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Chimaira_Devil_#9

The 2014 World Cup- Brazil

268 posts in this topic

2014FIFAWorldCuplogo2-FIFA.jpgbrazil-fans1.jpgAN6975904Fans-of-Brazils-Ta.jpg

 

The world cup in Brazil is nearly upon us.

 

I think it is going to be one of the most exciting tournaments in a long, long while.

 

Here are the groups.

 

Group A

Brazil

Croatia

Mexico

Cameroon

 

Brazil will win this group with ease, I can see Mexico coming through in second place. Croatia will struggle with the heat, and Cameroon does not have the quality.

 

Group B

Spain

Netherlands

Chile

Australia

 

This will be an incredibly tough group. Spain have a brilliant squad, but are prone to playing some of the most boring possession football known to man, and risk not picking up as many points as they should. People don't rate the Dutch, but they always challenge. I think the table looks the same as above after the group games.

 

Group C
Colombia

Greece

Ivory Coast

Japan

 

The weakest group by far and one of the most difficult to predict. I see Ivory coast winning Yaya Toure could probably get an amature team out of the group stages on his own, and with Drogba, Bony, Tiote and Gervinho they have real quality. Then pick one of the other three, all have strengths, and somehow Greece always put up a fight. My pick is Ivory Coast and Columbia  

 

Group D

Uruguay

Costa Rica

England

Italy

 

Horrible group for England. Uruguay will win this one. Italy in second. 3 Games and home for England, especially with the lack of fire power up front and an indifferent Defence ( If John Terry was going England would have an incredibly solid Central defence with him and Cahill). Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are in the squad, both will likely play, neither should.    

 

Group E

Switzerland

France

Ecuador

Honduras

 

In true France style the scrape through into the tournament , draw the easiest group by a long shot and probably go through to the quarters. As for second, who knows? I can see a lot of draws in this group. Given the heat I would say one of the south American teams takes it, Lets go with Hounduras.  

 

Group F

Argentina

Bosnia

Iran

Nigeria

 

Argentina and Bosnia. Job done.

 

Group G

Germany

Portugal

Ghana

USA

 

Well this isn't a pleasant group for all concerned, all tough teams who work hard. Germany through as winners, Portugal in second. The teams that make it out of this group will have been through some of the toughest games.

 

Group H

Belgium

Algeria

Russia

South Korea

 

 

I think Belgium wins this, but again they will have a tough time. The other three teams all tend to perform well in big tournaments, I think South Korea may sneak second over Russia. Heat and humidity is again a factor.

 

 

 

As for the overall winner, currently the favourites are Brazil, followed by Argentina, Germany and Spain. I think its hard to look beyond those 4 for the eventual winner. Although the Brazil squad surprised my with some of their selections. Particularly the non selection of Lucas Moura.

 

My outside shot at the tournament is Belgium. They have an incredible squad.

 

Their midfield and defence is amazing:

 

Defenders: Toby Alderweireld (Atletico Madrid), Laurent Ciman (Standard Liege), Nicolas Lombaerts (Zenit St Petersburg), Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Daniel Van Buyten (Bayern Munich), Anthony Vanden Borre (Anderlecht), Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham).

 

Midfield:Nacer Chadli, Mousa Dembele (both Tottenham), Steven Defour (Porto), Kevin De Bruyne (Wolfsburg), Marouane Fellaini, Adnan Januzaj (both Manchester United), Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Kevin Mirallas (Everton), Divock Origi (Lille), Axel Witsel (Zenit St Petersburg).

 

And with Courtois in goal and Mignolet as a back up that is incredibly formidable.

 

As I said of England's chances, I don't see us getting out of the group. Players to watch from England, Ross Barklay of Everton. I have been saying for about 2-3 years he will be one of the best in the game. It may be too early for him this tournament but if he comes on as a sub he is one hell of a player.

 

Adam Lallana, again he is an extremely exciting player, again he might only start out as a sub but he will get a chance late in games. And finally Raheem Sterling, they guy has pace to burn , and is a real talent. although he can take way too long on the ball and tries to beat everyone.

Edited by Chimaira_Devil_#9

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Group A

Brazil

Croatia

Mexico

Cameroon

 

I agree, Brazil & Mexico will cruise through.

