One Sentence World Cup Predictions

Who will lift the World Cup at the Maracana Stadium next month?

Who will lift the World Cup at the Maracana Stadium next month?

After four years of waiting, the day has finally come. Brazil 2014 kicks off tonight with the hosts taking on Croatia in Sao Paulo, which makes today the perfect time for Fred Stanley Sport to offer our predictions for the upcoming tournament. To keep things as simple as possible we’ll list the teams in order of finishing position in each group, with a one sentence recap of their chances in the competition. We’ll also predict the semi-finalists and finalists, plus offer a one sentence take on who will take home the much coveted Golden Boot. After reading what we have to say make sure you’re opinion is heard by commenting, tweeting (@fredjstanley) and voting in our poll. Happy World Cup day!

Group A

Brazil

Confederations Cup winners to shine on home soil, led by wonder-kid Neymar.

Mexico

Familiarity with conditions and good showing four years ago should be enough to help Central American’s edge through.

Croatia

Modric aside, a team on the decline following brief ‘golden era’ under Slavan Bilic.

Cameroon

Not much going on here besides an aging Eto’o and forgotten man Alex Song.

Group B

Spain

Not the force of four years ago but still stocked with an envious array of world class midfielders.

Chile

Tournament dark horses led by Sanchez and Vidal could prosper on home continent.

Netherlands

Handed difficult group Van Gaal’s men will struggle to replicate final appearance from South Africa.

Australia

After a strong cricketing winter could be on the receiving end of a 5-0 scoreline in this group from hell.

Group C

Colombia

Even without Falcao the South American’s could top a relatively easy group.

Japan

Stocked with flamboyant play-makers, should be able to retain possession better than people think in the Brazilian heat.

Ivory Coast

Missed their chance four years ago with Drogba, Kolo Toure and Eboue very much past their peak.

Greece

No repeat of 2004 for this disciplined yet toothless band of aging troops.

Group D

Uruguay

If Suarez is fit then they could be potential finalists should the back four hold up its end of the bargain.

England

Low expectations for a change but still a solid squad with plenty of exciting attacking options.

Italy

Poor form in the build up and a lack of strike options beyond Balotelli could spell doom for 2006 winners.

Costa Rica

Handed a tough draw, little to no chance of picking up a point let alone progressing.

Group E

France

Minus RIbery, Benzema and Pogba to star for a very dangerous side.

Switzerland

Solid side with talented Shaqiri keen to put himself in shop window for big money move from Bayern.

Ecuador

Will battle it out with the Swiss but lack the same defensive resilience and solidarity.

Honduras

Even if Wilson Palacios had 10 brothers capable of playing football they’d struggle to make it out of the Group E cellar.

Group F

Argentina

Messi, Aguero, Higuain and Franco Di Santo make for a fearsome quartet of strikers (in ascending order).

Bosnia & Herzegovina

Premier League stars Begovic and Dzeko could help Bosnia burst onto international scene in their first World Cup.

Nigeria

If John Obi Mikel and Victor Moses are your best two players, you’re in trouble.

Iran

It’s unlikely that any Iranians will be snapped up by needy Premier League clubs after the tournament.

Group G

Portugal

If Cristiano Ronaldo doesn’t get you, Helder Postiga will!

Germany

Efficient (and typically German) unit could struggle to score goals with Miroslav Klose nearing his 70th birthday (or something like that).

Ghana

Powerful African unit would qualify from a number of other groups.

USA

Not so powerful American unit would qualify from (maybe) a couple of other groups.

Group H

Belgium

Envious collection of talent has everything it needs on paper to seriously contend for the World Cup.

Russia

Like he did with England four years ago, Fabio Capello should be able to steer this squad to a dismal exit in the last 16.

South Korea

With Park Ji Sung now retired from international football PSY is probably the most famous South Korean – unfortunately he doesn’t look like much of a footballer.

Algeria

They couldn’t score against England in 2010 with Matthew Upson at centre back, which doesn’t bode well for any team.

