World Cup 2014 Group By Group Preview

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Updated: June 11, 2014

The greatest sporting competition is upon us again and nearly the whole world will be watching supporting their team or watching just purely for the atmosphere. Here is a preview of each group.

Group A

There has been controversy over the stadiums not being ready for the finals and still days before the start of the World Cup, the stadium where the first game will take place, Brazil v Croatia, is not exactly finished. Besides their poor construction standards, Brazil seem to have a star to construct their team around, Neymar. The world will be looking at how Neymar performs and even though he is a talented young player at one of the best clubs in the world, he finished this season with a low scoring record and trophy-less, which is the only of Brazil’s little concerns. Brazil’s qualification isn’t a given with Croatia and Mexico who will strongly battle out their place into the second round and Cameroon who can always surprise at the World Cup. There will be many players to look out for in this group, including Neymar, Modric and Eto’o. Mexico would usually be favourites to be in the last 16 but their players haven’t had the best of seasons, certainly Henrnandez after a lack of games for Manchester United and not very many goals to show for the opportunities. The atmosphere should favour Brazil as it did in the Confederations Cup and they should qualify first.

Group B

In this group there are the finalists from the 2010 World Cup which should make for quite a spectacle. Spain currently reigning European and World Champions will fancy their chances of competing against Brazil’s mighty audience for their second World Cup. Over the past few years a lot of Spain’s team and style was based on that of Barcelona mixed with the speed of the Madrid players. 4 years on from the past World Cup and Barcelona’s reign and style has been beaten and humiliated. Spain aren’t the same team they were even during the Euros, Xavi’s age is catching up with him, Iniesta isn’t as agile and quick as his younger self and their top scorer in the last World Cup, David Villa’s career has dipped a bit due to injury. Netherlands should usually be strong contestants to even win the competition but after their ridiculous exit of the Euros, people will be lowering their expectations. Chile aren’t a team that should go under the radar after their impressive qualification and not forgetting their 0-2 over England at Wembley in November of last year. Australia could be the team that drops behind the others with their players not really up to the standards of the other teams. Robin Van Persie will be one to look out for as usual but without Rafael Van Der Vaart because of injury, can he really rely on Robben’s service on the wings or will Huntelaar start after a good season in The Bundesliga. Diego Costa is also one to look out for as one of the best players this year in La Liga but I wonder how he will cope with the “Spanish” style. Chile have Barcelona striker (speedster) Sanchez to rely on for goals but their key player is without doubt Vidal who plays for Juventus and will give Chile the attacking drive and defensive solidity.

Group C

is considered as one of the easier groups with teams such as Colombia, Ivory Coast, Greece and Japan, not the worst teams in this competition just that there aren’t any power house teams in this group. This group is fairly open with Colombia probably being favourites to go through before Falcao got injured, the question is can James Rodriguez take on the responsibility, it’s not that Colombia lack in attacking options, they will just quite simply miss Falcao. Ivory Coast are quite weak defensively which may diminish key player, Yaya Toure’s role and freedom. Ivory Coast aren’t short of attacking options with Swansea’s Bony and ex-Chelsea players, Drogba and Kalou, ex-Arsenal player Gervinho and Basel’s Sio, who all have their unique attacking qualities. Greece are an unpredictable side who I presume will not win a game in this World Cup as they never usually do, we can predict that they will play a defensive and very negative style. Unless Mitroglou can perform, Greece will struggle to score. Japan have a good enough team to get out of the group but unless they improve on tightening up late on (the mistake they made during the Confederations Cup) they might not even get out of the group stages. Japan’s two creative midfielders, Honda and Kagawa, will need to perform to make up for their lack of attacking threat. It shouldn’t come as any surprise whatever happens in this group except if Greece get through.

Group D

This is the group that is labelled as “The group of death. Uruguay are probably the strongest team in this group and in South America helps them according to statistics. Although Saurez is a doubt for the first game against Costa Rica which shouldn’t be too much of a problem, but he might not be 100% fit for the other games against England and Italy. Italy are favourites to join Uruguay in the next round thanks to the help of Pirlo and his magic right foot. Italy will without doubt miss Montelivo who broke his leg against Northern Ireland, who gave Italy great defensive stability and is a hard worker to accommodate Pirlo. England are going into a World Cup and for once a strong favourites to not even pass the group stages. It’s not that England’s team has particular weaknesses, it’s just that the team can’t compare to recent England teams, Wayne Rooney past his best, one right-back who can’t defend or make-shift right-backs or an inexperienced attacking line-up. Costa Rica have barely any hopes of even being a surprise next round entrant being the lowest ranked team in the “group of death”. The only really notable players from their team are Levante’s goalkeeper Navas and Fulham’s Bryan Ruiz.

