt will be put in a group with the likes of Uruguay and Russia and was given a 150-1 chance just to make it out of the group.

Among the big storylines to watch is the play of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo looks to be catching up to Messi in terms of trophies as the Portugal national won his fifth Ballon d’Or trophy as the best male athlete in soccer last season.

Internationally, Messi has not won any trophy with Argentina. Ronaldo won the Euro 2016 with Portugal, but freshman Lindsey Rasmussen said that it doesn’t mean much.

“Messi still has a better chance with Argentina,” Rasmussen said. “There’s more support around him with Paulo Dybala and Gonzalo Higuain. Ronaldo is carrying his country on his back, and if he gets injured they’re as good as out.”

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