On the eve of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, we turned to “FIFA 18” and its new World Cup mode for a simulation to get an idea of what to expect in Russia.
The World Cup was recently added to “FIFA 18” as free, downloadable update. It includes playable tournaments both offline and online and new Ultimate Team content.
Brazil and Germany enter the tournament as the favorites to raise the trophy come the Final, which will be held July 15th. Here, though, is how “FIFA 18” sees the group stage and knockout rounds playing out.
Group A: Russia, Uruguay
Group B: Portugal, Spain
Group C: France, Denmark
Group D: Croatia, Argentina
Group E: Brazil, Switzerland
Group F: Germany, Sweden
Group G: England, Belgium
Group H: Columbia, Poland
There was only one big surprise in the group stage — Mexico failing to advance.
Mexico has the second best odds to get out of Group F, only slightly above Sweden, so the shocker is more about Mexico finishing behind South Korea, which actually tied Sweden in points but missed out due to goal differential. Denmark was the only other nation that needed goal differential to advance, with Peru having matched it in points.
Among minor upsets from the group stage: Portugal topped Group B with Spain the runner-up, and Croatia won Group D over Argentina.
Thomas Lemar (France) led all goal scorers with four in the round.
In the Round of 16, France had a tough first opponent in Argentina but won easily, shutting out Lionel Messi and Co. Poland upset England, and Portugal survived in penalties over Uruguay.
The quarterfinals saw France beat Spain in a matchup between two of the best teams in the tournament. Portugal cruised over Croatia, Brazil beat Poland and Germany advanced on penalties against Belgium.
In the semifinals, which featured three of the top four teams based on odds (along with Portugal), both matches went to penalty kicks. France prevailed over Brazil, and Portugal upset Germany.
France then met Portugal in the Final. A goal by Kylian Mbappé put the French ahead in the 10th minute. Portugal answered back in the 31st when João Mário scored his seventh goal of the tournament off a rebound. France controlled the rest of the match with goals coming in the 43rd (Paul Pogba) and 59th (Antoine Griezmann).
The simulation resulted in an impressive run by France, which had to beat the No. 5, No. 3 and No. 1 teams in terms of odds just to reach the Final. The only break France got was not having to face Germany, but it still had to defeat Cristiano Ronaldo and the leading scorer of the tournament, João Mário.
Golden Ball — Antoine Griezmann (France)
Golden Boot — João Mário (Portugal)
Golden Glove — Hugo Lloris (France)
Bryan Wiedey posts sports gaming news and analysis daily at Pastapadre.com, is co-founder of the sports gaming site HitThePass.com, hosts the “Press Row Podcast” and can be reached on Twitter @Pastapadre.