Every four years football experts around the world make their predictions for the FIFA Football World Cup. In the countdown to the football tournament in Russia, Paralympic.org has asked for the analysis of a very special football pundit. Brazil’s blind football star Jefinho, one of the greatest 5-a-side football players of all times.
Born with glaucoma and completely blind by the age of 7, Jefinho began playing football at 10 and had his first call-up to Brazil’s football 5-a-side national team in 2006. Since then he has helped his country winning three Paralympic gold medals and right now is in Madrid where the Brazilians will try to clinch their fifth world title in the IBSA Blind Football World Championships that kicks off on Thursday (7 June).
Unless he is playing or practicing, Jefinho will also try to follow all the action in Russia and he will probably surprise his countrymen and make the Spanish hosts happy with his predictions for the World Cup.
“In my opinion, Brazil, France, Germany and Spain are the four strongest teams right now and the teams I think will make it to the semi-finals. But Spain are a bit ahead of the rest as they are playing the best football among the four right now. So, if I had to bet on one of them, it would be Spain,” said Jefinho.
The final is still more than a month away, but with exactly one week to go until the action kicks off in Russia, Jefinho begins his predictions with Group H: Colombia, Japan, Poland and Senegal.
Jefinho’s predictions, Group H:
“Colombia are the favourites here as they have a strong team and count with James Rodriguez again playing great football and Radamel Falcao who will finally have the chance to play the World Cup. But this is probably the most difficult group to predict. Poland have Robert Lewandowski but he is the only reference and this might not be enough. Japan can cause some surprise but I see them behind the other teams in the group. Traditionally there is always one African team to excel and this time I believe in Sadio Mane’s Senegal. They will be only African team to go beyond group stage.”
Who qualifies for the round of 16:
“Colombia first and Senegal second.”
Colombia v Japan
Poland v Senegal
Japan v Senegal
Poland v Colombia
Senegal v Colombia
Japan v Poland