The Hitchcock Blogs 2014 World Cup Preview
Matt is here to run down the World Cup before things get started on Thursday.
By now, I’m sure you guys are fairly certain that the World Cup is going to kick off this week whether Americans like it or not. And while I look forward to the angry people on Twitter wondering why “that girly sport” is on their oh-so-manly ESPN, I am even more excited about the actual soccer that will be played during the tournament.
In order to bring you guys a preview of the tournament, I’m going to go group-by-group looking at each team in order of their predicted (by me) finish.
Time to get hype!
1. Brazil: Brazil has been among the soccer elite for a looooooong time, and now they have home-field advantage. Keep in mind that this isn’t some sort of sissy, St. Louis Cardinals-type home field. This is the kind of stuff that goes on in Brazil.
Actually, that probably should have been the “get hype” video.
2. Croatia: Group A is devoid of any other world-beaters, so Croatia is gifted this second spot by virtue of not being Mexico.
3. Mexico: The Mexicans are usually a sure bet to make it out of the group stage, but this incarnation of the team looked awful in qualifying. It looks like an early exit for Chicharito & Co.
4. Cameroon: I feel bad about this pick. I’ve been a huge fan of Samuel Eto’o ever since he was my go-to option in FIFA 10. His swan song won’t be too fruitful, but we can enjoy the good times.
1. Spain: Of course Spain is going to make it out of the group stage. All they do is play slow soccer and win. They are what dumb people think the Spurs are.
2. Chile: Chile will be able to get past the Dutch on the strength of their midfield play. That unit is led by Arturo Vidal, who is the Arturo Gatti of guys with the last name “Vidal.”
3. Netherlands: As much as I would like to watch Nigel De Jong kick more people in the chest, we all know how violence in the previous World Cup’s final correlates with success.
4. Australia: Y’know, kangaroos and stuff. They don’t have a prayer.
1. Columbia: Columbia has the quality to lead this group even without the services of Radamel Falcao. Fortunately for Radamel, he can drop the “a” and go back to his first love.
2. Greece: There are always haters in the building when Greece takes the pitch. Sure, they may be the most boring side in the tournament, but the Greeks are effective.
3. Ivory Coast: I would have used their proper name, but I don’t know how to access French accents on here. Unfortunately for Les Elephants, Drogba has all but fallen off of the map since helping Chelsea win the Champions League a few years ago.
4. Japan: Japan is getting a little too much credit for breezing through AFC qualifying. I expect to see something more in-line with their Confederations Cup exit last year.
1. Uruguay: Uruguay will claw (or bite) its way to the top of the real “Group of Death” behind glorious, rat-faced superhuman Luis Suarez. I sincerely hope he isn’t really a racist, because I would hate to have to stop cheering for plays like this.
2. Italy: It was basically a toss-up between Italy and England for this spot, so I went with the side that had Mario Balotelli.
3. England: Once again, an English side’s run in the World Cup will end in disaster. The real tragedy, though, is that they won’t even be able to reach penalties this time.
4. Costa Rica: Costa Rica is one of the better also-rans in this field; they just got stuck in the toughest group. I hear good things about the tourism there, though.
1. Switzerland: Something, something, “They’re neutral, so they’ll draw every game.” The Swiss lead a pretty weak group.
2. France: I would have liked France to win this group, but the loss of Franck Ribery will knock them down to second. I guess you could say, “Il est fatigue.”
3. Ecuador: I don’t see Ecuador ever reaching the knockout stage until they call up Jose Ribas.
4. Honduras: Honduras is one of the safest bets to go 0-3 on their way out of Brazil.
1. Argentina: Yeah, Argentina is going to roll through this easy group.
2. Bosnia and Herzegovina: I’ll be honest, I’d rather not have Bosnia and Herzegovina advance, because I hate having to type Bosnia and Herzegovina.
3. Iran: A lot of people are siding with the more-familiar Nigerian side here, but I’m not going to do that. Iran isn’t a great team, but I think they can sneak past Nigeria.
4. Nigeria: The Nigerians are a patient group, but sometimes that gets the best of them. I can’t see Nigeria scoring enough goals to survive.
1. Germany: The Germans are undoubtedly one of the favorites in Brazil. They not only have a great team, but they are a blast to watch. This team is destined for a deep run.
2. Portugal: Portugal has the best player in the world right now (I know it’s debatable.) and are actually a lot closer to Germany than people let on. The battle for first will be closer than the battle for second.
3. United States: Hey, you know, it’s not really our game, anyway. Right? I can’t wait for the FIBA World Cup.
4. Ghana: Ghana is not as good as you think they are. They’re just kind of coasting on their laurels from 2010. Sort of like Kevin-Prince Boateng.
1. Belgium: Vincent Kompany & Co. have defined themselves as one of the best sides in Europe. I’ll be Van Dammed if they don’t make it out of the group.
2. Russia: The Ruskies have an underrated side set to show the world that they are the best team that spans two continents.
3. Algeria: Eh. Let’s just watch this.
4. South Korea: No Park Ji-sung will be a problem for Worst Korea. He will be missed.
THE KNOCKOUT STAGE
Brazil 2:1 Chile
Columbia (extra time) 2:1 Italy
Spain 3:1 Croatia
Uruguay 4:1 Greece
Switzerland 2:1 Bosnia and Herzegovina
Germany 3:0 Russia
Argentina (pen.) 0(5):0(3) France
Belgium 0:1 Portugal
Brazil (pen.) 1(4):1(2) Columbia
Switzerland 1:2 Germany
Spain 4:0 Uruguay
Argentina 0:1 Portugal
Brazil 2:3 Germany
Spain 1:0 Portugal
THE THIRD PLACE GAME
Brazil 3:2 Portugal
The two sides that have been the faces of Europe square off in a largely scoreless final match. At full time, the contest is still tied 0-0. But then in extra time, one team uses their suffocating (spoiler) style to grab a hold of the title.
Germany 0:1 Spain
Spain is your 2014 World Cup champion. Free siestas for everyone!