The World Cup is coming up soon and thirty two teams will be battling it out for the chance to win the most coveted prize in sport. However what are the chances of each team? Wonder no longer as we here at bm23sportsreviews break down team by team and tell you how they will get on.
Are the worst team in a very soft group, don’t have a chance of going through because they aren’t very good.
Argentina are a genuine threat to win the World Cup for the third time in their history, personally I have them making the final but coming up short in my predictions. Argentina have a really soft group so shouldn’t have any problems finishing top of that, naturally beyond the groups there is more uncertainty because you don’t actually know who they’ll play.
You look at Argentina’s forwards and they are the envy of every nation; Higuain, Palacio, Aguero, Lavezzi and Messi, the problem is that once you go beyond that there isn’t really that much talent there. Yes the likes of Di Maria, Garay and Zabaleta are all good players but it is hard to look past the rest of the squad which is full of mediocrity.
There is loads of attacking talent in the Argentina squad but defensively I have serious concerns, they do however have the advantage of the tournament being played in South America and a certain player called Leo Messi. Argentina have a real chance but may come unstuck against good defensive teams.
Australia are probably in the hardest group of the tournament, add on top of that the reality that Mile Jedinak is their best player and you know that they aren’t getting through the groups, a point would be a huge success.
Belgium are one of the teams who have a real outside chance of doing something special in the World Cup this year. On paper Belgium have what is a very enviable team, with so many players playing at the top levels of world football, incredible to think for such a small nation.
I watched Belgium play Scotland last year and wasn’t overly impressed, they won and deserved to win but I thought they would have played us off the park and they didn’t, rather they put in a workman like performance where they beat us with power and pace rather than technique.
Belgium have been handed a very soft group and should at very least make it through in second, the problems begin when you look at who they will face in the last 16, which is more than likely going to be Germany or Portugal. It will be a big ask for Belgium to go deep into the tournament because they lack big tournament experience and although they have a young talented squad I think making the quarters would be a major and well respected achievement for them.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
It is Bosnia’s first World Cup appearance and they have been handed a group which gives them an outside chance of making it to the knockout stages. Argentina will win the group, so the second place will be played for between Nigeria, Iran and Bosnia. Bosnia have some good players (like Dzeko, Pjanic, and Begovic to name a few) but they don’t have the depth in quality of first team players that is required to do anything. Bosnia have an outside chance of getting out of the group stage but it is unlikely.
The hosts of the tournament, the most successful side in World Cup history and the team that every neutral would probably like to see lift the trophy. Brazil have a special place in most people’s hearts as with every generation comes a new Brazil team playing exciting football and filled with top quality talents.
Brazil are either favourite or second favourites with the bookies and I don’t really know why because their team isn’t what I’d call special. Yes they are the home team and the home team tends to play above their actual abilities, yes European teams struggle in South America and yes Brazil tend to play well at World Cup’s but look at their squad and stick a different flag on it and nobody has them as their favourites.
I’m making it sound like I don’t think Brazil have a chance, that isn’t the case I think they will probably make the semis but to win the tournament you eventually have to beat the crème de la crème of world football and when it comes to that I don’t think Brazil are up to it. Players like Fred, Jo, Maxwell, Maicon and any of the keepers wouldn’t get a look in for an England (for instance) yet they are in the Brazil team. Add onto that the fact that they are taking along a whole host of defenders who can’t actually defend and incredibly high expectations and you have a recipe for disaster. I wouldn’t be overly surprised if Brazil were to go out at the first knockout stage because I have them playing Holland and that is no easy feat. Brazil also have a large amount of travelling to partake in, which across a big country like Brazil and with very little time between games isn’t really ideal.
Don’t get me wrong I’m being pessimistic about Brazil’s chances mainly because they shouldn’t really be one of the favourites but rather an outside chance if things fall into place. There is talent in the squad and they are the hometown team so that naturally should give them a boost. Brazil winning the World Cup in Brazil would be the fairytale ending to the story and the finals that most people would be satisfied with, I just don’t think it will happen.
Cameroon have smatterings of talent and have been handed a group where they have a chance of getting through, it probably won’t happen but they have a genuine chance of making the last 16 because of a weak group with Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon fighting for second behind Brazil (although personally I don’t think they will) however won’t make it any further than that, probably just happy to make it to the finals.
