Thursday, June 12, 2014

Who's your pick for FIFA World Cup 2014?

FIFA World Cup is back. Amidst the nationwide unrest, the World will arrive in Brazil to witness one of the biggest spectacles ever. The truly Global Sport will be played on a truly Global Stage for one team to emerge champions of the world. An opportunity to leave club rivalries aside and put country first. An opportunity for someone to become the next Ronaldo / Messi. An opportunity for some to increase their standing in the global transfer market. An opportunity for some to make a comeback from obscurity. An opportunity for some teams just to be a part of a World event after so many years of failing to qualify. An opportunity for fans of small countries to see their stars clash with the best in the world. Isn’t this what sport should be all about? 

For those who are unaware – 32 teams emerged from the qualifying stages. The teams are placed in 8 groups of 4 teams each. They will play against the teams in the same group. Only 2 teams will qualify for the knockouts. Knockouts will continue till there's one winner.

The Groups –

The Usual Suspects – Brazil, Spain, Germany, Argentina, France, Italy. Not everyone will complain about this list. If at all any, you may add some more teams here. Brazil, are by far the team to beat in this World Cup. Not because they are playing in home conditions – they are playing in front of fellow Brazilians who are against conducting the World Cup in Brazil. I feel Brazil will be under tremendous pressure as they are one of the favorites to win and have to win over the revolting fans as well. One loss and things may go haywire for them. Germany and Spain are the most prepared team and boast of some of the best European players. Spain are the defending champions and have players who know what it’s like to be in the finals and win. Germany have perhaps the best midfield setup of the tournament. Argentina should easily qualify from their group and once in the knockouts, anything can happen. Argentina will deeply pray that the Messi of Barcelona will turn up to play. France and Italy have always been among the top teams in a World Cup and this edition will be no different. Suffice it to say, if any of the mentioned teams fail to qualify for the knockouts, it will be a huge surprise.

Not so far away – Portugal, Netherlands, Ivory Coast, Uruguay, England. The teams who can almost make it at the expense of some of the top teams. It will be foolish to count them out of the tournament. Portugal has Ronaldo and once this guy gets going, he can turn an entire match on its head. If Ronaldo succeeds, Portugal will succeed. Netherlands have a stern and no-nonsense manager in Louis van Gaal and a team that boasts of forwards of the caliber on Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben. All it takes is a couple of one-man-show moments and Netherlands will be through. Same is the case with Ivory Coast who has Drogba in the line-up. And finally England. They are placed in the proverbial “Group of Death” where there are 3 top 10 ranked teams in Uruguay (7), Italy (9), England (10) along with Costa Rica who has it in them to spring a surprise result. For England to succeed, they have to sort out the problems of their own – best playing 11, who will play where, how to maximize the utilization of Rooney, Liverpool players like Sturridge & Sterling, Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere and the likes.

Dark Horse – Belgium. Belgium is likely to qualify for the knockouts from Group H. Their real challenge will come in the knockouts. They are likely to play either Germany or Portugal. Even Germany / Portugal would hope they don’t play against Belgium in the 1st knockout match. Belgium has some of the world class talents in their lineup. The GK is none other than Atletico Madrid’s (and Chelsea's) Thibaut Courtois. Their defense had Premier League winning captain in Vincent Kompany supported by Jan Verthongen and Arsenal captain Thomas Vermaelen. Their midfield has Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, Everton’s Kevin Mirallas, Man Utd’s Adnan Januzaj and a powerful striker in Romelu Lukaku with Benteke injured. If they can get along well, they have the capability to even reach the last 4 and who know, maybe beyond!

One month of Football. One month of unadulterated ecstasy, agony, success, failure, sportsmanship – when the whole world (at least 200 countries) will be watching. Imagine missing a penalty kick that resulted in your team being knocked out of World Cup Finals. Imagine you prepare non-stop for 4 years just to be a part of the playing 11 and get injured during a friendly that rules you out of the entire tournament. Now imagine scoring the crucial goal that ensured you win the world cup. Aren’t we talking about a wide range of emotional possibilities? Aren’t we talking about FIFA World Cup 2014?


  1. My money is on Germany. Although, I know they loose it all just suddenly, when no one is expecting. Check my thoughts at:

    1. Personally, my money's on Germany too.. Will be really really surprised if they dont reach the semi-finals at least..

  2. netherland has already proved they are dark horse the way they annihilated spain.. I support Argentine just because they have the best player in the world Messi, although he has never done good when playing for Argentina , maybe this will be different..


    1. The whole of Argentina thinks the same :) Although Argentina have won all their group matches, they havent impressed anyone yet. Knockouts may be different..

  3. Thanks for the background info. Going, by the upset loses, this is turning out to be one of a kind world cup, isn't it? ;-)

    1. Yes Ashwini. Maybe the World Cup full of upsets!


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