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Indian sportspersons back these nations in FIFA World Cup 2018

While Team India chinaman Kuldeep Yadav is banking on Brazil to clinch the World Cup this year, boxer Akhil Kumar and golfer Rahil Gangjee want Ronaldo's Portugal to surprise everyone.

India TV Sports Desk Edited by: India TV Sports Desk New Delhi Updated on: June 17, 2018 18:33 IST
FIFA World Cup 2018

From Left - Messi (ARG), Ronaldo (POR), Neymar (BRA)

The FIFA World Cup 2018 fervour has hit the entire nation and the with the biggest tournament in the world underway, the Indian sportspersons have picked their favourites for the World Cup. It is no surprise that the likes of Lionel Messi from Argentina, Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo and Brazil's Neymar attracted the most attention.

Team India chinaman Kuldeep Yadav is banking on Brazilian Neymar to erase the disappointment of the 2014 World Cup, while boxer Akhil Kumar and golfer Rahil Gangjee have adopted Portugal as their 'doosri country' (second home) for none other than Ronaldo.

Messi has found a supporter in shuttler HS Prannoy while former hockey captain Sandeep Singh is hoping for Germany to defend the title with their abundance of youth and experience.

Their historic one-off Test against Afghanistan wrapped up inside two days, Kuldeep has got into World Cup mode before flying out for the tour of England next month.

"My favourite team is Brazil because of Neymar. It's a busy cricket season for us but I will try to watch as many matches as possible to support my favourite country," Kuldeep said an interaction arranged by Sony Pictures Network in connection with their #MeriDoosriCountry campaign in India.

Recollecting the 1-7 hammering by Germany in 2014, he said: "It was painful. I could not sleep for a couple of days, it felt like a nightmare." 

Asked what he loved about Neymar, he said: "His style of play and his attitude towards the game. Watching the World Cup live is like a dream for me and I hope to fulfil the same one day." 

Ronaldo has already made his presence felt with a hat-trick, which salvaged a 3-3 draw against Spain and it's not just his football magic but the off-the-field social work, which has impressed Commonwealth Games gold medallist boxer Akhil.

"I am a big fan of Cristiano Ronaldo and especially of his off-the-field social work. I am definitely going to support Portugal this World Cup." 

Two-time Asian Tour winner Gangjee is simply mesmerised by Ronaldo's speed, skill and determination.

"I like the way how he does not seem to want to go down easily. Therefore, my favourite country is Portugal," the 40-year-old said.

"My first childhood memories are of our family visiting Mauritius during one of the World Cups when I must have been 5-6 years old. We used to watch the matches with my late uncle (my mom's older brother). What I look forward to every time is getting together with my buddies to watch," the Kolkata golfer added.

The 25-year-old Prannoy wasted little time in picking Messi and said he's a big fan of the Argentine superstar since childhood.

"I have watched the classic Brazilian players back then when I was young like Rivaldo, Roberto (Carlos) and Ronaldo and those days were way too different. I hope I find some time off to watch the matches on TV like last time.

"My semi-final line-up is Germany, France, Brazil and Belgium. It's not just Messi's World Cup but would be routing for him and Argentina," the world number eight said.

Sandeep is a big fan of Germany because of their inspirational coach Joachim Loew.

"I like the way German coach Joachim Low trains his team and I am sure the team will have good results this World Cup. I will be supporting Germany as it has a lot of young players.

(With PTI Inputs)

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