Chile are in a really hard group alongside Holland and Spain, three teams who deserve to be in the knockout stages but only two places available naturally something has to give. I think Spain will win the group so it is then a toss-up between Chile and Holland as who takes the second spot. When the draw was initially made I had Chile going through but I have since changed my mind and went for Holland instead. Naturally I think Chile do have a good chance of making it through to the knockout stages but if they do they will probably finish second which means they will probably play Brazil which means that is probably as far as they will go (lots of probablies there). Sadly for Chile I think the group stages is as good as it gets for Chile and they are being punished for being handed a very tough group.
Maybe I’m wrong but Colombia to me are the South American version of Belgium, talented young squad which has the outsidest of outside chances of maybe doing something a little bit special at this World Cup. Colombia have a lot of good players playing at the top end of European club football and they have sneakily built up a good team. Obviously the biggest upset for Colombia going into the World Cup was the loss of Radamel Falcao and naturally it makes Colombia’s chances of doing anything smaller. I don’t think that Colombia will struggle to get through their group because it is rather lightweight (Greece, Japan and Ivory Coast) and I think that a quarter final place is more than achievable, anything beyond that would be Colombia over achieving and would be rather unrealistic.
Just making the numbers up and handed a hard draw to boot, no chance of making it through the groups.
Croatia are in a similar situation to Cameroon, they have been handed a group where they will battle it out for second place with Cameroon and Mexico but are unlikely to go any further than that. Croatia have a much better chance of making it to the last 16 than Cameroon but I don’t think they will do it.
I saw Croatia play Scotland last year and I’ve got to say that I was not impressed at all. By no means are Scotland a wonderful team but we totally outplayed them and this was a full Croatia team with mega stars from Real Madrid and Bayern Munich against a Scotland team full of high end Championship, low end Premier League and Celtic players. Needless to say if Croatia play anything like they did against Scotland they won’t have a sniff of making it through the group stages, they only have a chance because of how weak their group is. Going through the group stage will be as good as it gets for Croatia.
I watched Ecuador play England the other night and didn’t even realise that they are playing in the World Cup, they are the worst of the South American teams in the tournament and don’t have a very good team but have been given a group which they have a chance of getting through. It’s funny when you look at countries like Uruguay and Chile who have been handed really hard groups which they will struggle to get through and compare them to the group which Ecuador has received and you wonder where the justice went.
Ecuador shouldn’t go through to the knockout stages because France and Switzerland should finish in the top two places but France have a tendency to blow up in big tournaments and Switzerland are an unknown entity, so I guess you never really know.
Being Scottish almost all the press I receive is England this, England that, England something else so naturally this is the area which I know the most about. England being in a group with Italy and Uruguay have been unlucky with the draw. They are a team which should make the last 16 based on quality of their squad but have been handed a group with two teams which are better than them.
I watched England play Ecuador the other day and although it wasn’t their full first eleven their performance left little to be desired. England don’t have that one special player who can drag them through a tie (it is supposed to be Rooney but he isn’t), England don’t have a defence which strikes fear into opposing strikers and England don’t have any chance of winning the World Cup.
Incredibly enough it seems that the people of England for once actually seem to have accepted that they don’t have a chance, how long that will last I don’t know but it is the first time in living memory which this is the case.
What I would do if I were Roy Hodgson is blood the young players, because there are the beginnings of a potential golden generation for England and giving those players a chance to play in a major tournament would give them incredible experience going forward and would set England up for 2018 where they will have a more realistic chance of doing something. I doubt it will happen because everyone thinks short term in football but it is what should happen.
I don’t think England will make it through the group stages, but they do have a chance if either Italy or Uruguay slips up.
You know what this is actually a really good France team, I hadn’t realised it before but looking at the players which are in the squad and even more so looking at the players which have been left out of the squad and you realise that France have a pretty good team.
