Soccer

Belgium could win it all, Rooney-less England hopes to get past Round of 16

Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku, shown here during a 2017 English Premier League game against West Ham, is one of several EPL stars on the Belgium World Cup team.
Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku, shown here during a 2017 English Premier League game against West Ham, is one of several EPL stars on the Belgium World Cup team. AP

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World Cup group previews

Miami Herald soccer writer Michelle Kaufman breaks down each group in the 2018 FIFA World Cup and selects her top two teams that will advance out of the group stage.

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The 2018 World Cup is less than a month away, with the opening game June 14 in Moscow. Watch out for a loaded Belgium team which should win Group G and is talented enough to win the trophy. Here's a look at Group G...

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Eden Hazard, who plays for Chelsea of the English Premier League, is expected to be a top scorer for Belgium in the World Cup. PA via AP Adam Davy

Belgium: The Red Devils' roster is stacked with English Premier League stars — Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Romelu Lukaku (Manchester United), and Kevin DeBruyne (Manchester City). Belgium looked impressive during qualifying and could be good enough to win it all.

England: Wayne Rooney is retired from the national team, reportedly headed to Major League Soccer for his swan song. Harry Kane of Tottenham and Raheem Sterling of Manchester City take on leadership roles. England hasn’t gotten past the final 16 since 2006. This could be the year.

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Seattle Sounders defender Roman Torres, left, is one of the top players for Panama. Orlin Wagner AP Photo


Panama: Despite a lack of known players, Panama finished ahead of the United States and Honduras in qualifying to reach its first World Cup in history. They did it by scoring just nine total goals. Roman Torres of the Seattle Sounders is one of several MLS players on the roster.

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In this photo taken on Tuesday, March 27, 2018, Tunisia's national soccer team poses before a friendly soccer match between Tunisia and Costa Rica at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice, southern France. Claude Paris AP Photo


Tunisia: Led by Wahbi Khazari of French team Rennes, Tunisia is the long shot in this group. Most of the team plays in the French first and second division. Tunisia has never advanced past the first round.

Prediction: Belgium wins the group, England advances as the runner-up.

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