The 2014 World Cup is coming closer and closer, and now that we’ve completed a bevvy of group previews, our picks for the sleeper teams of the 2014 World Cup, and our look at the race for the Golden Boot, it’s time to make some overall predictions.
Will some teams wilt under the hot Brazilian sun? Can hosts Brazil live up to their nation’s expectations of winning the Cup? Or will reigning champs Spain retain their title? Will Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo perform in the big stage? Who will survive the “Groups of Death?”
Get as ready for soccer’s biggest moment by creating a betting account right now and read on for our humble predictions for the 2014 World Cup.[sc:Soccer ]
2014 World Cup Preview and Predictions
Check out the handy guide to each group below. Click on the group name link for more in-depth previews and predictions for that group, team, or award.
Group Winners and Runners-up
Group A – Winners: Brazil; Runners-up: Croatia
Brazil undeniably has the most quality in this group, and will win it easily. In fact, winning all three games is a distinct possibility. Meanwhile, Croatia should have enough talent to overcome their biggest challengers, Mexico, for 2nd place.
[sc:Soccer240banner ]Group B – Winners: Spain; Runners-up: Netherlands
Though the Spaniards are older and more battle-weary, and the Dutch will have a much different team from 2010, the two World Cup finalists in South Africa will still have enough quality to out-muscle wild card Chile and emerge from Group B.
Group C – Winners: Ivory Coast; Runners-up: Colombia
The absence of Radamel Falcao drops Colombia from a shoe-in group winner to a questionable runner-up. Japan will push hard for that 2nd spot, but Colombia should still go through. Yaya Toure and the Ivory Coast (+375) capitalize and ascend to top spot.
Group D – Winners: Italy; Runners-up: Uruguay
A fully healthy Luis Suarez would’ve given Uruguay a great shot at winning the very tough “Group of Death.” But the uncertainty of Suarez’s status swings the race for group winner to Italy. England puts on a valiant effort but falls just short.
Group E – Winners: France; Runners-up: Switzerland
Switzerland will push neighbors France much harder than anticipated for top spot, but the French have too much quality and will emerge group winners. Switzerland will still qualify easily as runners-up.
Group F – Winners: Argentina; Runners-up: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Barring a minor miracle, Group F should be the most straightforward group, with title favorites Argentina on top by a comfortable margin with runners-up Bosnia & Herzegovina handling their challengers.
Group G – Winners: Germany; Runners-up: Portugal
When the smoke clears from the war that is Group G, the cream will rise to the top. Germany, the best team in the group, will take top spot, while the best individual, Cristiano Ronaldo, lifts Portugal to 2nd. The Donovan-less USA could challenge here, but unless Ronaldo falters the Portugese will edge the Americans.
Group H – Winners: Russia; Runners-up: Belgium
The wiles of veteran manager Fabio Capello will give the Russians (+250) the edge over a more talented but inexperienced Belgium team to win Group H. The Belgians settle for a runner-up spot.
World Cup Finalists and Champion Predictions
After the group phrase, the teams that advance play down a 16-team single-elimination format. While it’s very difficult to anticipate the exact match ups, we’re not afraid to make a few bold assumptions as to who will be left standing when the grass has settled…
3rd Place- Spain
Spain gets by Croatia in the Round of 16 and Italy in the quarterfinals, but the defending champions finally meet their match as they fall to Lionel Messi and Argentina in the semifinals. The Spaniards get some consolation by beating Germany in the battle for third.
Runners-up – Brazil
Brazil navigates tricky ties with the Netherlands in the Round of 16, the Ivory Coast in the quarterfinals, and survives Germany in the semis, but just like in 1950, they fall agonizingly short in the final hurdle on home soil.
World Cup Champion – Argentina
Argentina makes short work of Russia in the Round of 16 and Ronaldo’s Portugal in the quarterfinals, before Lionel Messi takes out his Barcelona teammates in Spain in the semis. And in the final, Argentina does what Uruguay managed in 1950 at the Maracana: beat their South American neighbors and hosts, Brazil.
Golden Ball (Best Player) – Lionel Messi
Finally, Messi (+800) displays the club form that made him the best player in the world in leading his country to a third World Cup. With the hardware to prove it, Messi cements his legacy as one of the all-time greats.
Golden Boot (Top Scorer) – Lionel Messi
In leading Argentina to the World Cup Final, Messi (+750) plays more games and in turn scores the most goals to finish as the top scorer in the tournament.
Golden Glove (Best Goalie) – Iker Casillas
Brazil and Argentina reaching the World Cup Final will be for reasons other than outstanding goalkeeping. This could open the door for Spain’s Iker Casillas (+550) to snatch the award in captaining the team to a 3rd place finish.[sc:Soccer490banner ]
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