Though the football World Cup only happens every four years, the hype surrounding the event always surpasses expectations, no matter what country happens to be hosting it. In spite of the Qatar controversy for the 2022 World Cup, people are still excited about it, as they are about the 2018 and this 2014 World Cup in Brazil. There’s always one question that would make many people millionaires if they could answer it however, and that is the question of who is going to actually win the tournament.
Fortune tellers, psychics, and a magic predictive octopus have all been used unsuccessfully by many to determine the result of this year’s tournament, but as this 2014 World Cup has demonstrated, there’s no way to know for sure exactly what is going to happen. Spain’s early exit from the tournament couldn’t have been predicted by most, and Costa Rica’s presence so late in the game is also baffling; there are also teams still in the tournament that were always going to do big things as well. This article doesn’t claim to have inside information, but will attempt to put forward the most likely candidates for victory in this 2014 World Cup.
You can bet that although it’s been more than 60 years since their home loss to Uraguay in the 1950 World Cup, this defeat will still be as fresh the minds of the Brazilians as it was a minute after it happened. This is probably the main driving force for Brazil’s team members as they take to the field in each and every match this year, attempting to prove the point that the home nation is the strongest and that they won’t lie down and let any invading forces dominate in this World Cup. Their host nation status certainly does wonders for the team’s odds, being 13/5 to win as of the 5th of July, but will all of this expectation weight a little too heavy on the shoulders of the Brazilians?
Though the team does have a number of good players, one must take into consideration Thiago Silva’s recent booking which will have him out of the next match with Germany, and who will ever forget Neymar’s fractured vertebrae incident? Not the Brazilians, because he’s now ruled out for the rest of the tournament. Perhaps the impact of these two absences will be more psychological than anything, but how would Argentina manage if they lost Messi or Aguero? Not too well one would imagine, so it remains to be seen whether favourites Brazil can overcome these absences and triumph in the World Cup.
When it comes to big names with almost limitless skill, Argentina have the advantage over most other teams in the entire tournament. The first motivator for Argentina is their rivalry with host country Brazil, a rivalry which should spur each and every player on in each match to perform as well as they possibly can. Argentina are most definitely an attacking team with Messi, Aguero, Tevez, Di Maria, and Higuain forming a united front that would have any opposing defense quaking in their football boots. People have criticised Argentina’s defense, though it must be born in mind that even a once-weak defense has been strengthened in recent years and is now not as much of a weakness as people like to think.
Argentina are far from the underdogs of the tournament, nor can they be described as a dark horse because their skill shines more brightly than most. With Lionel Messi looking to quash nay-sayers that criticise his international performance and “secret weapon” Erik Lamela bringing up the midfield and making every penny of the 14 million paid for him worth it, Argentina are a terrifying force on the field. The only reason Brazil have better odds for winning than this team is because they are the host nation, so every game is a home game. Argentina easily have the ability to lift the World Cup at the end of proceedings.
Germany are definitely more apt for being named the dark horse of the tournament than any other. Don’t let their poor performances at the UEFA European Championships be any kind of indication of their World Cup Performance – this is a talented side who have their youth as an advantage, and will arguably be at their very peak this year. Their 3-1 defeat against Argentina was also very unlike this side, and they definitely need to get a hang of their tactical considerations when not in possession of the ball.
Germany have a few great players on hand however, with Mesut Ozil being one of the key factors that will tip the scales one way or the other for the team. Samed Yesil is another player that will be one to watch, and having been recently signed by Liverpool, still has everything to prove in this World Cup. These players as well as the rest of the roster make Germany the most complete team in the whole of the tournament who could probably dominate even if they lost a fair few men.
Belgium certainly aren’t favourites for winning the World Cup, but that doesn’t mean that this talented team shouldn’t be feared by the opposition. In fact, Belgium have a very talented side with a ferociously ambitious coach to boot. They will have everything to prove in their match against Argentina however; this will be the ultimate test of Belgium’s resolve.
Though Belgium cannot be said to have a complete team that is as strong as Germany’s, it does have a very well-rounded squad with a strong midfield as well. Also remember that many of the squad also play for the very best teams in the Barclays Premier League, so we aren’t dealing with a bunch of unknowns and underdogs here. Whether the youth of the team will be a strength or a weakness is still to be decided, but they have energy and flare to their advantage whilst not having and serious disadvantages to overcome either, except for perhaps going up against Messi in their soon-to-be-played matched vs. Argentina.
Perhaps the biggest candidate for winning the World Cup as the underdogs, the Netherlands team certainly have a few tricks up their sleeve to swing the odds in their favour, even if the current odds of them winning the world cup are around 9/2. It must be remembered that the Netherlands team has some cracking midfielders Wesley Sneijder and Arjen Robben as well as forward Robin van Persie to boot, and with the latter being one of the top goal scorers in the Premier League, he is sure to prove useful in the Netherlands’ pursuit of victory in the World Cup.
It may also comfort Netherlands fans that the team did supremely well in the previous World Cup, making it to the finals last time around but losing out in the end. Still, it may take more than a few good players to secure victory this time around for the Netherlands, particularly with Argentina being such a dangerous side and Brazil also having the support of the home crowd to carry them through. Betting on the Netherlands to win wouldn’t exactly be a foolish thing to do however, even at this late stage; they may surprise everyone yet.
Costa Rica are most definitely the most underrated team in the entire World Cup by a long way. The fact that they are still in the running is a surprise to most, but this didn’t happen by pure chance. Campell is probably one of the main hopes for the Costa Rica team this year, but they managed to beat Italy and Uruguay, with the latter having a deceptively challenging team this year as well. Though the odds for Costa Rica don’t look fantastic, they still may surprise everyone yet in this 2014 World Cup, particularly when they go up against the Netherlands in their next match.