Thinley Namgay    

Although Bhutan has a long way to go in reaching the World Cup, national team footballers are excited about the upcoming World Cup in Qatar. It is an opportunity to watch their favourite players, and teams.

The national team skipper Karma Shedrup Tshering is a fan of Brazil.  “I like the way they play.”

Karma, 32, likes Kevin De Bruyne of Belgium whom he considers a complete modern-day footballer.

Karma Shedrup Tshering, who currently plays for Thimphu City FC, expects 2014 finalists Argentina to win.  He said, “For Lionel Messi, it’s going to be his last World Cup.”

He said that it would be the last World Cup for many great players and it will take time to witness the next icons like Ronaldo and Messi.

In the 2018 World Cup in Russia, France knocked out Argentina 4-3.

Midfielder Lhendup Dorji, a Cristiano Ronaldo and Argentina supporter, said that Argentina could win. He said Argentina hadn’t lost since the Copa America season. “The teammates want to win it for Messi.”

Lhendup  draws inspiration from Ronaldo as a hardworking player. He said he is excited for the World Cup as it is taking place after four years.

Dawa Tshering of Thimphu City FC also predicts Argentina to win it owing to their good team spirit.

Transport United FC’s Tsenda Dorji, said he admires Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo. He said Ronaldo, 37, is proving to the world that age is just a number.

Acquiring five points from three matches,  Portugal finished second in Group B to qualify for the Round of 16 in the 2018 World Cup, but Uruguay beat them 2-1 in the pre-quarterfinals.

“World Cup final will be played between France and Brazil,” Tsenda said, adding that the charm and scenario of the tournament are different. “I’m excited.”

Thimphu City FC’s Orgyen Wangchuk Tshering is a German fan but he said Brazil has the better chance this time.

Orgyen looks upon  German players like Ozil, Gotze, and Mario Gomez, but Ozil is his icon. “I love the way Ozil plays. He has so much flair and his way of passing and skills are exceptional.”

Two late South Korean goals have sent Germany out of World Cup 2018 at the group stage. It was a massive heartbreak for German fans then.

Defender Tenzin Dorji’s favourite player is the retired Fernando Torres of Spain but he is supporting Portugal. “Portugal will win.”

Tenzin Thinley, a supporter of Brazil’s Neymar said he has been idolising Neymar for a good amount of time and Brazil seems more than ready to lift the trophy.

He said Neymar is a player of great calibre who has gone through numerous hardships but has proven his ability. “This has uplifted me often when I feel down. I predict Argentina and Brazil to play the final and Brazil to win.”

Brazil, the five-time World Cup champions, had last won the title in 2002. It was Belgium who knocked out Brazil 2-1 in the 2018 World Cup quarterfinals.

For Paro FC and national goalie Gyeltshen Zangpo, France footballer Kylian Mbappe is his best player. “I hope Portugal will win. I am eagerly waiting for the tournament.”

Kylian Mbappe, who plays for Paris Saint-Germain FC, is the best young player award recipient during the  2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

England fan and Paro FC’s player Pub Thinley said he expects England and Brazil in the final. He adores Phil Foden of England and Roberto Firmino of Brazil.

Phil Foden will play for England but Roberto Firmino is not in the squad. Roberto Firmino, a Liverpool FC star, had a good season this time with the club scoring eight goals and four assists in 19 matches.

“I have updated my TV at home to a bigger screen, especially for the World Cup,” Phub Thinley said.