We’re less than twenty-four hours from the kickoff of one of the greatest spectacles in modern sports, the FIFA Wold Cup. The top nations have come together to celebrate the beautiful game and compete for glory in South Africa. Here’s how I see this tournament playing out.
At this point teams are getting ready for group play. Whether it’s the United States preparing for England, or Brazil trying to avoid elimination in the group of death. Every squad wants to make it out of group play. Group winners seem pretty obvious. Most of them are the world powers in soccer. The following nations win their groups: France (A), Argentina (B), England (C), Germany (D), Netherlands (E), Italy (F), Brazil (G), and Spain (H).
Two teams advance from each group so now it gets tricky. No host nation has ever failed to advance out of group play but with Mexico and Uruguay also in their group the South Africans will have a tough time keeping that streak alive. Other groups seem just as clouded. If the United States can win the games they are supposed to win they should have no problem advancing, but injuries could play a part in hindering that effort. Here are the 2nd place teams from each group: Mexico (A), Nigeria (B), United States (C), Australia (D), Cameroon (E), Paraguay (F), Portugal (G), Chile (H).
Round of 16
If you aren’t familiar with the way this style of tournament works here’s an explanation. The winner from Group A will play the 2ND place team from Group B, the winner of Group B faces the 2nd place team from Group A, the winner of Group C will play the 2nd place team from Group D and, so on. Some of the match ups that will come out of my group results are: Argentina v Mexico, Germany v USA, and Spain v Portugal. Advancing past this round gives you a berth into the quarterfinals.
Let’s start with the country that we all care about most ours. The United States won’t make it past the Germans. We have too many injuries and at this point I don’t think our squad is mature enough to defeat the Germans. The other teams that will join Germany in the Quarterfinals are: France, Argentina, England, Netherlands, Italy, Brazil and Spain.
This has the potential to be the most interesting round. European rivals England and France would meet, along with a younger Brazil team clashing with a veteran Netherlands squad. Not to mention favorite Spain meeting their toughest challenge yet in Italy. Who has what it takes to make it to the semifinals?
France is healthier than England right now so they win in a close match. While Brazil has a lot of talent I think the choice to go young hurts them and they get upset by the Netherlands. Spain and Italy meet in a close one but once again the Spanish choke and the Italians move on to the semifinals. The Germans are also a little banged up so Argentina will squeak by and into the semis.
And Then There Were Four – The Semifinals
Two match ups in this round. Italy v Argentina and France v Netherlands.
Both France and the Netherlands come into this years World Cup with plenty of experience on their side. France, who became best known for a headbutt in the 2006 final want the chance to prove they are better than that. While the Netherlands is seeking their first ever title. The French have too much speed and I think a bit more depth and that leads them into the final.
The other match in this round is one that could go either way. The Italians changed it up a little this time around. Leaving a few names from their ’06 campaign off the list while the Argentinians kept everyone around, including FIFA Player of the Year Lionel Messi. Regardless the Azzuri find away to win.
We’ve finally reached the Finals. Italy v France. A rematch of the classic 2006 final. The French out for revenge while the Italians seek to repeat. Resume’s don’t matter when you get to this point. It comes down to who wants it more. The Italians won it in 2006, but that doesn’t lessen their desire to win. I’d argue the French who were 2nd to the Azzuri in ’06 want it more and would be out for blood. It is that hard-nosed mentality that gives the Frenchmen the win and a World Cup Title.