As the eagerly awaited 2014 FIFA World Cup is almost upon us here at Platform we’re counting down the days by taking a look at the groups.
We begin with Group A. Bizarrely, none of the teams in Group A are there having won a qualifying group with Brazil attending as hosts while Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon all won the right to compete in the tournament after winning play-off games.
Not only are Brazil our vibrant hosts this summer, they are also the bookmakers’ favourites to lift the trophy on their own soil. Although everyone loves an upset, there is not a cat in hells chance – and you can hold me to this –
that Brazil will fail to top the group. Under Luiz Felipe Scolari’s guidance, Neymar, Oscar, Willian, Hulk and Ramires, just to name a few, should manage a clean-sweep in Group A and any less than nine points is sure to disappoint the home crowd.
Brazil’s first hurdle and indeed the tournament opener in just eight days’ time, is against perhaps their trickiest group opponents, Croatia. The Croatians, without star man Mario Mandzukic who picked up a red card and suspension in their play-off victory against Iceland are the most likely candidates to progress to the knockouts. However, they have recently lacked impetus and despite a squad including the recognisable names of Dejan Lovren, Luka Modric, Nikica Jelavic and Eduardo, could be in for a disappointing summer if they aren’t at the top of their game.
Next up and looking to ruffle a few feathers and cause a few upsets is Mexico. Although erratic, Mexico’s quick, fluent style of play could just surprise a few. Nevertheless, with few big name stars in their extremely changeable squad (47 players and four coaches were used in qualifying) Man United’s, Javier Harnandez and co may well be the most unpredictable team in the competition.
Adding to the unpredictability of Group A is Cameroon, with the likes of Alex Song and Samuel Eto’o among their ranks you could be forgiven for wondering why they have never shone on the world stage. With a leaky defence and a questionable lack of team cohesion Cameroon have now failed to qualify for the last two African Cup of Nations and are expected to prop up the group. Whether or not that is the case, let’s just hope they perform well enough to excite the neutrals in a group which is sure to have plenty of twists and turns before reaching its outcome on June 23.
Final Standings Predictions
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