Football fans predict semifinalists as FIFA World Cup fever grips Hyderabad

Deccan Chronicle.  | Indrajeet Devulapally

Sports, Football

Australia's Harry Souttar, left, and Argentina's Nicolas Otamendi, right, fight for the ball during the World Cup round of 16 soccer match between Argentina and Australia at the Ahmad Bin Ali Stadium in Doha, Qatar, Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022. (File photo: AP)

HYDERABAD: With the ongoing Fifa World Cup 2022 reaching the Last 8, and Brazil taking on Croatia in the first quarterfinal scheduled on Friday, excited football fans in Hyderabad are cheering hard for their favourite teams.

The tournament has seen some major upsets: Saudi Arabia beating Argentina, Japan overcoming former holder Germany, which exited the tournament, France’s shocking defeat against Tunisia.

Abhimanyu Sharma, a chartered accountant, was sad that his favourite Spain had to bow out but is now rooting for Argentina. “Spain losing out is a major disappointment, but now I’m cheering for Argentina. I love Lionel Messi and I want Argentina to win the World Cup for the legend,” Abhimanyu said.

Abhimanyu Sharma

On being asked about his prediction for the semi-final line-up, he said it would be Argentina, Brazil, France and Portugal.

Former national footballer P. Prakash Rao, who now plays for SBI, said Brazil, Portugal and Argentina would enter the semifinal along with Morocco or France. “My favourite team is Brazil. I am sure they will lift the cup and script history,” he added. Brazil has won the cup five times, the highest for any country.

P. Prakash Rao

Ahmik Ispahani, a student, who has not had the opportunity to watch live streaming arranged in sports bars and clubs across the city, predicted a Portugal v Argentina final in which he wanted to cheer for his favourite player Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ahmik Ispahani

Thushar Ashok Nadagouda, another Messi fan, also predicted that Argentina, France,  Brazil and Portugal would enter the semis but hoped that Argentina would cross the line to give Messi a grand gift as this World Cup could possibly be his last.

Thushar Ashok Nadagouda

“Argentina, Brazil, England and Portugal,” predicted Saumeet Chakraborty who also wanted to see Messi lift the cup.

Saumeet Chakraborty

While Messi seemed to be the crowd favourite, most football fans are sure of Argentina and Brazil making it to the semis while others thought that France, England and Portugal are also great contenders to be in the top 4.