Football 4 years ago

WC14: Six Big Calls

  • WC14: Six Big Calls

As the majority of us fumble with our phones to set an alarm ahead of Friday morning, it is important that we take a minute to recognise the magnitude the coming weeks hold for those of us who bleed football. The World Cup is the omnipotent leveller of society, where young and old, poor and rich can gather together in equality and enjoy the world's biggest party. From the slums on the hills, to the apartments by the water - football unites us all. 

Anything can happen on the biggest stage in international football, and with that in mind, here are my six bold predictions for the 20th installment of the FIFA World Cup:

1. Argentina to fold

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Maybe not as quickly as the Flash on laundry day, but still.

An uncompetitive group should see the highly fancied Argentinian side through to the knock-out stages, but a poor showing on the international stage that has gladly played second fiddle to the short-comings of Germany has been the achilles heel of a side that on paper seems destined to succeed. Unfortunately, no game is ever won on the teamsheet, and what has long been a team of individuals - lead by (arguably) the greatest individual of the modern era, will bow out at the second hurdle when an anticipated fixture with either France or Switzerland awaits.

2. The Three Lions will roar

A herd of lions is often referred to as a pride, but the English nation has had anything but on the international stage where a mixture of bad luck and poor performances have seen Roy Hodgson's men wound their reputation of footballing giants. A South African safari to forget in 2010 will sit firmly in the minds of the old guard that still stand, whilst the young brigade will hope to stamp themselves into the upper echalon of football prowess. Look for the English to progress deep into July at this years cup - a quarter finals appearance should be the benchmark.

3. Belgium are the dark horse

Every man and his dog have predicted this one, and so by weight of people power it has made its way into my bold tips. Maybe make this one a safe bet.

All the same, the golden generation of Belgium football continues to produce quality players into the national fold, with Romelu Lukaku, Eden Hazard and Vincent Kompany leading an all star line up into the Brazilian humidity. The Belgians will benefit from the FIFA pooling system when they face Russia, South Korea and Algeria in the group stage, and are a hot prospect to feature at the end of the tournament. I fancy Belgium to push for a spot in the semis, if not the showpiece.

4. Brazil to cave 

If you thought sitting for your HSC exam was tough, imagine walking out for the Selecau in front of a parochial home crowd in Sao Paulo. Sure, your mothers nagging tones ran through your mind in the middle of your essay, but the Brazilian national team have the weight of a nation and the world's expectation on their shoulders. Can the youthful squad handle the pressure? Yours truly thinks not. At least not yet, and their campaign will end in the quarters.

5. Australia to progress

I'll give you a second to rub your eyes in disbelief before you look back again.

Good? Okay.

Just incase you are still convinced it's a typo, yes. I think Australia will get through the group of death. Maybe I'm blinded by patriotism, or maybe I'm just plain stupid, but the squad Ange Postecoglou has assembled has the ability to trouble the world's best teams. The Socceroos coach looked to the future when he chose his 23 man artillary for the Cup,  so our 'Roos go out their with nothing to lose when they take the field in Cuiaba against Chile. This, combined with their youthful arrogance, may well catch their more experienced opposition off guard. Feel free to roast me if they get hammered, but also feel free to congratulate me if they win.


That's right. 

It's their time. Joachim Low has created a squad that can and will dominate for long periods against their opponents, with Bastien Schweinsteiger and Mesut Ozil to lead an all-star engine room when Germany line up in their first group game. With guile and vision across the park, and Miroslav Klose only three goals away from becoming the all-time leading World Cup goalscorer, the Germans can become the first ever European team to win a World Cup on South American soil.

You heard it here first.





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