France to win World Cup? Sky writers predict 2018

Sky reporters and correspondents covering politics, the US, entertainment and sport have gazed into their crystal balls to predict what might happen in 2018.

Tamara Cohen

Sky’s Political Correspondent mulls over the biggest political question of modern British history: Where on earth will Brexit be by end of 2018?

Will we be out?

No, but there won’t be long to wait. Our official exit date is 29 March 2019 – exactly two years after Theresa May triggered Article 50.

Brexiteer ministers want a celebration on the day, so brace yourselves for plans for ceremonial downings of EU flags and proclamations of our independence.

The UK flag is flying in a different direction to those of the EU

Video: What next for Brexit talks?

So we’ll be on the brink of a major change?

Not exactly, because the Government wants our exit to be followed to be a two-year “transition period” which they also sometimes call an “implementation period”.

The EU has made clear that during this period, which they say should end by December 2020, everything – trade, free movement of people, the European Court of Justice – has to stay the same as it is now, and they will not budge on that.

David Davis

Image: Will David Davis still be leading the Department for Exiting the EU next year?

How will the negotiations have progressed then?

Hopefully quite a bit, because the UK is under pressure to agree the broad outlines of our future trade relationship with the EU by October 2018.

That leaves five months for it to be approved by Parliaments of the 27 other members and – following a victory for Tory rebels – by our Parliament.

Look out for the regional assemblies: the Wallonia region of Belgium nearly blocked a major deal between the EU and Canada last year.

The citadel, Collegiate Church and river Meuse in Dinant, Belgium, in winter

Image: When the small Belgian state of Wallonia can nearly veto a major trade deal, what hope does Brexit have?

What issues will be the most difficult?

The Government wants the EU to give us a special or “bespoke” deal, unlike any done before, in which we continue to sell goods and – crucially – services across borders with no checks or tariffs.

How trade and movement will work across the Northern Ireland border will need to be resolved, as will our future immigration policy. Businesses will be announcing their plans for jobs and investment in the UK, too.

More than 200 people signed the letter, which was sent to Ireland's Prime Minister

Image: How trade is conducted across the Irish border still has to be worked out

Who will be doing the negotiating?

The next election is scheduled for 2022 but unpredictable things have been happening recently and Jeremy Corbyn has predicted he will win power next year. I’d be surprised.

Tory MPs don’t want another election, and the vast majority of them want Theresa May to stay on as leader until we officially leave.

The big question is whether she can keep her divided Cabinet on side – or whether walkouts are on the cards.

Hannah Thomas-Peter

After reporting on a remarkable year in America’s history, Sky’s US Correspondent attempts to answer this: What will 2018 hold for the States?

Hmmmm.

US President Donald Trump

Image: US President Donald Trump has dominated the headlines this year

I’m not sure I want to make any predictions at all about America any more.

Who would have guessed that 2017 was going to become the particularly wild mash-up of events that it did?

Hurricanes, mass shootings, #metoo, Russia, fake news… a relentless carousel of themes and stories played out amid Twitterstorms in the ether and protests in the streets.

Being a journalist in the States increasingly feels like being on a rollercoaster. Blindfolded.

But I think I can safely say the following: President Donald Trump’s contempt for journalists will intensify. He is not the only person who believes in the concept of “fake news”, but he is the idea’s champion. It’s having a pretty horrible effect on the attitude of the general public towards the media in this country.

You can argue about whether the media has in fact done a good enough job upholding standards, but my point here is about a general tone of contempt.

At best this is making it harder to find and communicate facts. At worst, it’s possible this toxic disintegration of trust could result in physical attacks on journalists.

Press photographers take pictures of Donald Trump

Image: Could journalists find themselves targeted by pro-Trump supporters?

I also think that the Republican Party will rally much more firmly around the president as the midterms approach in 2018. There’s some evidence of this already. A lot of it is about political survival and maintaining control of both branches of Congress. But it’s also about the sheer force of character of the man.

I think that Republicans have started to make the calculation that engaging in a civil war over their unorthodox leader will do so much long-term damage to their party that it is better to just set about holding on for the next few years, maintaining as much influence as possible, and avoiding any displays of weakness that would hand advantage to the Democrats.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, at the podium, at a news conference on the bill

Image: Republicans from the GOP may have realised its best not to damage their party

That is unless the Russia scandal swamps the Oval Office.

