Saturday, 14 December 2013

World Cup 2014 Draw

It's been over two weeks since the big World Cup draw in Brazil. Alot of pundits and bloggers have voiced their opinion on the draw and how it benefits teams and how it effects their own journeys to a potential grand final. In this blog, I will be looking at all 8 groups and the implications for the top two in each group leading into the knockout stages.
Group A
Teams: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon
It's obvious that Brazil are the favourites for the tournament seeing as it's on home-turf and that they have a supremely strong squad, but it is a relatively difficult group in which they will have to fight for top spot. Mexico will rely on Javie Hernandez to score the goals, Croatia are an okay squad but will have to fight hard to get anywhere in this group and so will Cameroon.

Predicted table:
1. Brazil
2. Mexico
3. Croatia
4. Cameroon
Group B
 Teams: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia
It is pretty obvious which two will be going through in this group, the main game to look out for is a repeat of the 2010 final: Spain vs Netherlands. Chile will look to their main star: Alexis Sanchez to help them claim some goals and hope for the best, Australia will look to avoid a "wooden spoon". Looking to the knockout stages, we see the potential of Brazil/ Spain or Brazil/ Netherlands (Both WC Final scenario games) in the 2nd round. Mouth-watering prospects.

Predicted table:
1. Spain
2. Netherlands
3. Chile
4. Australia
Group C
Teams: Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan
This group England will have one eye on if England progress to the knockout stages, they are all equal sides but in my opinion, Ivory Coast look to be Africa's only hope for a lengthy journey in this competition. Columbia will look to Falcao to create and punish the opposition, however with the rumours of him wanting to leave Monaco after only 5 months at the club, if he stays there until the summer, that may have an effect on this playing ability, and for a country that is up there with the likes of Spain and Germany in the FIFA rankings - they have to deliver on the big stage to prove that they belong there.

Predicted table:
1. Ivory Coast
2. Columbia
3. Japan
4. Greece
Group D
Teams: Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy
Obviously the whole England will be hoping for England to get out of the group stages, for the first time since I've started following Football, we go into an international competition with no thoughts on winning the competition,and in such a tough group - England will need to play at their very best to compete with the likes of Suarez & Urugary and with Balotelli & Italy. Costa Rica, no offense to them look to be their easiest tie so it will be a must win, and to progress, will have to defeat either Uruguay or Italy and at least draw with the other to progress into the knockout stages. Uruguay will probably not reach the heights of their 2010 run but will want to repeat that and a resurgent Italy will look to impress. In my opinion, looking at Group C any game will be difficult - I would be happy for England to reach the Quarter Finals.

Predicted table:
1. Italy
2. England
3. Uruguay
4. Costa Rica
Group E
Teams: Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras
This will be France's group to lose really - I don't see how France cannot finish top with the depth and quality in their squad. Switzerland looked might impressive in the qualifiers so I will tip them to br the runners up in this group with Ecuador and Honduras fighting for 3rd.

Predicted table:
1. France
2. Switzerland
3. Ecuador
4. Honduras
Group F
Teams: Argentina, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Iran, Nigeria
This will be an intriguing group for the first two teams you read as they are the obvious favourites to progress compared to the minnow teams of Iran and Nigeria. Argentina over the last few years have had a question mark as to why they haven't performed at the higher levels with the likes of Messi, Lavezzi, Higuain, Aguero, Tevez and Di Maria at their disposal. Messi has never stood out on the main stage - will 2014 provide Messi with the two trophies he is missing? WC trophy & WC Golden boot. Bosnia looked very good in the qualifiers with an unbeaten record in the qualifiers with Dzeko providing plenty of goals.

1. Argentina
2. Bosnia-Herzegovina
3. Nigeria
4. Iran
Group G
Teams: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, United States
This is yet another great group to watch for one particular reason: Germany v Portugal. One man to watch is Cristiano Ronaldo, he has by far been the best player to watch this year and with 30 goals so far this season is unheard of, if he doesn't win the Ballon D'or then Sepp Blatter has too much influence within FIFA supporting his money-maker - FIFA's logo: Lionel Messi. Ghana and USA are good sides and will put up fights against these teams but I don't see how Germany and Portugal won't progress to the knockout stages.

Predicted table:
1. Germany
2. Portugal
3. Ghana
4. United States
Group H
Teams: Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea
This group I will be watching, everyone that I know of is loving the prospects of this young Belgium team with Premier League quality all over the pitch, they have the potential to be the surprise package in this competition and to have good run. I am obviously going to predict them to head in as winners of Group H with a tough choice between S. Korea and Russia to fight for runners up with a potential match up against Gerrmany or Portugal will be Belgiums first true test against the International elite.

Predicted table:
1. Belgium
2. South Korea
3. Russia
4. Algeria

Overall, this has the potential to be the most open and highly contested World Cup in recent history, I honestly cannot pick a winner but there will be alot of variables to consider nearer to June when it comes to injuries, who is included in each squad, form going into the competition. It will be one to watch, but here are my three top choices to win the competition.
My three winners choices
1. Brazil
2. Germany
3. Belgium

Who do you believe will claim the historic trophy in Brazil?

Share your thoughts below, next blog post will be who I think should be on the plane to the World Cup for England.