 

Group B

Spain

Netherlands

Chile

Australia

 

How can you call Spain’s game boring, I love the way the move the ball, could they attack more?  Sure, but lets be honest, their forwards not not their strong point, there are 5 6 maybe 10 countries w/ better strikers then Spain.  They do define the beautiful game though, 1 touch possession, its awesome. I do see Spain & Netherlands going through.  Netherlands still has a nice squad, but I donot expect a deep run

 

Group C

Colombia

Greece

Ivory Coast

Japan

Its crazy to me how we have 2 groups that are so weak, and then 2 that are ridiculously competitive. Ivory Coast looks to be the strongest in the group, and the other 3 are a crap shoot.  I’ll go w/ Japan as I think tactically they are usually very strong and they will find a way to get hrough.

Group D

Uruguay

Costa Rica

England

Italy

Tough group to pick, Uruguay, Italy & England could all go, no great team, and all have some big weaknesses.  I think Uruguay comes out on top strictly due to the geography, and I’ll pick Italy due to Pirlo & the goalie.

Group E

Switzerland

France

Ecuador

Honduras

Looking at the rosters, France is stronger than I realized, but they did catch a cake walk group. As for the other 3, does it matters, whoever gets out loses next round anyway.  I’ll go w/ Ecuador.

Group F

Argentina

Bosnia

Iran

Nigeria

I think Argentina is going to make a big run in this tournament, They have the strongest groups of strikers, the depth is crazy, too bad they cannot play them all at once. Bosnia, gets through, but falls next round

Group G

Germany

Portugal

 

Ghana

 

USA

I think its pretty clear the Germany is the best team and will win the group, from their I’m going more with my heart then my head, but I think the USA can sneak through. I trust inHoward, and think Dempsey & Altidore will find the back of the net enough to get rhough Ghana & Portugal.

Group H

Belgium

Algeria

 

Russia

South Korea

Really donot know these teams or their players at all, but I;’ll go w/ Russia & south Korea, but no expectations beyond the group stage..

I think Argentina will win it all, but would not be surprised if Germany, Brazil or Spain win.

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Group A

Brazil

Croatia

Mexico

Cameroon

I agree, Brazil & Mexico will cruise through.

Group B

Spain

Netherlands

Chile

Australia

How can you call Spain’s game boring, I love the way the move the ball, could they attack more? Sure, but lets be honest, their forwards not not their strong point, there are 5 6 maybe 10 countries w/ better strikers then Spain. They do define the beautiful game though, 1 touch possession, its awesome. I do see Spain & Netherlands going through. Netherlands still has a nice squad, but I donot expect a deep run

Group C

Colombia

Greece

Ivory Coast

Japan

Its crazy to me how we have 2 groups that are so weak, and then 2 that are ridiculously competitive. Ivory Coast looks to be the strongest in the group, and the other 3 are a crap shoot. I’ll go w/ Japan as I think tactically they are usually very strong and they will find a way to get hrough.

Group D

Uruguay

Costa Rica

England

Italy

Tough group to pick, Uruguay, Italy & England could all go, no great team, and all have some big weaknesses. I think Uruguay comes out on top strictly due to the geography, and I’ll pick Italy due to Pirlo & the goalie.

Group E

Switzerland

France

Ecuador

Honduras

Looking at the rosters, France is stronger than I realized, but they did catch a cake walk group. As for the other 3, does it matters, whoever gets out loses next round anyway. I’ll go w/ Ecuador.

Group F

Argentina

Bosnia

Iran

Nigeria

I think Argentina is going to make a big run in this tournament, They have the strongest groups of strikers, the depth is crazy, too bad they cannot play them all at once. Bosnia, gets through, but falls next round

Group G

Germany

Portugal

Ghana

USA

I think its pretty clear the Germany is the best team and will win the group, from their I’m going more with my heart then my head, but I think the USA can sneak through. I trust inHoward, and think Dempsey & Altidore will find the back of the net enough to get rhough Ghana & Portugal.

Group H

Belgium

Algeria

Russia

South Korea

Really donot know these teams or their players at all, but I;’ll go w/ Russia & south Korea, but no expectations beyond the group stage..

I think Argentina will win it all, but would not be surprised if Germany, Brazil or Spain win.

Spain bored the pants off me at all the major tournaments , much like Bayern Munich bored the pants off of me against Madrid. There is a limit to how much possession one team can have without doing anything with it before it becomes tedious. Spain strikers are actually very good. They just don't play them. When they started the euros with fabregas up front it became a bit farcical. Hopefully they don't try and play like Barcelona this year.

