The 2018 World Cup kicks off June 14 in Moscow, Russia. Brazil, Germany, Spain, Argentina, France are favored. Belgium could surprise. Peru is back. Iceland, Panama make debuts. Not there: the United States, Italy, Netherlands, Chile.
There is little question Colombia and Poland will advance from Group H in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The question is, in which order? Colombia, which reached the quarters in 2014, is led by James Rodriguez. Poland's Robert Lewandowski is a scoring machine.
Germany will try to defend its 2014 World Cup title with veterans Mesut Ozil and Thomas Muller. Mexico is back for the seventh time in a row. Sweden and South Korea round out Group F in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Belgium could win it all with English Premier League stars Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard, Kevin DeBruyne. England, in the post-Wayne Rooney era, hopes to make it past the Round of 16. Panama, Tunisia are long shots in Group G of the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
The 2018 FIFA World Cup Group D is highlighted by Argentina, which is led by Barcelona star Lionel Messi, aiming for his first World Cup trophy. The Argentines are expected to advance, but must survive the Group of Death with Croatia, 2016 Euro Cup Cinderella Iceland and Nigeria.
Brazil is eager for redemption after the humiliating 7-1 loss at home to Germany in 2014. A big question is whether Neymar will be healthy after surgery. Costa Rica, Switzerland and Serbia to battle for second in Group E in the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Miami FC, which knocked off two MLS teams last summer to reach the U.S. Open Cup quarterfinals, is back with a new name, new coach, new players, same approach. They play their opener on Sunday at Tropical Park.
Four of the world's most famous teams — Real Madrid, Manchester United, Manchester City, Bayern Munich — will play at Hard Rock Stadium in July as part of the International Champions Cup. Also, a women's tournament was added.
The Qatar World Cup organizers are in Miami promoting the 2022 event, which has been the target of criticism. Miami Heat and Dolphins players will test their soccer skills at the Qatar-U.S. Roadshow at Bayfront Park.
Carlos Cordeiro of Miami Beach, a 61-year-old Colombian-Portuguese immigrant, was elected president of U.S. Soccer on Saturday. He replaces Sunil Gulati, who ran the federation for the past two decades.
Michelle Kaufman grew up in Miami and graduated from UM in 1987. She has worked at the St. Petersburg Times and the Detroit Free Press and has been with the Miami Herald since 1996. She has covered 13 Olympics and 6 World Cups.