Who would Malaysian footballers Syed Adney, Khairul Fahmi and Stuart Wark root for at the World Cup? Do they have a favourite team or player they would be cheering for?
Syed, who is a fan of Liverpool FC picked England. “Always England,” he adds.
Khairul who follows Bayern Munich will be cheering on the German team and Stuart, a Manchester United supporter will be rooting for Brazil. “I’ve always liked Brazil,” he says with a smile.
Which teams do they think will make it and face off in the finals? Syed feels that Belgium, who is the underdog may make it but thinks that it will probably be Germany and Brazil. “The dream would be England,” he adds but he also thinks that France has a great shot.
Stuart agrees. “Yeah, France and Germany, or France and Brazil.”
What about players we should look out for? “Mohamed Salah,” says Syed. “After what he did at the Premier League, everyone is waiting for him to go to the World Cup,” he adds.
Salah famously scored the most goals (an impressive 34 goals) in the 2017/18 season, beating the likes of Ronaldo and Luis Suarez – the previous record holders for most goals scored.
Stuart will also be keeping an eye on Salah too. “That’s the thing though, with the pressure he is under, can he perform well at the top level? Can he go all the way to the top?” Stuart wonders.
“I think he can,” Syed says. “Do you remember what he did in the last minute penalty he had to score? That took him to the World Cup. I think for him, pressure is nothing.” Salah scored a last-minute penalty goal for Egypt against Congo, that qualified the team for the World Cup. The first World Cup entry for Egypt since 1990.
“Messi as well,” suggests Stuart. “It’s the only thing he has not won so far. So all eyes are going to be on him.” Stuart adds that Lionel Messi has always been compared to football great Maradona and the legend has won the World Cup (the controversial Hand of God incident against England in 1986), so this will be the time for Messi to prove himself.
This article first appeared in the June 2018 issue of UNRESERVED.