The biggest footballing party on Earth will be with us soon. From 12 June to 13 July this year, the world’s best 32 footballing nations will fight it out in Brazil, for the ultimate prize – the FIFA World Cup 2014 trophy.
Who will emerge as the champions of the world? Here is a look at some of the top favourites to take the title and the reasons why.
They are playing at home. And home ground advantage is usually quite important.
On many occasions, the home teams have their local fans to pack the stadiums and cheer them on during important matches – this can be as good as having a 12th man on the football pitch.
In fact, several countries have won, or over-achieved at major football tournaments in the past, because they were playing at home. Take England in 1966, or West Germany in 1974 in the World Cup.
As well, many other underdogs have surpassed expectations simply because they were the hosts. For example, the South Korean underdogs reached the World Cup semi-finals in 2002.
Brazilian coach Luis Felipe Scolari has World Cup experience and he has won this tournament before (with other national teams) so he may be able to successfully guide the Brazilians to the World Cup trophy.
They are possibly the strongest team in this year’s World Cup tournament, and they have the lethal Lionel Messi, who can literally single-handedly win games for both his club and country.
To support Messi, the Argentineans also have other equally formidable supporting players up front, such as Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Erik Lamela. Other teams will probably shudder in their boots, against such a strong strike-force. So the Argentina team will definitely be in good stead to win the tournament this year.
They are a very well oiled side and have a very dependable goalkeeper in Manuel Neuer. He will be able to make vital saves that can mean the difference between victory and defeat.
But at the same time, not only can Germany defend, they can also attack very well. They have top-notch offensive players such as Mesut Oezil, Thomas Mueller and Toni Krooz.
So the Germans are also in a strong position to win the trophy, and may too, spoil the party for Brazil.
If they clinch the 2014 World Cup, they will definitely make history – because no defending champions have successfully defended the World Cup title.
But that said, the Spanish team is very experienced and focused and their teamwork is good – this was seen in their successful World Cup 2010 campaign. At the same time, their coach, Vincente Del Bosque, has achieved success at the top level and he certainly has the capability to help Spain to successfully defend the crown.
History does not favour Spain though. No team has ever defended the World Cup title. Moreover, they are also in a tough group, against Holland, Chile and Australia – which are all strong teams. So this may play against them as well.
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