The 2022 FIFA World Cup is entering the homestretch with Sweet 16 thinned down to the Elite 8 by the time newspapers hit the stores today.
Saipan Tribune reached out to futball fanatics to find out their picks on who will eventually take home the Jules Rimet Trophy in the 22nd staging of the World Cup. Here are their picks:
“I have to pick Holland to finally win the World Cup because my family would disown me if I didn’t. Soccer is also the Netherlands’ national sport. In reality they probably make it to the final by the skins of their teeth and then cave in the final as is their modus operandi due to some silly call, snafu, or penalty kicks.
First they have to beat the U.S., Argentina, and most likely Brazil to play in the final against I am going to say France (both Holland and France have been somewhat untested in the pool play). France is looking pretty smooth…..so far only Italy and Brazil have managed to win back to back world cups. Holland is going to ruin the French party!
—Richard Sikkel, Saipan Swim Club coach
Of course, Japan because I’m Japanese. If the people don’t trust their home country to win, what country do the people trust to win then?
—Hiroyuki Kimura, Tsunami Saipan Swimming Center coach
Undecided. I am rooting for the Netherlands but I want Messi to win before he hangs up his cleats. Of course, Brazil and France are favorites. But this edition has been full of upsets and dramatic comebacks like what Japan did against Germany and Spain, and there’s also South Korea’s win over Portugal.
—Jon Perez, former Saipan Tribune reporter (Mark Rabago)
“Portugal of course. Why? [Cristiano] Ronaldo!”
—Mikky Vargas, NMIFA admin
“I’m going for the U.S. or Japan because they’re the underdogs…”
—Catherine Attao-Toves, Tan Holdings vice president for Corporate Affairs and Human Resources
“Japan! Because it’s an Asian country and we’re good friends with them.”
—Ross Zapanta, NMIFA general secretary
“The team I wanted to win is gone (Belgium) so now, Japan.”
—Jershwin Angeles, NMIFA coach
“Argentina because everyone has a heart for [Lionel] Messi.”
—Sebastien Manabat, Kanoa Football Club player (Leigh Gases)