World Cup 2014 Preview

 

The greatest show on earth has finally arrived. After a bit of slow burner in South Africa four-years ago, this tournament shouldn’t disappoint. After all, it doesn’t get much better than a World Cup in Brazil.

MOMS will be covering our first World Cup in our normal entertaining style – first of all with a set of previews and then with a few posts a week on things that tickle our fancy.

Good luck to the Villa boys – Ron Vlaar, Brad Guzan and Philippe Senderos – who are out in Brazil. And all the best to Gary Cahill and the England team. Cahill is certainly the finest Villa academy product of recent years, now adding World Cup experience to his Chelsea Champions League-winning credentials.

 

brad guzan world cup 2014
Brad Guzan’s good luck present from the US Military

 

 

England

The first burning question to be asked is what will become of Roy Hodgson’s young England team?

For a change, national expectations are low. Yet, England may surprise a few folk. While Uruguay still possesses their fearsome front three of Cavani, Suarez and Forlan that took them to the semi-finals in South Africa four years ago, they’re not the surprise package they were then. Suarez might not be 100% and Forlan is now 35-years-old. Italy imploded in an easy group in the last World Cup too and finished bottom of the group, below even New Zealand.

If England’s back four can hold tight and the exuberant young forwards click, England could make an impact on the World Cup and offer real value at 33/1. It could be a real opportunity for the likes of Ross Barkley, Adam Lallana, Raheem Sterling and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain to become instant national heroes back home.

Favourites

The frequently mentioned fact that no European national team has ever won on South American soil is the main reason that Brazil (3/1) and Argentina (4/1) are clear favourites according to the World Cup 2014 Finalists Betting Odds from William Hill.

Ironically, Brazil’s strength coming into the tournament begins at the back, with the only question marks about their well-balanced team in their choice of strikers. Neymar will not doubt be the spark and main goal threat, but will Fred be good enough to spearhead attacks?

Argentina have a no such problems with a real wealth of weapons going forward in Messi, Higuain and Agüero, all of whom are at their peak of their powers. It’s certainly time for Messi to step up on the World Cup stage. If he turns it on, he could provide the catalyst for the Argentine’s to win the cup in their fierce rival’s backyard.

There are still questions marks about their defense and they may be hoping to avoid Germany in the quarter-finals after losing to them at that stage in the last two World Cups.

European Old Guard
The Germans (6/1) are flying a little under the radar this time round though, apart from the injury news of Reus being ruled out of the tournament and several other fitness concerns. Still, they are a team no team will fancy playing in the knockout stages.

It’s a strange time for the European old guard. Spain (13/2) so dominant in recent years are older and potentially on the wane judging by the way Brazil swept them away 3-0 in the Confederation Cup. But the Brazilian-born Diego Costa could fire them up again.

Holland, France and Italy are perhaps a shade of their former selves with transitional teams, so it could be down to the serious dark horses like Belgium, Chile and Columbia to light up the tournament and impress.

Dark Horse Entertainers

Belgium perhaps won’t miss the injured Benteke as much as Aston Villa did, as Lukaku may have got the nod over him anyway, being very much the man in form. The Belgian’s with their endless talent especially in the middle of the park, should stroll through their group to face sterner tests with a second round encounter with probably either Germany or Portugal, before a potential showdown with Argentina in the quarter-finals.

Colombia potentially has cover for the loss of their talismanic striker Radamel Falcao, but his absence is one of the big shames of the tournament. They should fancy their chances of topping what is an open group before playing the runner-up of England’s group.

Chile threatened to make an imprint in the last World Cup before having to face Brazil in the second round. A similar fate is likely if they come second in their group this time round. But offering an improved team on four years ago, if they can find a cutting edge to add to their capable midfield that includes both Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez and Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal, then they could potentially pip Spain to top spot in the group, which could open up the rest of the tournament for them.

To Come

Keep an eye out in the next few days for MOMS run downs of all the groups, with the predicted teams to make it through, the potential group top scorers and the Villa connections of every group. UTV