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2014 World Cup Predictions

by Photo of Matthew Golda

The World Cup in Brazil kicks off tomorrow for what should be an action-packed month of soccer.

2014 World Cup Predictions

In this article…

We are on the eve of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. There are your usual favorites: Brazil, Germany, Spain. Your other favorites: Argentina, Netherlands, Italy. And your slouches: Australia, Iran, Honduras. 

There are also the Americans, who have been placed in the group of death with three challenging foes. There is Germany, the second-ranked team in the world and U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann's home country. He helped Germany win the World Cup for in 1990 (Technically speaking though, it was West Germany. Germany's first united World Cup appearance was in 1994). Then there is Portugal, the fifth-ranked team home of Cristiano Ronaldo (who looks like this everyday). Finally there is Ghana, the team that has ousted the US in the previous two World Cups (in the final game of the group stage in 2006 and in the knockout round in 2010). But to be the best, you have to play the best. Sounds cliche, but it is only cliche because it's true. Whoever claims victory on the tournament's final day will have played outstanding soccer.

Before I get to some predictions, have you seen this five-minute ad Nike put out for the World Cup? This makes me excited. Zlatan Ibrahimovic seems so eloquent.

Without further delay, here are my predictions for the 2014 World Cup:

Brazil, Spain, Columbia, Italy, France, Argentina, Germany, Belgium.

These teams are literally the favorites in each group, so I'm not really going out on a limb.

The Other Group Advancements: 

Croatia, Chile, Ivory Coast, Uruguay, Switzerland, Nigeria, USA, Russia. 

I know, I know, I have the US making it over Portugal, which seems like a homer pick, but if the US can limit the impact of Ronaldo, the rest of Portugal's roster is fairly manageable. Go go USA!

Sleepers: 

Chile and Russia. 

Chile has a good, explosive team that might well win a group that has powerhouses Spain and Netherlands. Russia is under the helm of Fabio Capello, who coached the England squad in the 2010 World Cup, which was deemed a disappointment, despite making it to the knockout stage. Both sides play well on both sides of the ball.

Disappointing Team: 

Netherlands. 

The Dutch are in a tough group and although they sport a solid squad (and are coming off a World Cup Final appearance back in 2010), they have a history of inconsistent play. 

Disappointing Player: 

Wayne Rooney. 

His World Cup career has been underwhelming to say the least (he has 0 goals in 8 appearances) and this 2014 England team consists of a lot of good, young players. Rooney, 28, may be giving way to a younger guard of English footballers.

Breakout Player:

Eduardo Vargas

Hailing from Santiago, Chile, Vargas, who is only 24, is poised to be the starting forward for a seemingly under-the-radar Chile team. He will be one of the key reasons they make it out of a group that features Spain and Netherlands.

Champions: Argentina

A European team has never won on South American soil, so, even though Spain and Germany are tough teams, I like Argentina to hoist the trophy for the first time since 1986, when Diego Maradona did this and this en route to winning the World Cup. And don't be surprised if the Argentines are playing against Brazil in the final match. Wouldn't that be something?

Golden Boot: Lionel Messi

It's his time. If not now, then when?

If you have World Cup fever, then worry no more, because the wait is just about over! Give us your predictions in the comments section below!

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