Semi Finals

Brazil over Portugal

Spain over Argentina

Final

Spain over Brazil

Golden Boot

Lionel Messi

After taking advantage of an easy group, Messi could have the Golden Boot wrapped up before the knockout stages have even begun.

 

 

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World Cup Preview: Group B

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Will Spain be able to defend their World Cup title in Brazil this summer?

Following our preview for Group A which we released on Tuesday, here is Fred Stanley Sport‘s look at Group B at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. We’ll look at all four teams in the group, plus list all the fixture details you’ll need as you settle in to watch the world’s biggest carnival of football.

Spain

Best Finish – Winners (2010)

Odds – 13/2

It’s been well documented that a European side has never won the World Cup in South America, but if that trend is to be broken this summer then it will likely be the defending champions Spain who will break the mould. The 2010 winners still posses an embarrassment of riches in comparison to most nations, however with players such as Xavi, Fernando Torres and Ilker Casillas all past their best the other country’s competing in Brazil will fancy their chances of knocking Spain off their perch. Athletico Madrid forward Diego Costa is an injury doubt which could lead manager Vincent Del Bosque to use the same “false nine” formation that was so successful at Euro 2012. Should he do so the midfielders will be expected to pick up the goalscoring slack, with diminutive Manchester City playmaker David Silva likely to be a crucial part of the unit. Silva has so far enjoyed a fantastic 2014 and if he can reproduce his club form in Brazil the Spanish will almost certainly be there or there about’s come July.

Netherlands

Best Finish – Runners Up (1974, 1978, 2010)

Odds – 33/1

Ironically, Group B will pit Spain against the team they defeated in the 2010 World Cup final in South Africa, the Netherlands. Unfortunately for the Dutch they may have fallen even farther than their opponents four years ago, and it would be a shock indeed if they were to make it back to the final. They still possess a number of talented players, not least Manchester United striker Robin Van Persie, but Van Persie’s injury struggles last season and the aging core including Nigel De Jong and Arjen Robben will make it extremely difficult for Louis Van Gaal’s men to succeed in the searing South American heat. Robben can still give any full back in world football a torrid time and if Van Persie somehow returns to his 2012 performance level then the Dutch will remain a difficult encounter for anyone in the tournament’s knock out stages.

Chile

Best Finish – Third Place (1962)

Odds – 50/1

The presence of Chile in Group B has the potential to threaten both Spain and the Netherlands passage to the last 16, not least because of their highly talented forward Alexis Sanchez. Barcelona man Sanchez has big game pedigree and he’s surrounded by a number of stars who ply their trade in Europe’s most competitive leagues, including Gary Medel (Cardiff City) and Arturo Vidal (Juventus). The Chileans victory over England at Wembley last Autumn sent a warning to their Group B opponents, who will have to be at their best to avoid an upset against the South Americans, who are sure to embrace playing their matches in a climate similar to their own.

Australia

Best Finish – Last 16 (2006)

Odds – 1500/1

The ‘Socceroos’ are set to compete in their third consecutive World Cup, marking their emergence on the world stage having previously only appeared in the 1974 edition of the tournament. However Australia’s ‘golden generation’ featuring Premier League stars such as Mark Schwarzer, Harry Kewell and Mark Viduka have all now retired from international football and their remaining talent isn’t getting any younger either. Tim Cahill and captain Lucas Neill remain but the remainder of the squad is inexperienced and lacks the European pedigree of its predecessors. Being drawn in a difficult group won’t help the Australians either, but their grit and determination could still be enough to cause an upset or two in Brazil.

Fixtures

Spain v Netherlands -13th June, Salvador (20.00 GMT)

Chile v Australia – 13th June, Cuiaba (22.00 GMT)

Australia v Netherlands – 18th June, Porto Alegre (17.00 GMT)

Spain v Chile – 18th June, Rio De Janeiro (20.00 GMT)

Australia v Spain – 23rd June, Curitiba (17.00 GMT)

Netherlands v Chile – 23rd June, Sao Paulo (17.00 GMT)

Who do you think will qualify from Group B? Could Spain fall at the first hurdle? Have your say in the comments  or by tweeting @fredjstanley