Now that the Group stages are set for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ and I’ve had time to reflect on all the madness, here are my thoughts on who will be the leaders from each group.
Group A - Brazil
With not only the home field advantage, Brazil has a young core of elite players that will surely wreak havoc on any team that they encounter. I do see an upset in one of the group stage matches; however, it will not be enough to pin them with the number two spot or let alone not allow the hosting nation to advance. Brazil should lead the group but not as convincingly as most people think.
Group B - Netherlands
I believe this group, excluding any Australian game, will play out as a 90 game chess like match. Meaning low scoring and the teams will rely heavily on position. According to FIFA, “Group B at the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ will be heavily shaded with hues of South Africa 2010, the section kicking off with nothing less than a repeat of the title decider from four years ago. Reigning world champions Spain must thus tussle with 2010 runners-up the Netherland in a group in which Australia and Chile – the latter also having clashed with Vicente del Bosque’s men in the first round on African soil – will be hoping to upset the heavyweight European duo in the race for the Round of 16.”
Group C - Colombia
All of the hard work that Colombia has done will finally pay off as they have a manageable group to make it to the knockout stages and more. The second spot is up for grabs but I think we will see a Japan or Greece taking that position.
Group D - Uruguay
All personal bias aside, I think Uruguay will easily defeat England, Costa Rica and get a draw from Italy allowing them to take the first place. Uruguay has a combination of old and new players and if all can stay healthy they will surely posses all the tools to advance with the number 1 spot and be a force to reckon with in the knockout stages.
Group E - Ecuador
Although France is the favorites because of their last performance in the playoff round, Ecuador is that street fighter type of a team that you don’t want to meet in the group stage. If the team stays healthy they can surely get far and become a problem for any team that will meet them in the knockout stages.
Group F - Argentina
As always, luck on their side, they got the group of ease. Nothing more to say here other then if Messi doesn’t score against these opponents than he is not that great as many paint him to be.
Group G - Germany
The nation that really wants to win this cup. They have come so close in the last three cups. In South Africa they showed the world how a national team can be dynamic and play more than one style of Futbol. I see them advancing easily through the group stage and as a favorite to win the title.
Group H - Russia
A nation trying to set the tone for the next World Cup as they will be the host. It would be a dream for them to take the cup home and be defending champs on home soil but the likely hood of that is slim. I think they will show us some great Futbol in the group stage and take the number 1 spot. We will surely see some exciting goals from this team, as they love to shot from far and have canons for legs.