Wednesday, June 11, 2014

World Cup Projections

OK, we're less than 18 hours from the start of the tournament so I guess I need to get my picks down.  Here we go!

Group A: (Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon)
Brazil is the clear choice to win this group.  I want to pick Cameroon, as I consider them my second team, but realistically this will be Croatia as the runner up.  Cameroon has the talent but can't seem to get on the same page.  Mexico is still a mess and won't get out of the group.
Brazil, Croatia

Group B: (Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia)
An interesting group.  Spain is the class of the four teams and will win the group. Chile will surprise the Netherlands and use the home continent advantage to take 2nd, though they'll do it by more likely winning 4-3 than 1-0.  The Dutch will put up a good fight before going home, while the Aussies are just happy to be in Brazil.
Spain, Chile

Group C: (Colombia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan)
Despite the loss of Falcao Colombia is still the heavy favorite in this weaker group and will win it.  Greece seems overrated to me and ripe to be beat out for second by the Ivory Coast.  Look for Les Elephants to take 2nd and move to the knockout stage.  Don't count out Japan though, they're my pick for a surprise team.  The largest population of Japanese citizens outside of Japan live ion Brazil so they'll likely have larger than average home support.
Colombia, Ivory Coast

Group D: (Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy)
The only reason this isn't the Group of Death is that nobody really thinks Costa Rica can take points off the other 3 teams while Ghana could in Group G.  The top 3 teams in this group are probably better than the 3 in Group G and one of them is going home early.  I think Uruguay uses the fact that they're more comfortable with the environment to win the group.  Meanwhile England underachieves again and Italy gets through in second.  Look at the bright side English fans, you won't be eliminated on penalties.
Uruguay, Italy

Group E: (Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras)
The Swiss aren't particularly flashy or sexy but they've got enough to get the job done in this group.  Ecuador isn't strong enough to hold of France, even with the French's injury issues.  Honduras can be a thorn in the side of these other teams but don't have enough quality to make the top 2.
Switzerland, France

Group F: (Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran, Nigeria)
Is there any doubt Argentina will win this group?  Until their friendly with the U.S. last weekend I thought Nigeria could challenge Bosnia for second, but the team I saw in Jacksonville won't be a challenge for Bosnia.  Iran might have one of the better jerseys in the tournament, but not one of the better teams.
Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina

Group G: (Germany, Portugal, Ghana, United States)
Well here we are, the Group of Death.  On a given day any of these teams could be the other without it being a huge surprise (well, Germany losing to anyone other than Portugal would be a bit shocking).  Germany has a nice schedule with their toughest game first, a win over Portugal sets them up nicely to win the group which is what they're going to do.  Portugal - United States in Manaus will may decide 2nd place and I think the travel and climate gives the edge to the Yanks, but it will be very close.  No team can sleep on Ghana, but unless they beat the Americans on Monday I don't see a way out of the group for them.
Germany, United States

Group H: (Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea)
The easiest group to pick, the two European teams should get out without much effort.  Belgium could be a dark horse to go far in the tournament while Russia is good enough to make the Round of 16.
Belgium, Russia

That leaves a final 16 of Brazil, Croatia, Spain, Chile, Colombia, Ivory Coast, Uruguay, Italy, Switzerland, France, Argentina, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Germany, United States, Belgium, and Russia.

Brazil beats Chile without too much work
Spain beats Croatia, again without too much work
Italy beats Colombia, the loss of Falcao finally catches up with the Colombians
Uruguay beats Ivory Coast in a close one
Switzerland beats Bosnia-Herzegovina in a close game but the result is never in doubt
Argentina easily beats France
Germany smokes Russia
Belgium beats the United States, showing why they're a dark horse favorite

The quarterfinals then go:
Brazil beats Italy as their age leaves them unable to keep up with the home side
Spain beats Uruguay in the best quarterfinal match
Germany beats their Swiss neighbors
Argentina puts an end to Belgium's dark horse hopes

Leaving the best 4 teams in the world as semi-finalists, Brazil, Spain, Germany, and Argentina.

The South American sides take advantage of being on their home continent to set up an epic rivalry World Cup final between Brazil and Argentina.  Before we get there though, Germany beats a deflated Spain for 3rd place.  Then the home side exorcises the ghosts of 1950 in winning their unprecedented 6th World Cup title in front of their home fans in Rio.

Brazil, your 2014 World Cup Champions!

No comments: