Wednesday, June 11, 2014

World Cup Predictions

Who will win the 2014 World Cup?!  You could watch the actual tournament, but why bother since I'm going to totally accurately predict the entire thing right here.

Group A: Brazil, Cameroon, Mexico, Croatia
Brazil is obviously the giant favourite and then it's a pick-em for the second spot.  You can list the final three teams in any order and I wouldn't be surprised.  I'll go with the Cameroon side on a hunch.

Group B: Spain, Chile, Netherlands, Australia
It's kind of nutty that the two 2010 finalists were drawn together in the same group, and it's even nuttier to think that one quite possibly will go home before the knockout stage.  It'll all come down to Chile vs. Netherlands and I like Chile's home-continent advantage against the aging Dutch team.  Besides that tossup, Spain will obviously advance and Australia is obviously overmatched here.

Group C: Greece, Cote d'Ivoire, Colombia, Japan
Forget the "Group Of Death," this is the Group Of Confusion.  Any combination is possible out of this quartet, as Colombia's semi-favoured status took a big hit when Radamel Falcao got injured.  (Too bad, since 'Rock Me Amadeus' is a great song.)  I'll take Greece and Cote d'Ivoire in the full awareness that Colombia and Japan could easily advance instead, so I'll just fit back and enjoy this one.  I'm trying to talk my friends Mikiko (Japanese/Canadian heritage) and Joanne (Greek/Canadian heritage) to make a slap bet on either the Japan/Greece game or perhaps on which team advances further in general.  Or, TWO slap bets to cover both.  Suspense!

Group D: Italy, Uruguay, England, Costa Rica
Since England's World Cup chances are always overhyped, maybe this year they'll win the whole thing since nobody is taking them seriously.  I think everyone in the UK is trying to talk themselves into this reverse psychology, though I don't buy it myself.  Italy are the clear favourites, Uruguay has the home-continent edge (this will be a common theme in my predictions), England will suffer one heartbreaking loss the country can complain about for the next four years and Costa Rica will be happy to be there.

Group E: France, Ecuador, Switzerland, Honduras
This is similar to Groups B, D and F in that you have a favourite, an underdog and two teams in the middle battling for that second spot.  It seems to tab France a favourite given how badly they crapped the bed in 2010 yet here they are, with their act seemingly cleaned up.  Obviously France aren't as big favourites here as Argentina, Italy or Spain are in their groups, yet it'd still be a surprise if France goes out in the group stage.  As for second place, I'll pick Ecuador in yet another instance of a South American side going through.  Homer picks!

Group F: Argentina, Nigeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran
Because I'm a contrarian dope, I'm picking Nigeria to advance just because seemingly everyone has B&H going through and it seems a bit too easy.  Argentina will clearly have the run of the group and Iran will be satisfied just to get a point or three, so the Nigeria/Bosnia & Herzegovina game may decide things.

Group G: Germany, Ghana, Portugal, United States
The dreaded Group Of Death!  (Though Group B is pretty deathly itself and Group C is scary due to its lack of major favourites.)  Though these are four very very good teams, it's not that hard to predict in my eyes.  Germany is obviously going through, and I'll pick them for first though a second-place finish wouldn't be a stunner --- the only true shock would be if Germany didn't advance at all.  Past them, the Americans don't seem to have the horsepower to actually beat the big boys, though they can certainly hang with them.  So it all comes down to Ghana and Portugal, and  I'll go against the chalk once again by picking Ghana ahead of Cristiano Ronaldo & Friends, since Portugal isn't quite as deep as some think once you get past their megastar.  Maybe I'm being sentimental in picking Ghana given how badly they got jobbed by Uruguay's handball in 2010 but what the heck, I'm Ghana go ahead and pick them to advance.

Group H: Belgium, South Korea, Russia, Algeria
I'm on record as thinking Belgium are overrated, but they lucked out by being in the easiest group of the World Cup.  They'll advance and be joined by South Korea, who I think are being somewhat overlooked here and definitely has the skill to outpace Russia.  This group is also something of a "favourite, two tossups, lagger" quartet though it wouldn't shock me if Algeria upset South Korea or Russia.  Hell, maybe they'll even upset Belgium and really make my prediction of Belgium's overratedness look bang-on.

Knockout round matchups…
* Brazil over Chile
* Uruguay over Greece
* France over Nigeria
* Germany over South Korea
* Spain over Cameroon
* Italy over Cote d'Ivoire
* Argentina over Ecuador
* Ghana over Belgium

* Brazil over Uruguay
* Germany over France
* Spain over Italy
* Argentina over Ghana

* Brazil over Germany
This, to me, is the real World Cup final.  These seem like the two best sides in the tournament and they're both dripping with talent.  Germany is always so, so solid in every single World Cup and yet I simply can't fathom picking against Brazil in Brazil.
* Spain over Argentina
Likewise, I can't fathom picking against Spain until someone actually beats them at a major tournament.  This side has already become all-time legends for winning two Euros and a World Cup since 2008, and another world title would likely earn them the distinction as the greatest team of all time.  That's enough for me to pick them over Messi's crew.

* Brazil over Spain
Yeah, the home side takes it down.  It's not a flashy pick or a suspenseful one, but as I said, it's awfully hard to pick against Brazil when possibly the entire country's sanity rides on the team's results.  I'll pick Brazil to capture their sixth Cup, this one perhaps the sweetest of all since it came on their home soil.

No comments: