With the final countdown to the greatest sporting event on the planet entering the home stretch, fans of all 32 teams are beginning to whey up their options of picking up the illustrious trophy as all 32 provisional squads have been announced. England and Brazil have already named their final 23 man squads with the rest of the participating nations having up until the 2nd of June. With a spectacular event expected fans and bookies alike have begun to name their favourites for the FIFA World Cup 2014. Is it the fallen generation rising again, the experienced kings or the dark horse? We will find out in just a few weeks at the World Cup in Brazil.
The outright favourites on everyone’s lips are hosts Brazil. Having being lead to glory by greats like Pele, Romario and Rivaldo some say their golden era of football has passed. However hosting talents such as Thiago Silva, Fernandinho and Neymar the hosts are very capable of repeating their past glories. Manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has already led A Seleçãoto to a previous World Cup in 2002 and will be looking to do the same with the backing of the ‘12th man.’ Brazil’s status as the outright favourites is backed by the fact that they have not lost a home game since 21 August 2002.
Defending champions and two time consecutive Euro champions Spain are our second favourites to pick up the title. The wealth of experience and glory they have incurred over the last decade cannot be ignored. Despite going down to Brazil in a heavy 3-0 drubbing in last year’s Confederations Cup Final, the likes of Xavi, Iniesta, Sergio Ramos and the recent introduction of Brazilian born powerhouse Diego Costa, have the ability to turn it around and reign again. With a current FIFA ranking of number one they will have it all to prove.
Germany is a favourite …
The ever-consistent Germans find themselves third on our list, with two third place finishes and a painful loss in the 2002 final, the bookies also have them ranked third at 11/2. A lack of a clinical striker, low defensive fullback depth and falling at the last hurdle in his last two tournaments, there is mounting pressure on manager Joachim “Jogi” Löw to lead his chargers to success. No list of favourites is complete without a dark horse. With the growing stature of its players and the history of previous World Cups in South America, where European teams struggle, it is befitting to name Uruguay as the outsider to take the cup. With arguably the 3rd best player in the world after you know who (Messi and Ronaldo), Uruguay have in Luis Suarez a man who can create anything out of nothing and strikes fear into the heart of any opposing defence. Suarez backed by Edinson Cavani who is no slouch of striker himself can provide a magical surprise as he did for Liverpool in the domestic season.
With some tough groups and fairytale stories that often accompany the World Cup two other teams that are definitely worth a shout. Argentina lead by 4-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi, and, Belgium with its crop of young high talented prospects cannot be written off to as potential lifters of this summer’s tournament.