By Zhang Ziyun and Zhou Chang HEFEI,
China (Xinhua) -- Five of the biggest
names in football previewed the upcoming 2018 FIFA World
Cup as they attended the 2018 G-EXPO Global Football Summit in
Bengbu, China’s Anhui province on Wednesday.
Alessandro del Piero, Carlo Ancelotti, Ruud Gullit and
Alessandro Costacurta all gave their predictions ahead of
football’s biggest extravaganza.
vice-president of the Italian Football Association, said that he
had just met with the French football team last week and that he
is optimistic that France will win the trophy.
“They have speed,
cooperation, good players and a perfect combination. Many of the
French players are talented, passionate and have a good team
spirit,” Costacurta said.
“England will always
be my first choice,” says former England captain Beckham.
Beckham says he wants to see England play against Brazil in the
World Cup final and predicts that England, Brazil, France and
Argentina are going to make it to the semifinals.
Italian legend Del
Piero said that Germany and Brazil will make it to the final
stages of the tournament. “This World Cup may surprise us, my
favorites are Brazil and Spain, but some other teams are also
good, like France, Germany and Argentina,” Del Piero said.
For many the battle
between Argentina’s Lionel Messi and Portugal’s Cristiano
Ronaldo is where the focus will be. However, the presence of
rising superstars like Neymar and Mohamed Salah might challenge
the dominance of two of the greatest players of all time.
When asked about
which players they are most excited to see, Beckham, Ancelotti
and Costacurta all said they are looking forward to the battle
between Messi and Ronaldo.
“Messi and Ronaldo
both did very well last season, they are very talented and I am
looking forward to their performances this time,” Beckham said.
Del Piero hopes the
2018 World Cup can be Messi’s World Cup. “Every World Cup brings
us a lot of good players and surprises. I hope this World Cup
will be Messi’s World Cup. Argentina lost the last World Cup
final, but Messi deserves to win the honor with his country,”
Del Piero said.
Ancelotti was quick
to point out that there are also other superstars on the
horizon. “Over the past few years, Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo
occupied the football field. Neymar’s performance was good this
season, although he has just recovered from injury. He prepared
well for the World Cup, I expect him to provide some
surprises,” Ancelotti said.
Euro 1988 winner
Gullit took the time to single out one of France’s brightest
stars. “I’m very optimistic about Kylian Mbappe, he has been
doing well and I think he can have a great showing in Russia,”
As a loyal England
supporter, Beckham praised England’s best player. “Last season,
Harry Kane had a very great performance. He is an outstanding
player, I’m looking forward to his performance in Russia,”
From a technical
point of view, Ancelotti says teams need to find a balance
between defense and attack. The coach singled out Brazil as a
team that has struck this balance perfectly.