Quite honestly, I am not going to predict what special counsel Robert Mueller’s next moves will be. But if he finds evidence that proves Donald Trump himself, and not just his senior campaign staff or family, was in contact or in any other way unethically involved with Russia, then it’s hard to see how Mr Trump survives.

FBI Director Robert Mueller has been investigating alleged ties to Russia

Image: Special prosecutor Robert Mueller could shape 2018’s news agenda

Is it possible that will happen in 2018? Yes. Is it possible it won’t? Yes. Sorry, but you did ask.

Duarte Garrido

Our Entertainment Reporter shares his thoughts on which films will be a contender for the coveted Best Picture gong at the Oscars.

This is arguably the hardest category to predict because, unlike the Golden Globes, the good folks at the Academy do not distinguish between comedy and drama.

This year, a few films tick all the politically charged boxes necessary to get at least get a nod. Here are my predictions:

An image from the trailer of Call Me by Your Name

Image: Call Me By Your Name

Call Me By Your Name: Luca Guadagnino’s gay romance would have been too indie for the Academy. But this was before Moonlight. Now, it’s pitch perfect – even with the controversial age difference.

An image from the trailer of Darkest Hour

Image: Darkest Hour

Darkest Hour: Sombre biopic? Churchill? Gary Oldman? I would say yeah, very likely.

An image from the trailer of Get Out

Image: Get Out

Get Out: An African-American man is trapped inside a house of deranged middle-class white folks. If it doesn’t get the nod, I predict hashtags.

An image from the trailer for The Post

Image: The Post

The Post: It’s Steven Spielberg, Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks. And if that wasn’t enough, it’s about the importance of the media to keep the political power in line. Great timing, Steve.

An image from the trailer to The Shape of Water

Image: The Shape of Water

The Shape Of Water: Already an awards favourite, Guillermo del Toro’s sci-fi love story is sure to enchant even the most dormant Academy hearts.

An image from the trailer for Phantom Thread

Image: Phantom Thread

Phantom Thread: Daniel Day-Lewis’s last role has caused surprisingly little buzz, and even been ignored in some circuits. Hopefully though, the Academy will once again “drink the milkshake”.

An image from the trailer of Lady Bird

Image: Lady Bird

Lady Bird: Actress Greta Gerwig’s debut feature behind the camera has broken Rotten Tomatoes’ tomato-meter (yes, that’s a good thing), so it could be heading for the Oscars.

An image from the trailer for Dunkirk

Image: Dunkirk

Dunkirk: Christopher Nolan’s war epic has divided critics and One Direction fans, but it would be odd for the Academy not to consider it.

An image from the trailer for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Image: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: Martin McDonagh’s stage-like drama has been praised by critics but also accused of treading lightly on important issues. Sounds controversial enough to make it.

Nick Powell

Sky’s Sports Editor looks into the stars and nails his colours to the mast with a prediction on which team will lift the World Cup during the summer tournament in Russia.

France.

France celebrate as they win the 1998 World Cup finals

Image: France celebrate as they win the 1998 World Cup finals

But haven’t others got the best players?

Lionel Messi, you mean? And Cristiano Ronaldo?

Well yes, but those star individuals don’t guarantee success for Argentina and Portugal.

Five-times winners Brazil, with the brilliant Neymar pulling the strings, have as good an 11 as anyone.

Neymar (centre) is pictured playing for Brazil during their Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Image: Neymar (C) is pictured playing for Brazil during their Rio 2016 Olympic Games

And never write off reigning champions Germany at a major tournament. But history is against them. No one has won two World Cups in a row for more than 50 years.

England? Not quite good enough yet.

So why France?

Because you don’t win a World Cup now without a fantastic squad.

And France have one. No matter which of their 23 men play, no matter who gets injured, they will field a world-class team.

Teenage goalscoring sensation Kylian Mbappe has just become the youngest ever to net 10 Champions League goals.

Will Patrice Evra, Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann help score France to success

Image: Will Patrice Evra, Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann help score France to success

But France also have Griezmann, Giroud, Lacazette and Martial, to name but four attacking threats.

It’s pretty similar throughout the team.

And the manager?

More from World

Who better? Didier Deschamps, in charge since 2012, has a contract until 2020. And he’s the ultimate been-there-seen-it-done-it boss – as captain for France’s only World Cup triumph, on home soil in 1998.

Standby for victory parades under the Arc de Triomphe again on 15 July.