Ladies and Gentlemen, in about two days the greatest tournament in the world comes to your television and computer screens. This tournament is so great that it only comes around every four years. Although it has its obvious quirks, there’s something about its drama and intensity that forces even the most casual of sports fans to watch it in its entirety. That’s right I am talking about the 2014 World Cup taking place in beautiful Brazil. As a treat to the Fan-I nation, we here at Fan-I Sports has taken the liberty of giving you a group to group breakdown of whose a contender, whose a pretender, and everyone’s favorite question, what group is the group of death?
When I was talking about “obvious quirks” of the World Cup, I was obviously referring to the fact that the random drawing doesn't seem so random at times, case in point this year’s Group A. I am not saying that the random drawing of groups is rigged so fans do not get any ideas. However, what I am saying is that this group is tailor made for Brazil to wreak havoc. They have a half decent Croatian side, a talented but struggling Mexican group, and a fast but an undisciplined Cameroonian team to deal with. In other words, the thing to watch is not who wins the group because I expect Brazil to pull it off with or without Neymar; it’s about who out of Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon make it out of the group with them. No one is giving the Croatians a shot despite their high ranking at 18th… and I am one of them. I think that Mexico will somehow find a way to win and or draw a couple games to get past the group stage.
Prediction: Brazil and Mexico go to the Round of 16
Most experts are picking Netherlands and Spain to make it out of the group and with good reason. After all both teams were playing against each other in the 2010 World Cup final and both teams have talent up the tooth. However, my message to all soccer fans is DON’T SLEEP ON CHILE. This team is a defensive stalwart of a team who actually can score late, timely goals. Expect Chile to give Spain and the Netherlands a tough time, I am not saying the word upset but I am saying the words tough time.
Prediction: I like Chile, but they’re not good enough for Spain and the Netherlands, Spain and the Netherlands will move on.
Cote d’Ivoire aka the Ivory Coast
If you’re expecting the Men’s Japanese team to make a Cinderella run like their woman counterparts, then you are not going to like what I tell you. Columbia may not be as intimidating as a Spain or Germany but they can play. There are questions about their maturity but Columbia will probably make it out of the group, maybe not in first but I expect them to be in the round of 16. The battle for the second is going to be a tough one. Greece and the Ivory Coast are both good but the Ivory Coast has this one superstar named YaYa Toure and even though injured, he is still pretty good.
Prediction: Columbia and Cote d’ Ivoire make it through
In any other year, this is the group of death, hands down. Uruguay went to the Semi-finals last time around and have only gotten better as a group and individually. Italy has always been good and England are not exactly pushovers when they figure it out mentally. In other words… Costa Rica has no chance, sorry. I say Uruguay and Italy make it but do not be surprised if the Brits steal a game from either one of those teams.
Prediction: Uruguay and Italy punch their tickets to the round of 16
With Franck Ribery out for France, I am going to make a “bold” prediction. Switzerland and Ecuador are going to the round of 16. The French team has a tendency to respond poorly to adversity and having to play while Ribery is out, is the definition of adversity. Honduras kind of, sort of…. Who am I kidding they can put up 8 goals against Canada but this level of competition is way more talented so I do not see Honduras doing anything spectacular.
Prediction: Switzerland and Ecuador are going to the round of 16
Argentina is definitely winning this group, the question is who comes in second. Well I actually think that Nigeria can come out. They actually have a lot of world cup experience so they know what it takes and I can see them going to the round of 16.
Prediction: Argentina easily gets by while Nigeria barely scrapes through
Ladies and Gentlemen, your Group of death for this year's World Cup. Germany and Portugal are always World Cup contenders. Ghana was a hand ball away from the semi finals last year. The USA are a fast growing and rapidly improving side who still wants revenge for their heartbreaking extra time loss against Ghana in 2010. It is no secret I am a Ghanaian supporter, I have Kevin Prince Boateng and Asamoah Gyan jerseys in my closet and I will be cheering on Ghana in the World Cup but its my brain, not my heart, that is telling me they have a shot. Ghana is that team that every time there is a World Cup, a group of talented but underrated headcases show up to camp and automatically start playing as a unified team. This happened in 2006 as well as 2010, and I can see that taking place in 2014. However, Ghana are not going to have any lay-ups this time around. USA is good and honestly Ghana vs. USA is shaping up to be a great rivalry which means USA will be playing them hard. Then Ghana has to deal with the offensive firepower of Germany and the equally dangerous Portugal. Basically, this group will have intense drama but the result will be expected and Germany and Portugal will go on to the round of 16.
Prediction: Portugal and Germany will have trouble but will go to the round of 16
Listen people, Belgium is for real. Trust me Belgium is for real. They are young and inexperienced but my god holy lord they can play with the best of them. Again, this is not going to be a race of who wins the group but who comes in second. I was actually going to say the offensive minded Korea Republic, aka South Korea, until yesterday when they got taken to school by Ghana in a crushing 4-0 defeat. That means they have no momentum and offensive teams need momentum to win in this tournament. Which means the next best team is Algeria. I actually trust Algeria more than Russia even though Russia on paper is a better team.
Prediction: Belgium and Algeria get out of the group stage
And there you have it sports fan, your complete breakdown of the World Cup. If you have any comments or questions go on twitter and follow @FanISports, comment below, and don’t forget to get Fan-I Certified.