10 June 2014

2014 FIFA World Cup Predictions

It is the beautiful game on its biggest stage. The eyes of the world will be focused on Brazil for the next month for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. 32 teams are all aiming to hoist the World Cup Trophy on July 13th at the Estádio de Maracanã in Rio, but there can only be one. Who will be World Cup champions when all is said and done? Here are my predictions.

TV Schedule
Check out Mike Gardner's predictions here

Group Stage
Group A (Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon)
Considering Brazil is the favorite to win the whole thing, and is playing at home no less, there is about a zero percent chance that they do not get out of group play. And it will be pretty tough for Cameroon to get through as well, considering how much they rely on an aging Samuel Eto'o and all of the distractions surrounding a pay dispute by the players. So it is down to a Mexican club that barely qualified following a number of disastrous performances and a Croatian club that doesn't share El Tri's issues but may struggle due to a lack of familiarity in the climate. Mexico generally gets their act together just enough to get to the knockout stage, and perhaps their qualification issues were a fluke.
1. Brazil 2. Mexico 3. Croatia 4. Cameroon

Group B (Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia)
Spain is the defending champions and even though they are a little bit older, they are just as good and primed to make another deep run. However, this deep group could pose a little more headache than they would like, even as they should still cruise. And barring some insane work by the Socceroos, the second knockout spot will come down to the Netherlands and Chile. I like the Chileans even as the Oranje did finish as the runner-up back in 2010. They are getting older, however, and have been a mess since that World Cup. As long as Arturo Vidal returns in time for the June 18 match with Spain, they will be okay. It may just come down to that showdown with the Dutch in Sao Paulo on the 23rd.
1. Spain 2. Chile 3. Netherlands 4. Australia

Group C (Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan)
C is a relatively feeble group, one in which the clear-cut favorite is a team that last played in the World Cup in 1998, and will be without their best player, the excellent striker Radamel Falcao. Colombia should advance and I could legitimately see any of the other three clubs advancing as well. Japan may struggle to score, but they are also very good up the middle. Greece can't score worth anything and are dependent on their opponents making mistakes, but they play tremendous defense. And Cote d'Ivoire has not gotten it done before in the World Cup, but their attack features big names and plenty of talent. I think Les Éléphants will get enough out of Yaya Toure, Salomon Kalou and the great Didier Drogba to get to the Round of 16.
1. Colombia 2. Ivory Coast 3. Greece 4. Japan

Group D (Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy)
When was the last time that England was underrated entering a tournament such as this? Even so, and even with the veterans Wayne Rooney, the captain Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, the Three Lions are building for the future. And the future is not in Brazil 2014. Luis Suarez is recovering from some knee surgery a few weeks back and while he probably is not 100%, even then he is so good that he and Edinson Cavani should strike fear in any defense they play. I think Italy is the favorite to win the group thanks to their tremendous defense and a guy named Mario Balotelli, who is pretty damn good.
1. Italy 2. Uruguay 3. England 4. Costa Rica

Group E (Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras)
I know France is famously shaky and are coming off a trainwreck of a performance in the 2010 World Cup, where they had a whopping zero in the win column, but they are too talented across the pitch and in net for them not to advance. Or at least in theory. The idea that the Swiss are the sixth-ranked club according to the FIFA rankings is completely insane. They are a good club and sailed against dreadful competition in qualifying, but I do not even think they will get out of the group stage. Instead, I have got La Tri riding their talented wingers Jefferson Montero and Antonio Valencia to the knockout round.
1. France 2. Ecuador 3. Switzerland 4. Honduras

Group F (Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria)
Argentina is a lock to advance, and you cannot argue that (or at least I highly doubt it). Therefore it is a rac for second for the three remaining clubs. Iran would be a major upset to advance but they are not terrible and they have a very good coach in Carlos Queiroz, who has seemingly coached all over. However, this will come down to the Zmajevi and the Super Eagles. While Nigeria is a veteran squad that will not be intimidated, the Bosnians are too strong offensively for them to handle.
1. Argentina 2. Bosnia-Herzegovina 3. Nigeria 4. Iran

Group G (Germany, Portugal, Ghana, United States)
Call it the "Group of Death," or call it whatever you want, this is a tough group for the Stars and Stripes and barring some wackiness, they will largely be relegated to battling long-time foe Ghana for third place. But could any lingering effects of Cristiano Ronaldo's knee injuries make the Portuguese vulnerable? It's certainly possibly, although I am not counting on it. Meanwhile, the Germans are gearing up for a run at the title and with how potent their offense is, they will be a tough out for whomever they play.
1. Germany 2. Portugal 3. United States 4. Ghana

