The World Cup is officially less than a month away, and as the SecondMic team is equal parts Brazilian, Mexican and American, we have some interesting ideas about how the biggest sports event in the world will go down.
The first of the team to share her thoughts on the group stage is our social media coordinator, Felicia.
The unpredictability of the World Cup is one of the many things that makes it the greatest sports spectacle in the world. As such, it also makes it impossible to speculate too much on every game. So I want to talk about four groups that caught my (and maybe everyone else’s) attention: Groups A, B, D and G.
1. All eyes will be on Group A, as the host country tries to win the title at home for the first time since France won on home soil in 1998. Brazil has won more than a quarter of all World Cup victories since it was founded in 1930, but unwelcome distractions off the field could affect the home squad.
With head coach Luiz Felipe Scolari being investigated in Portugal and anti-World Cup protests and violence occurring across the country, the team could be affected, naturally. The game to watch of this group is Brazil vs Mexico on June 17. Ultimately, I think Brazil will get the better of Mexico in this match and probably go on to at least the quarterfinals. Neymar should be on top form for the team, and I expect some exciting goals from him. Mexico should get the second spot through the group stage in my opinion, but poor qualifiers could put extra tension on Mexico’s team. I expect them to go through, but I wouldn’t be opposed to some good underdog-action from Croatia to overtake the Mexican team.
2. The big story of group B would be Spain vs Netherlands, as the two meet again in the World Cup after facing in the 2010 World Cup finals in South Africa. Netherlands will be looking for revenge, and Robin Van Persie should be captaining, and after getting game time in a few friendlies, he will hopefully be back in form. I think the Netherlands will come out on top in the match vs Spain to open their group on June 13. Both teams should cruise through the group stage. I’d like to see Netherlands make it to the semifinals, as well.
Returning champs Spain have their own drama in the tournament with Brazilian-born striker Diego Costa playing for Spain. The star is apparently being threatened with losing his Brazilian citizenship for switching allegiances to the Spanish team. After an amazing season with Atletico Madrid, I’d like to see Costa lead the team far, but I don’t think they will repeat as champions.
3. Perhaps the most competitive group of the first stage (and labelled the group of death), this group may be the most unpredictable. England’s national team has been plagued by many woes in the World Cup, and it’s always a bit fun (as an indifferent spectator) to see which England will show up and if they unravel in the early rounds. This year, they face a difficult start, facing Italy and then Uruguay.
The safer bets to win this group will probably be Italy, who some favor to win the entire tourney, and Luis Suarez’s Uruguay, but I’m going to make a bold wager and predict Costa Rica to upset one of the two in the group stage, just because I like a bit of chaos.
4. While Group G certainly couldn’t be called uber-competitive, I have vested interest in the United States, however foolish that might be. Germany is my first clear pick to make it to the round of 16, and very possibly into the quarterfinals, and Portugal would be the second team, for a wiser person than I. The US men’s team may be a complete underdog, but they’re my underdog, and I’m hopeful veterans Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard can make some familiar magic happen (and at the very least, we should beat Ghana to avenge our last World Cup exit!)
What are your thoughts for the group stage?