Uruguay has one advantage over Italy and England which means they are a shoe in. Suarez is a one man team on his day.

If Belgium don't get out of their group something has gone horribly wrong. They are currently 5th favourites to win the tournament.

Does altidore score for the USA? I haven't seen anything this year from him to suggest he can score at the top level. Dempsy is pure class.

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So is the venue actualky going to be a disaster, or is it just media hype?

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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I'm really excited to see what players and tactics Klinsmann decides to go with. I'm expecting to see both a 4-4-2 with a diamond midfield and a 4-2-3-1 depending on opponent/situation. The only locks in the starting XI imo are Howard, Beasley, Besler, Bradley, and Dempsey.

For awhile it looked like Omar Gonzalez was going to partner Matt Besler at CB but he's struggled for a bit now. Seems like a wide open competition for that spot as well as RB with a player like Geoff Cameron competing for either spot. I'm a huge fan of Seattle Sounders RB DeAndre Yedlin but I'm not sure if he's ready for this at this point in his career. Brad Evans and Fabian Johnson would seem to have the upper hand there.

The midfield outside of Bradley is hard to predict. I wouldn't be shocked if Kyle Beckerman ended up as the DM, especially in a diamond, over Jermaine Jones. I expect to see some combinations of Graham Zusi, Alejandro Bedoya and Landon Donovan in the wide positions.

I think Altidore will join Dempsey up front but by no means is he a lock to start.

 

Does altidore score for the USA? I haven't seen anything this year from him to suggest he can score at the top level. Dempsy is pure class.

Altidore is a completely different player for the US than for Sunderland, because he actually gets decent service. He had 8 goals in 14 appearances for the US in 2013. With that said, he has had dry spells with the national team which is why I'm glad they have other options like Aron Johannsson whose looked good from the little time he's been with the team and Chris Wondolowski whose performed well for the US in the past (albeit not against the highest quality of competition). Plus as you mention, they can always count on Dempsey.

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So is the venue actualky going to be a disaster, or is it just media hype?

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

Half are finished, half are not ChachuroLoco(sorry for the spelling) would probably be able to tell you more than me. But in a recent article a number of the venues are still not finished. Its not looking good.  

 

I'm really excited to see what players and tactics Klinsmann decides to go with. I'm expecting to see both a 4-4-2 with a diamond midfield and a 4-2-3-1 depending on opponent/situation. The only locks in the starting XI imo are Howard, Beasley, Besler, Bradley, and Dempsey.

For awhile it looked like Omar Gonzalez was going to partner Matt Besler at CB but he's struggled for a bit now. Seems like a wide open competition for that spot as well as RB with a player like Geoff Cameron competing for either spot. I'm a huge fan of Seattle Sounders RB DeAndre Yedlin but I'm not sure if he's ready for this at this point in his career. Brad Evans and Fabian Johnson would seem to have the upper hand there.

The midfield outside of Bradley is hard to predict. I wouldn't be shocked if Kyle Beckerman ended up as the DM, especially in a diamond, over Jermaine Jones. I expect to see some combinations of Graham Zusi, Alejandro Bedoya and Landon Donovan in the wide positions.

I think Altidore will join Dempsey up front but by no means is he a lock to start.

 

Altidore is a completely different player for the US than for Sunderland, because he actually gets decent service. He had 8 goals in 14 appearances for the US in 2013. With that said, he has had dry spells with the national team which is why I'm glad they have other options like Aron Johannsson whose looked good from the little time he's been with the team and Chris Wondolowski whose performed well for the US in the past (albeit not against the highest quality of competition). Plus as you mention, they can always count on Dempsey.

 

He wasted some golden chances this season though, he looks incredibly short of confidence. The only game I saw him have a direct impact was against Chelsea (unfortunately for me) and even then he looked like a player that was doubting his own ability. The goal scoring figures are not bad though. Some players just seem to turn it on for their country. Danny Welbeck is a great example, pretty useless in a United shirt, but a worthy addition to the England squad.  

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Spain bored the pants off me at all the major tournaments , much like Bayern Munich bored the pants off of me against Madrid. There is a limit to how much possession one team can have without doing anything with it before it becomes tedious. Spain strikers are actually very good. They just don't play them. When they started the euros with fabregas up front it became a bit farcical. Hopefully they don't try and play like Barcelona this year.

Uruguay has one advantage over Italy and England which means they are a shoe in. Suarez is a one man team on his day.

