MANCHESTER NEWS
World Cup fans are behind England – but tip Belgium

ON THE BALL: Back: Leo Minkoff, Isak Kohno and Jack Tammam. Front: Raphael Rich and Tom Martin

BELGIUM will win the World Cup — well, at least according to a couple of pupils we spoke to at Bury and Whitefield Jewish Primary School.

Jack Tammam and LEO MINKOFF are backing Roberto Martinez’s men to win the competition for the first time.

Year Six student Jack, 11, said: “I am backing Belgium to win it. They have (Eden) Hazard, (Thibaut) Courtois and (Romelu) Lukaku.

“Even their substitutes’ bench could make a World Cup team in itself, with (Mousa) Dembele and (Marouane) Fellaini.”

Fellow 11-year-old Leo, who is also a Year Six pupil, said: “I would have said Brazil were going to win it, but now Neymar is injured and they are so reliant on him.

“Belgium have a great defence, midfield and attack and a great goalkeeper, too.

“Hazard, Lukaku and (Dries) Mertens are wonderful players and I think that this is their golden generation.”

And both Manchester United supporter Jack and Tottenham Hotspur fan Leo are backing England to reach the semi-finals.

Jack explained: “I think they will make it to the semi-final, but then lose.

“England have played well recently, in the pre-World Cup games and against Tunisia on Monday night.

“My favourite England players are Harry Kane and Jesse Lingard. Kane is a goalscorer and has good positioning skills and Lingard is quick and provides the balls for the forwards.”

Leo added: “Kane can always be relied upon to score.

“I am confident England will reach the semi-finals and they have also not lost in qualifying for eight years.

“Normally, in a World Cup the pressure gets to them and they flop. But there was something about how they played against Tunisia, especially in the first 20 minutes.”

ISAK KOHNO is supporting both England and Japan. The 10-year-old, a United fan, was born in the Land of the Rising Sun to a Japanese father.

And he enjoyed their surprise 2-0 win against Columbia.

“My favourite players are (Shinji) Okazaki and (Shinji) Kagawa and I think Japan will at least reach the second round,” Isak said.

He watched England beat Tunisia 2-1 on Monday night with friends Jack and Leo.

“England’s players were being fouled all the time and I thought the referee was blind to it,” Isak added.

“I thought it was a good performance and we got there in the end. I think England will reach the quarter-finals.”

Year Four pupil RAPHAEL RICH, who plays for Manchester United’s under-10s’ side, is a big fan of Marcus Rashford, Jesse Lingard and Harry Kane.

But the nine-year-old’s three favourites to win the tournament are Portugal, Belgium or Spain.

“Portugal have the best player in the world in Cristiano Ronaldo, Belgium have Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard and Courtois and Spain have such a good squad.”

TOM MARTIN, who is also in Year Four, thinks England will reach the quarter-finals.

“My favourite England players are Harry Kane and Marcus Rashford,” the nine-year-old United fan said.

“I like Kane because he is the captain and the fact that United and Tottenham players play well together in the England team.”

Brazil were his favourites to win the World Cup, but now he is tipping Argentina.

Tom added: “Neymar is injured, so I think it will be Argentina.

“They have really good players in (Lionel) Messi, (Sergio) Aguero and (Paulo) Dybala.”

A week into the tournament and there has already been a lot of drama.

Leo said: “I really enjoyed the late goals, especially Uruguay against Egypt and Iran against Morocco.”

Jack explained: “The best game I have watched so far was when Mexico beat Germany 1-0 on Sunday.

“The first-half was all Germany, but then Mexico scored and I screamed really loudly!”


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