The 2014 FIFA World Cup begins this Thursday in Brazil! 32 nations will convene for the world’s biggest and most watched soccer tournament! Who will win it? Who’s going to star and which team will have an absolute catastrophe to deal with? Let’s begin with my group-by-group preview!
Group A features the hosts Brazil, Mexico, Croatia and Cameroon. Brazil has lots of pressure but also has huge stars in Neymar, David Luiz, Thiago Silva and Hulk used to carrying it for club and country. Last year they won the Confederations Cup (a competition held the year before the World Cup featuring the host nation and the winners of individual regional competitions) under political unrest and citizens protesting the very fact this World Cup is taking place! They are the favorites, they are at home playing for their adoring and worshipping fans. It must be said, no country is under more pressure than the Seleção Brasiliera.
Mexico has many questions to answer going into this year’s World Cup! Although “El Tri” have qualified for the last 5 World Cups and advanced to the round of 16 each time, they had to beat lowly New Zealand twice over two legs in the playoffs just to qualify! Coach Miguel Herrera said “I aspire to be champion of the world!” They have the talent to do so but have the unpredictability to give minnows the belief they can devour them. They will count on a 5-3-2 attacking formation anchored by Oribe Peralta of Santos Laguna.
Croatia are underdogs but they have gobs of talent but they nearly missed out on the 2014 FIFA World Cup! Ivan Rakitic and Luca Modric will sit in the pockets in front of the back four and provide power, pace and exquisite passing to Bayern Munich’s Mario Mandzukic.
Cameroon will take part in their seventh World Cup finals, the most of any African nation. However, this is the weakest team they’ve taken in recent memory due to coach Volker Finke only 2 Cameroon-based players. Samuel Eto’o is the one player most fans have heard of but this team is quite dodgy.
I believe Brazil and Mexico will make it out of this group with Croatia finishing in 3rd and Cameroon finishing fourth. The 2 biggest games in this group are Brazil vs. Mexico (June 17, 3:00 PM Eastern) and Croatia vs. Mexico (June 23, 4:00 PM Eastern).
|JUN. 12||4:00 PM||BRAZIL VS. CROATIA|
|JUN. 13||12:00 PM||MEXICO VS. CAMEROON|
|JUN. 17||3:00 PM||BRAZIL VS. MEXICO|
|JUN. 18||6:00 PM||CAMEROON VS. CROATIA|
|JUN. 23||4:00 PM||CROATIA VS. MEXICO|
|JUN. 23||4:00 PM||CAMEROON VS. BRAZIL|