If Belgium don't get out of their group something has gone horribly wrong. They are currently 5th favourites to win the tournament.

Does altidore score for the USA? I haven't seen anything this year from him to suggest he can score at the top level. Dempsy is pure class.

 

Sorry I disagree on Spains strikers, i think they are overrated, but I agree, I love Fabregas, but he is not a striker.

 

Suarez had Knee surgery last night, doubt he will be 100% at the Cup.

 

I looked over Blegiums players, vermalean is listed as one of their starting backs, he was awful this year, so not so confident with them

 

As for Altidore, I watched alot of Sunderland games, how can anyone expect him to score when he is never given the ball in scoring areas.  If he was gieven 10 opportunities all year its alot. He made a huge mistake going to a team that cannot get him the ball.

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Sorry I disagree on Spains strikers, i think they are overrated, but I agree, I love Fabregas, but he is not a striker.

 

Suarez had Knee surgery last night, doubt he will be 100% at the Cup.

 

I looked over Blegiums players, vermalean is listed as one of their starting backs, he was awful this year, so not so confident with them

 

As for Altidore, I watched alot of Sunderland games, how can anyone expect him to score when he is never given the ball in scoring areas.  If he was gieven 10 opportunities all year its alot. He made a huge mistake going to a team that cannot get him the ball.

 

Diego Costa is a beast, as is Alvaro Negredo. but I guess agree to disagree.

 

That is a huge blow for them, but when your backup is Edinson Cavanni that is not the end of the world. Diego Forlan can still compete on the big stage too.

 

The other defenders for Belgium are Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertongen though,with Courtois in goal I don't think they will let many in.

 

As for Altidore, I am just going to throw this out there:

 

altidore.gif

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Diego Costa is a beast, as is Alvaro Negredo. but I guess agree to disagree.

 

That is a huge blow for them, but when your backup is Edinson Cavanni that is not the end of the world. Diego Forlan can still compete on the big stage too.

 

The other defenders for Belgium are Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertongen though,with Courtois in goal I don't think they will let many in.

 

As for Altidore, I am just going to throw this out there:

 

altidore.gif

I agree about Costa, Negredo is good, would not call him a beast.

 

As for Uruguay, you said "Suarez is a one man team on his day.", which I agree, but if he's not 100% I think Uruguay come down to earth.

As for Belgium, Kompany is awesome Vertongen is very good, but still not sold on them.

 

Altidore, so let me understand, a missed shot off a quick deflection means he cannot score??  Like I said that was 1 of 10 opportunites he got in 38 games!! 38!!  Giroud of Arsenal is not that much better than Altidore, but he gets 5 to 6 chacnes a game!!  Altidore has something to prove, and I expect a really good showing from him

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I agree about Costa, Negredo is good, would not call him a beast.

 

As for Uruguay, you said "Suarez is a one man team on his day.", which I agree, but if he's not 100% I think Uruguay come down to earth.

As for Belgium, Kompany is awesome Vertongen is very good, but still not sold on them.

 

Altidore, so let me understand, a missed shot off a quick deflection means he cannot score??  Like I said that was 1 of 10 opportunites he got in 38 games!! 38!!  Giroud of Arsenal is not that much better than Altidore, but he gets 5 to 6 chacnes a game!!  Altidore has something to prove, and I expect a really good showing from him

He has gone through a bit of a down spell, but he did earn the nickname  "the beast" . Plus they have Torres...........

 

Oh yeah its a huge miss, although the articles I have now read say he might miss a single game. But yes he wont be 100% fit.

 

Ok I will admit I was being a bit facetious with that comment/image, but in 45 premier league games he has scored 2 goals. That is a horrendous return and that is a the top level. And the mark of a truly excellent striker is he creates his own chances and space. From all the games I have seen this year from Sunderland he just never made the space or was in the right place to score. I will admit he was on a bad team , but he didn't show me anything to suggest he deserved to be playing on a better team.

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Klinsmann names his 23:

 

 

GOALKEEPERS: Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando

DEFENDERS: DaMarcus Beasley, John Brooks, Matt Besler, DeAndre Yedlin, Omar Gonzalez, Fabian Johnson, Geoff Cameron, Timmy Chandler

MIDFIELDERS: Michael Bradley, Kyle Beckerman, Alejandro Bedoya, Graham Zusi, Brad Davis, Julian Green, Jermain Jones, Mix Diskerud

FORWARDS: Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore, Aron Johannsson, Chris Wondolowski

I'm not surprised to see Donovan was left off. I am surprised to see some of the young players like Green, Brooks, Yedlin, and Diskerud make it but I like it. Really happy to see Beckerman made it!