Group H (Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea)
The dark horse that everybody is getting the love jones for are the Belgians and considering this is an awful group, they should have no issues getting through. It is a young and athletic bunch that can play with anybody and have some star power. Algeria is probably the worst team in the tournament so if they can manage a draw, they should be ecstatic. Now as it will come down to Russia and South Korea, I love how tough the Russians are defensively and Igor Akinfeev can be brilliant in net. The South Koreans have struggled to form a cohesive unit during qualiying and I think that will hinder them in Group H.
1. Belgium 2. Russia 3. South Korea 4. Algeria

Knockout Stage - Round of 16
A1 Brazil vs. B2 Chile
Now it would be a truly shocking upset for the Chileans to upset Brazil. But that is not to say that La Roja will not make it interesting, particularly if the Brazilians are looking a little further ahead than they should. Had they drawn a team that had not seen them play, I could see a little upset action. But I am not that bold, boneheaded or both to pick them here. But hey.
Pick: Brazil

C1 Columbia vs. D2 Uruguay
Personally, I do not love either club but if I had to pick one (and I kinda do in a forum like this), I find it too hard to pick the Columbians sans Falcao over the Uruguayans, even with Uruguay's middling defensive corps.
Pick: Uruguay

E1 France vs. F2 Bosnia-Herzegovina
There is no question who the more talented team is in this match but as I said earlier, France is always ripe for issues that will cause a disappointing finish. Or at least until now, I think Didier Deschamps is the kind of stabilizing force they have needed. Plus, they have the defense and the play in net needed to slow down the Bosnian attack.
Pick: France

G1 Germany vs. H2 Russia
Now if this was a World War II battle, that would be far more interesting than this match. Russia is going to get smoked, barring something truly crazy. I hate to be that guy, but...
Pick: Germany

B1 Spain vs. A2 Mexico
Hey, who doesn't love a little Spain-Mexico showdown? If this were the 19th Century, this could be really be interesting. However, the Mexicans are going to uncork the game of their lives, and perhaps then some, to take out the defending champions.
Pick: Spain

D1 Italy vs. C2 Ivory Coast
Italy is not as strong of a club as we have seen from them in years past, but they are still quite good. And they are well suited to defend the Coast's offensive attack. Now if Didier Drogba could go back in time and bring back his younger self, maybe they could pull this upset. Or not.
Pick: Italy

F1 Argentina vs. E2 Ecuador
The Ecuadorians are a fine soccer club and they should be plenty pleased with advancing to the knockout stage. However, this will be the end of the line as they will run into a guy they call La Pulga, and they will falter.
Pick: Argentina

H1 Belgium vs. G2 Portugal
It seems like everyone has the Belgians making a run in this tournament. But I think when they take on the Portuguese, they will fall. Look for Ronaldo to rise his game for this occasion and A Selecção will advance to the quarterfinals. 
Pick: Portugal

Quarterfinals
A1 Brazil vs. D2 Uruguay
Can Uruguay pull the stunning upset of the favored Canarinho? I could see it happen, particularly with how good their strikers are. But their defense will have to come together and look like the '85 Bears, and Buddy Ryan is not walking through that door.
Pick: Brazil

E1 France vs. G1 Germany
I don't think the people out there realize how much I would love to pick the French here. However, I just do not have the stones to make such a pick. Do they have the talent to do it? Absolutely. I just think that Germany is not only a better club and has the experience necessary to advance here.
Pick: Germany

B1 Spain vs. D1 Italy
If this matchip materialized, this could end up being one of the finest matches of the tournament. And Italy could definitely win: their offense can score with almost any and while their defense was a little inconsistent in the Confederations Cup, it still is one of the finer defensive units in much of the soccer world. Yet, Spain will prevail as they are probably better in almost every aspect, although not by that much.
Pick: Spain

F1 Argentina vs. G2 Portugal
Lionel Messi may not be posing on the cover of magazines in the nude, and he may have been beaten out for the Ballon d'Or by Mr. Ronaldo, but he is still the best player of the world. He has been a relative disappointment in international play, and this year with Barcelona, but that will change in a big way this tournament, and in this game.
Pick: Argentina

Semifinals
A1 Brazil vs. G1 Germany
Yes, I went with the same semifinals. Sue me. And I am going to be lame and have the Brazilians get to the Final. When you get teams this good this deep in the tournament, anything can happen. But even I know it is tough to beat Brazil on their home turf. So there you go.
Pick: Brazil

B1 Spain vs. F1 Argentina
The Argentinians could be considered a relative disappointment in the World Cup of late. After all, they have not gotten to the Final since 1990. And they will have a solid mountain to climb against the defending champions. However, Messi, Angel Di Maria, who was fabulous for Real Madrid this year, Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain and co. will make that change this year.
Pick: Argentina

Final
A1 Brazil vs. F1 Argentina
This is the Final I think everybody wants to see. Two tremendous football teams in neighboring countries that have a little bit of a rivalry between each other. One side has Messi, the other has Neymar. However, the scene in Rio will be so incredible, it would be tough for anybody that is not Brazil to win. And that is who will be the 2014 FIFA World Cup champions.
Pick: Brazil

Golden Boot: Lionel Messi

26 comments:

  1. This is just a load of nonsense and soccer jargon shitted on the internet. I hate it when people like you pretend to invest in the beautiful and quickly google shit to make yourself sound smart!

