After four years of anticipation, the 2014 FIFA World Cup is now finally upon us! Thirty-two nations will enter Brazil with championship aspirations, but only one will leave with the trophy. There is much speculation on which country will win it all, and I too have my thoughts on the matter. As of June 10, 2014, here are my 2014 FIFA World Cup predictions.
Group A strongly favors the host country Brazil. With a huge home country advantage and a team loaded with superstars, the five time champions should take care of business in group play. Among the other three teams, the play of Mexico’s Javier Hernandez should help the Mexicans advance to the knockout rounds.
Winners: Brazil, Mexico
When you’re the #1 team in the world and the defending World Cup champions, it is pretty easy to feel confident heading into group play. With 10 returning starters from the 2010 championship squad, Spain should have firm control of their group. Their matchup against the Netherlands will be interesting as I assume the Dutch haven’t forgotten about that 1-0 loss in extra time of the 2010 Final.
Winners: Spain, Netherlands
#23 Cote D’Ivoire
Group C is interesting as Japan was the only team to advance out of group play in 2010, while Colombia didn’t even make the 2010 World Cup Tournament. Japan might have the lowest ranking in this group, but they will advance due to the excellent play of Shinji Kagawa. Colombia sounds like a good second pick but I think Greece will upend them with a clutch win in their last group match against Cote D’Ivoire.
Winners: Japan, Greece
#28 Costa Rica
Between Italy, England and Uruguay this group boasts seven World Cup titles. Costa Rica can share the USA’s pain, as they will need a miracle to advance out of this “group of death.” To many, Uruguay should be one of the favorites to come out of this group after finishing fourth in the 2010 World Cup. However, I believe Mario Balotelli will rejuvenate Italy and help the country bounce back after not winning a game in the 2010 World Cup. Right behind them will be England, who will rely on Wayne Rooney to carry them into the knockout stages.
Winners: Italy, England
Both France and Switzerland had lackluster performances in the 2010 World Cup as they failed to make it out of group play. Conversely, Honduras and Ecuador will both look to make some noise in just the third World Cup appearances in their nations’ histories. All the games in this group will be tight, but Switzerland and France will avenge 2010 and advance to the next round.
Winners: Switzerland, France
There are compelling storylines in Group F with Argentina going for its fourth title and Bosnia-Herzegovina making its first ever appearance in the World Cup. It will be a race for second as Argentina, led by the world’s best player in Lionel Messi, should go 3-0 in group play. Between the other three teams, I give a slight nod to the newcomer in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
Winners: Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina
As soon as I saw the United States’ group, I realized it might be a short World Cup for the Americans. Germany has won three titles and has finished third in the past two World Cups, Portugal has its star player in Cristiano Ronaldo, and Ghana has knocked the USA out of both the 2006 and 2010 World Cups. Overall, I see Germany and Portugal advancing from this group. The Americans might wish they had not cut Landon Donovan when it is all said and done.
Winners: Germany, Portugal
#57 Korea Republic
I think this is a very even bracket where every team has a legitimate chance to advance. None of these teams has ever won the World Cup and the most experienced team is Belgium as it makes it twelfth appearance this year. I think Russia, who missed the last World Cup, and Algeria, who didn’t score a goal in the 2010 World Cup, will advance out of this group.
Winners: Russia, Algeria
Potential Upsets: Mexico over Brazil, Australia over Netherlands, Japan over Colombia, Costa Rica over Uruguay, Ecuador over France, USA over Portugal, Algeria over Belgium
Each Group’s Must See Matches:
Group A: Brazil/Mexico
Group B: Spain/Netherlands
Group C: Colombia/Greece
Group D: Italy/England
Group E: Switzerland/France
Group F: Argentina/Bosnia-Herzegovina
Group G: Germany/Portugal
Group H: Russia/Belgium
Dark Horse: Bosnia-Herzegovina
My Final Four:
Brazil over Germany
Italy over Portugal
Third Place Game:
Germany over Portugal
Italy defeats Brazil to win the 5th title in team history.
What are your predictions for the 2014 FIFA World Cup?
"2014 FIFA World Cup BRASIL 355 ml Coca-Cola UAE and Oman" by José Roitberg, used under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0