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I am not a Donovan fan, at all, but I'm shocked he was left off, I thinks its a huge mistake... Wondo is a really good MLS player, I dopnot see him being a difference maker in Brazil, while Donovan could as a substitute.....  And I'mm really glad about Greene, even if he does not play, he needs to go and get the esperience so in 4 years he's ready to make a difference.

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Group C is the one I'm most focused on because I'm Greek and I don't think the US has a snowball's chance in hell to advance (obviously rooting for them, though). Greece can surely advance, but I think it's a longshot.

Colombia isn't sure whether they're bringing Falcao, due to a knee injury he suffered in January. If he misses out or is less than 100%, that's a huge break. Of course, they have quality like Aguilar and Freddy Guarin.

Ivory Coast has an array of talented offensive threats that have already been touched upon. I don't fear them as much because Greece is very organized in the final third and do well aerially.

Japan is the team that I'm scared ****less of. They're fast and very tactically sound, which will surely give Greece fits. Plus, Greece never does well with Asian teams.

I like this group because in every game, the outcome will be in doubt. There isnt' a Spain, Brazil, Netherlands or Argentina in there so it's wide open.

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Since we're doing predictions:

Group A

Brazil

Croatia

Mexico

Cameroon

Brazil,Mexico

Group B

Spain

Netherlands

Chile

Australia

Spain, Netherlands

Group C

Colombia

Greece

Ivory Coast

Japan

Japan, Ivory Coast :(

Group D

Uruguay

Costa Rica

England

Italy

Italy, Uruguay

Group E

Switzerland

France

Ecuador

Honduras

France, Switzerland (conspiracy anyone?)

Argentina

Bosnia

Iran

Nigeria

Argentina, Bosnia

Group G

Germany

Portugal

Ghana

USA

Germany, Ghana. This one was so tough to pick as CR7 is in the form of his life, but Ghana shows up in the WC

Group H

Belgium

Algeria

Russia

South Korea

Belgium, South Korea

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Reminder that the US plays a friendly with Azerbaijan on ESPN2 at 9:55. It follows the RBNY - SKC match at 7:45 if you want even more soccer tonight.

Big positional battles seem to be Cameron vs Gonzalez to start alongside Besler at CB, Johnson vs Yedlin at RB, Beasley vs Chandler at LB, and whether or not Zusi and Bedoya cement their places in midfield.

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This Donovan thing will not go away....

 

For Klinsman sake the USA better make it out of group play

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Anyone else going to the USA game today against Turkey at Red Bull Arena? Should be a fun atmosphere.

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Not going to the Turkey game, but some of my british friends are fierce Arsenol fans.  Normally, $15 seats are now going for $210 for this exhibitiion game at the arena box office.   I can just imagine what these are at Stubhub

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Anyone else going to the USA game today against Turkey at Red Bull Arena? Should be a fun atmosphere.

 

I did. Was awesome. The fact it was a win against a pretty good European side made it that much better.

 

 

I looked over Blegiums players, vermalean is listed as one of their starting backs, he was awful this year, so not so confident with them

 

They're going to storm their group and be one of the most exciting teams in the entire tournament to watch. They have an outstanding midfield, a pretty good back line despite Vermalen's awful year and very capable forwards and one of the best goaltenders in Europe. Lukaku and Benteke are both dangerous. Hazard is world class and this is opportunity on the biggest stage. Their asset in this tournament is being in a weaker group and anything is possible in the knockout rounds. They can easily get to the quarters, even the semis. I'm very high on Belgium.

 

As for the US, hoping for the best and Sunday's showing was promising, but I just don't like the match-ups in our group and will be pleasantly surprised and ecstatic if we can get through. I have virtually 0 confidence in Altidore and feel that our best bet for scoring is to get Dempsey free, but I feel that Johannson is a very good player and I hope Klinsmann doesnt hesitate to bench Jozy if he's not effective. Ghana is going to give us fits again but are beatable. I do think Portugal is a game that can be stolen espc with Ronaldo having issues, even with him on the pitch I think that is a winnable game. I'm hoping to see a performance against Germany like we did last time around against England, but Id rather play them earlier than the third game. If Germany stumbles early and needs a win to get through that may be rough. The one saving grace is that Germany could already be through and they may lay off a bit and I also hope the humidity hurts them. A lot of the Americans have experience playing in the awful weather they're going to experience in Brazil, but the Europeans won't like it at all. Ghana is a must win though.