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    1. Fuck off, he's just a guy trying to make it in the world

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    2. This dude should never talk about soccer again....

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  2. This guy doesn't know what he's talking about...

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  3. Do you even know 90% of the players you put in this joke of an article?!?!??!

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    1. Um, yes. Hope I'm not breaking your heart there.

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  4. FRANCE IN THE KNOCKOUT STAGE?!?!? HAVE YOU SEEN THEM PLAY!??!? THEY SUCK!!!!!

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    1. And without Ribery they're SHIT!

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  5. This is the most unresearched and unsubstantiated piece of shit I've ever read. Only an idiot would say group c is "feeble" just because all the teams are evenly matched. And how stupid do you have to be to say Messi hasn't performed on the international stage? The man has scored 38 goals in 86 senior caps (this asshole probably doesn't even know what a "cap" is)...but to anyone who actually knows anything about soccer: one goal every 2 matches is pretty damn impressive. This is yet another case of an uneducated American trying to talk about a sport they've never watched.

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    1. It's bullshit, people like this are ruining this country

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    2. Haha, okay then pal. I hope you're not so angry in real life as you are here. And by the way, I didn't say Messi hasn't performed, I said he has been a "relative disappointment." And that's for his standards. His nation didn't exactly go out with a bang in 2010, last time I checked.

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  6. everyone is entitled to have an opinion. no one is asking you guys to agree but there is no need to be so insulting. I disagree with some of Ben's predictions but there is no telling what may happen so his views are as valid as anyone's. time will tell after all

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  7. Gotta love Soccer Mongos

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    1. Indeed, and I don't even think I made radical picks by any stretch. These clowns were going to hate on this post regardless and hey if they're reading it, fine by me.

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  8. I'm loving these commenters, takes a lot of guts to trash somebody anonymously. If I can get this kind of reaction when I make soccer posts, may have to do it more often. At the very least, it will make these clowns angry.

    I thought the World Cup was supposed to be an inclusive event, so I don't know why these folks want to get rid of me so badly.

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    1. Inclusive? What are you talking about?

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    2. These comments aren't encouraging you to keep writing about soccer, don't you have experts that do that!?!?

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    3. To the first one, this is a tournament that brings teams from all over together. Look at how Coke is promoting it (http://www.coca-colacompany.com/fifa-world-cup/everyones-invited-global-coca-cola-campaign-celebrates-inclusive-power-of-2014-fifa-world-cup) If you don't know what inclusive means, I can't help you.

      To the second guy, I don't care what these clowns say anonymously. I will write about whatever I want. And if people are getting so fired up for no reason about it, that's not my problem. Plus, this is a one man operation, I have written virtually every piece here.

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  9. Honestly, if Ben didn't pick the stupid French these picks would be excellent and Group C isn't very good... It's the 5th best group at best. Really if the anonymous posters above are American you guys are the type of people who non "true soccer fans" in the States dislike the most. Complete elitism on the part of those "true soccer fans" up there. Well done mongos, well freaking done.

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  10. That one is for the skeptic music lovers who don't really believe there are good undiscovered rappers on YouTube..you're wrong. I write songs, perform live, and put my money behind my music. Lol I'm in college eating ramen so that's little to nothing but its what I do. I'm good and i'm confident in every verse I've ever written and It'd be dope as hell if i could get some feedback from you all. I'm at 4,000 subscribers + right now. They came from my spam and were surprised too! Sooner or later I'll stop spammin but for now its another outlet to push myself. Tell a friend about the music and tweet about it. Check it out I promise you won't regret it!

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    Replies
    1. Fucking troll, get out of here

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    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  11. Replies
    1. I don't know. I wonder if your predictions get the same level of vitriol, haha.

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  12. I don't know where these random hater people came from, but it is pretty evident that you quickly googled a lot of things and just put it all together. However, it's obviously within your own right to make a post like this and enjoy the world cup just like everyone else. You're not claiming to be Alexi Lalas here.

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    1. As long as I'm not Marcelo Balboa, or even Eric Wynalda, I'll be okay.

      I didn't really Google any names, but I did pull a few from other previews that I read before making this one. I knew what I was thinking in my predictions but I also read up a lot to help fill in the gaps to put together something that has some substance.

      But again, I'm not claiming to be some soccer expert here. And I don't write about it often but I felt it was worthwhile because the World Cup is kind of a big deal.

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