Thursday, December 29, 2011

Who will win the 2014 World Cup in Brazil?

Contributed by Alan McClintock.
Associate Director, USA Sport Group.

With my beloved Northern Ireland failing to progress beyond the qualifying stages for yet another international competition, I took to looking ahead to the World Cup in Brazil 2014. History answers the question, “Are Northern Ireland going to make it to Brazil, 2014?” No, we will not; Northern Ireland have not qualified for a World Cup since Mexico '86, where we played our last game versus Brazil in a 3-0 defeat in the group stages.

Only 8 countries have ever won the World Cup; Brazil, Italy, Germany, Argentina, Uruguay, England, France and Spain. So who will win the World Cup in Brazil, 2014?

Here are my 2 front runners:

The host nation, the only team to have ever played in every World Cup, the 5 time champions... Is 2014 the year when they put right what went so wrong the last time the World Cup was held in their home nation in 1950? (The format was different back then, Brazil and Uruguay battled it out in a game that Brazil just had to get a draw to win the tournament.) A crowd of nearly 200,000 attended the game in the famous Maracana stadium where Brazil lost 2-1, the game now known in Brazil as the "Final Fatídica" ("fateful final").

Brazil have started their rebuilding under the current regime and despite being left out of the 2010 World Cup by Dunga, Ronaldinho has played and captained the team more recently in Brazil's recent run of international friendly games (more of a marketing ploy than anything with Robinho’s current injury). Expect Lucio, Ronaldinho, Maicon, Elano, and maybe even Kaka not to make the roster for this homecoming. These players making way for the young starlets including the already seasoned veterans Neymar, Ganso, David Luiz, Marcelo, the Da Silva brothers, and I am sure there are many jewels which they have identified to unveil and prepare in time for Brazil, 2014.

The 2010 World Cup Winners will have to consider the retirement of Puyol, Casillas and Xavi, and players like Alonso and Iniesta will be in their maturing years but could still be in with a shout of making the trip. But who better than to replace them with than players like David Silva, Cesc Fabregas, Juan Mata, Thiago, Javi Martinez and De Gea to name but a few.

It looks like they could drop 9 players from their 2010 World Cup squad of 23 players and dip into the U21 pool to make up the remainder of the squad, with those names I mentioned previously being placed on the big stage in the starting lineup of the defending World Champions.
There is not a person I know who can watch Spain, even with the influence their players have on their domestic teams, and dislike the style of play. Silva at Manchester City, Fabregas, Xavi, Iniesta, Villa at Barcelona, etc.

I would discuss England, but to be honest the Golden Generation has passed and to the strange delight of the British media they did not reach their potential. Other teams which I have an eye on are Germany, led by the silky attacking skills of the Real Madrid attacker Mesut Ozil, and the goal scoring powers of Thomas Muller. Not to mention a matured Sebastian Schweinsteiger, I think Germany could have a good run also.

Argentina, Mexico, Italy, France and Portugal stand out as others who could go on and win it for me, but may not have enough to go the whole way.

Therefore based on the assumption that Northern Ireland do not get to the finals of Brazil 2014, if I were to select my winner now, I would base it on age of squad, experience in World Cup Finals, talent level coming through and where the competition is being held. I predict that Brazil will claim their 6th World Cup success in their home country in 2014.

P.S. I think it is too early for the US to be considered as potential winners but hey you never know!

1 comment:

  1. If Brazil plays

    Julio Cesar GK

    DEF: Marcelo, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Dani Alves

    MID: Kaka, Oscar, Ronaldinho

    ATT: Neymar, Robinho, Hulk

    Then Brazil no if, and, or buts!