 

As for Donovan, I understand the reasons for his exclusion and there's clearly some issues between him and Klinsmann, but I feel for the guy. If the US have a poor showing, there will be some heat for the decision, but Jurgen's here for a while and it will blow over. Even if the team gets blasted 5-0 in every game he'd not be removed.

Edited by ghdi

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I did. Was awesome. The fact it was a win against a pretty good European side made it that much better.

 

 

They're going to storm their group and be one of the most exciting teams in the entire tournament to watch. They have an outstanding midfield, a pretty good back line despite Vermalen's awful year and very capable forwards and one of the best goaltenders in Europe. Lukaku and Benteke are both dangerous. Hazard is world class and this is opportunity on the biggest stage. Their asset in this tournament is being in a weaker group and anything is possible in the knockout rounds. They can easily get to the quarters, even the semis. I'm very high on Belgium.

 

As for the US, hoping for the best and Sunday's showing was promising, but I just don't like the match-ups in our group and will be pleasantly surprised and ecstatic if we can get through. I have virtually 0 confidence in Altidore and feel that our best bet for scoring is to get Dempsey free, but I feel that Johannson is a very good player and I hope Klinsmann doesnt hesitate to bench Jozy if he's not effective. Ghana is going to give us fits again but are beatable. I do think Portugal is a game that can be stolen espc with Ronaldo having issues, even with him on the pitch I think that is a winnable game. I'm hoping to see a performance against Germany like we did last time around against England, but Id rather play them earlier than the third game. If Germany stumbles early and needs a win to get through that may be rough. The one saving grace is that Germany could already be through and they may lay off a bit and I also hope the humidity hurts them. A lot of the Americans have experience playing in the awful weather they're going to experience in Brazil, but the Europeans won't like it at all. Ghana is a must win though.

 

As for Donovan, I understand the reasons for his exclusion and there's clearly some issues between him and Klinsmann, but I feel for the guy. If the US have a poor showing, there will be some heat for the decision, but Jurgen's here for a while and it will blow over. Even if the team gets blasted 5-0 in every game he'd not be removed.

 

Benteke is out for the tournament, hurt his Knee. But I agree Belgium are in with a great shout. Best young team in the tournament.

 

I think there is a little bit of gamesmanship when it comes to Ronaldo, I am fairly sure he is actually just tired, I think he will be fit for the tournament. Even with him thought I can see Portugal being beatable for the USA. The looked horrible in qualification.

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They're going to storm their group and be one of the most exciting teams in the entire tournament to watch. They have an outstanding midfield, a pretty good back line despite Vermalen's awful year and very capable forwards and one of the best goaltenders in Europe. Lukaku and Benteke are both dangerous. Hazard is world class and this is opportunity on the biggest stage. Their asset in this tournament is being in a weaker group and anything is possible in the knockout rounds. They can easily get to the quarters, even the semis. I'm very high on Belgium.

 

No doubt they have a lot of talent, but I won't fall for the hype until I see them win some big games. Every world cup there are teams hyped as dark horses and every time they never come trough. I remember people talking the same way about the Ivory Coast in previous tournaments. In Europe the qualification are split into 9 groups, so the talent levels are water down quite a bit. A dominating qualification doesn't necessarily translate to an elite team

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No doubt they have a lot of talent, but I won't fall for the hype until I see them win some big games. Every world cup there are teams hyped as dark horses and every time they never come trough. I remember people talking the same way about the Ivory Coast in previous tournaments. In Europe the qualification are split into 9 groups, so the talent levels are water down quite a bit. A dominating qualification doesn't necessarily translate to an elite team

While I share your skepticism with Belgium (Columbia and Nigeria in '94 were other new favorites/dark horses that didn't pan out) in fairness to the Ivory Coast they didn't exactly get a break with the draws the last two WC's either.

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Dark horse for me this year is Uruguay (Go El Diablo Go ! ) 

They will make lot of trouble... Bank on that ! 

 

France will reach 1/4 at best...

Spain will be disappointing 

And Brasil shouldn't be able to lost this cup...

(oh and sorry.. But USA is in a way too much group for them) 

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