Group E

Probably one of the most interesting groups, but not because of the talent that they show off, but the unpredictable teams that are in it. Switzerland are the highest ranked team in the group and should probably qualify past the group stages, they have a good selection of young and talented players like Shaqiri, Stocker, Schaar or Drmic. They won’t be as defensive as they were in 2010 that got tic hem a win against Spain but consequently cost them winning against Honduras, who they face again this time around. Honduras don’t expect anything from this World Cup, a win would be a successful World Cup for them, they don’t have a varied range of players except for maybe players who have or wear a Wigan shirt (Juan Carlos Garcia, Maynor Figueroa (Hull),  Roger Espinoza, Wilson Palacios (Stoke)). Honduras are far from a flattering team and will insist on being tight defensively. France should always be considered as a top team in the World Cup but their consistency to be inconsistent and unpredictable is quite simply entertaining, France will struggle without Nasri and Ribery, who are France’s most creative players. Now a whole nation’s hopes lie on Benzema and Pogba who can surely give France that boost to just get them through the group stages. Ecuador’s team grieved the death of their top scorer in qualifying, Christian Benitez, who sadly lost his life to cardiac arrest. Ecuador aren’t hoping to win the World Cup but they believe that they can cause a little bit of a shock by getting through the group stages. They will rely heavily on Valencia with his pace and to get crosses in.

Group F

There is a clear idea of how this group should end. Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Nigeria and Iran seems to be the predicted order by many, which makes perfect sense. Argentina desperately want to get their name back on the World Cup trophy. This will be Argentina’s moment with their very strong squad consisting Messi, Aguero, Lavezzi, Higuain and Di Maria involved in their attack. Messi and Aguero will be the players they rely on to produce something from nothing which could be what wins them the World Cup. Bosnia might be World Cup debutants, they should be expected to go through to the knock-out stages with good enough players like Dzeko, Pjanic and Begovic. They will be looking to attack at most teams except for maybe Argentina. Recent competitions haven’t been kind for Nigeria, having a horrific World Cup in 2010 and failing to qualify for the 2012 African Cup Of Nations until 2013 when they got their first African title in 19 years. This time round won’t be the same as in 2010, this Nigeria side have changed and have a new young exciting look to them, they will surely try and come at every team even if that may be Argentina. Iran are a side were not used to seeing in the World Cup every year but they can without doubt produce a shock this year, with their solid defence and discipline, they will be able to frustrate nearly any team.

Group G

Group G has maybe two favourites/outsiders to win the World Cup and consisting of what can be said as a very attacking group. Germany should always be considered favourites, this year is no different, they still have kept the same basis as far back as 2006 with Lahm, Shweinsteiger, Podolski and Klose. There are more editions that took the 2010 World Cup by storm, making them still a reasonably young squad but also experienced. They will express more flair than ever before with Shweinsteiger ready to provide a platform for Klose to break Ronaldo’s record, along side Khedira who will reassure the German defence. Their bench is blessed with an extreme amount of talent who would start for any other nation. Their only downside may be if Klose gets injured, they only have Podolski as the other striker who we have seen is not exactly a goal scorer. Portugal will get far is this competition, Ronaldo will lead them to the quarters, semis or maybe even the finals. The team wouldn’t be the same without him, although there are a lot of good Portuguese players that go unknown, they will be playing a very quickly a make other team’s defenders run all over the place. Ghana were the neutrals favourites in 2010 all the way to the quarter-finals, they will, like the others in this group, be very offensive, they have all the players necessary for it, like the Ayew brothers and Gyan. They can still stay reasonably organised with Asamoah and Essien holding the team together defensively, the Black Stars were intending to progress further than last time and their group draw won’t stop them from trying that. The USA feel a bit unlucky with their draw, they could have maybe qualified if they were in a different group, but now they seem doomed to last place. Their defence is far from impressive so they should usually be hoping that their attack could cause other teams problems but with Clint Dempsey being their only real threat, it’s not looking good and with Jozy Altidore potentially starting up front, this campaign could be miserable for the Americans.

Group H

In the last group we have everyone’s favourite dark horses, Belgium. They will be physically dominant compared to any other team in the competition, with players like Kompany, Fellaini and Lukaku, they will outmuscle nearly every team. They also have a lot of unique players who can all offer different attributes to the team like Hazard who can dribble past anybody however he likes, Mirallas who can run in behind defenders, De Bruyne who can find the small pockets to slot the ball into or Lukaku who can run in behind defenders, hold up the ball and be a threat on set-pieces. Algeria just about qualified for the World Cup and aren’t a team seen regularly at the World Cup, but that doesn’t mean they can’t escape from this group, their young side will surprise Russia and Belgium in their group games whether they win or not. Russia will be happy with the draw, it finally gives them a chance to progress from the group stages, without Arshavin, this Russian team can improve from 2012 and try and have a team and not a team built and accommodated around Arshavin. If Dzagoev can perform like he did in the 2012 Euros and if Kerzhakov can score like he’s known for doing, Russia can go far. For South Korea, there a few decent players in their squad but I can see the occasion getting to them, they’re not players who are used to playing at the top level, there are a few Premier League faces in there but who aren’t the biggest performers at club level and will now be expected to lead their national team.

The World Cup starts on the 12 of June kicking off with Brazil vs Croatia.

Keep checking Let’s Talk Sport for regular updates and articles during this year’s World Cup.

 

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