France have got a fairly straightforward group which either they or Switzerland should win, they will then depending on where they finish face either Argentina or probably Nigeria. When I made my predictions I had Nigeria beating France in the last 16 for a few reasons; firstly because there will be at least one upset, generally I’m biased towards the teams from the big two continents (only natural) and France have a tendency to blow up in big tournaments. That is the thing with France it seems to be either boom or bust; win in 98, embarrassing group stage exit in 02, final in 06 and national embarrassment as they strike against the manager in 10, the pattern suggests that France will do well in this World Cup and so they may. France to me are a bit like Italy, you never really know what you are going to get. They could take the tournament by storm or they could get 0 points, it is hard to say.
I think France will certainly make the last 16 and have a good chance of making the quarters, anything beyond this will be a very big ask.
Germany are the team which I think will win the World Cup. I think they have the best squad and they have been threatening to win a major international tournament for years now. I also think that there is a good chance that a European team will win the World Cup this year to finally put to bed the whole a European team has never won in the America’s shtick.
What does seriously concern me about Germany is that they have suffered a lot of injuries to good players heading into the tournament. The level of injuries Germany have suffered would have derailed other nation’s hopes of challenging for the tournament but they have such quality in depth that they aren’t as affected. I don’t like the idea of Sami Khedira playing a big role for the team either because it takes a long time to fully recover from an ACL injury and as was seen in the Champions League final he clearly isn’t there yet. Of all my concerns though the biggest one is that Germany have only seen it fit to take one actual striker who happens to be Miroslav Klose who has been done for about four years. Yes Germany have guys like Reus, Schurlle and Muller who are all capable of playing as strikers but it seems an incredibly unusual decision and is rather concerning.
As I have already said I think Germany will win the World Cup but at the very least I expect that this very talented squad will make the semi-finals, anything short of that is absolute failure.
Ghana have found themselves in the lucky position of being drawn in a group alongside Germany and Portugal. I don’t think they really have a chance in a group with two teams which are much better than them. I would be very shocked if Ghana made it to the knockout stages.
Greece have been drawn into a very weak group as seems to happen every time a draw is made. They are playing alongside Colombia, Japan and Ivory Coast hardly what you would call the stuff of nightmares. I think Colombia will win the group but you could feasibly make an argument for the other three finishing second. When the draw was made I had Greece going through but I switched recently to Japan because I feel they have a bit more quality. Greece have a chance of making it to the last 16 but they won’t go beyond that.
They’re in a weakish group but they don’t have a chance of getting through.
Another team in a very weak group but again they don’t have a chance. Should just be happy to be in the tournament at all, probably the worst of all 32 teams.
Italian club football is at an all-time low, the Italian national team is made up predominantly of players playing in Italy, yet for some reason I think Italy will be this year’s shock performers. It tells you how far Italy have fallen that I refer to them (in my opinion) making the semis as a shock. Italy have been handed a tough group with England and Uruguay in it, meaning that there will be little to no room available for mistake but I think they will go on and win that group. In winning that group they will then they will face the runner ups from group C (all of whom are likely to be shit) and that’s them through to the quarters (sounds easy doesn’t it). I have them meeting Spain in the quarters and if there is one nation which can stifle Spain it is Italy, and that’s how I came to them making the semis. I think generally it is a big ask for Italy to make the semis but Italy (much like Germany) are a big tournament team and they have a good team which are capable of competing (they’re only two years removed from an unlikely Euro’s final appearance). Quarters will be minimum expectation for Italy but things genuinely could be better for my dark horse of the tournament.
Ivory Coast have been handed a very weak group which Colombia will likely win and that will leave Ivory Coast to battle it out with Japan and Greece for the second place. Sadly for the Ivorian’s they are a nation in transition, their tournament should have been South Africa four years ago but they were drawn in a very hard group. Ivory Coast’s best players are all past their best and let’s be honest here Yaya Toure struggles to lumber around in England imagine what he’s going to be like in a hot and humid climate. They have a chance of going through because of the weakness of the group and this talented generation of Ivorian’s really should have made it to a knockout stage by now but they are underachievers and I think they’ll be underachieving once again, group stage is as good as it gets.
Japan are in the same group as Ivory Coast and Greece where they will be battling it out for second place with those two nations. Personally I think Japan are just slightly the better of the three nations and have the added benefit of being from a humid climate themselves. I’ve seen better Japan teams than this one but I think the fact that they are in such a weak group and the familiar climate will see them edge their group and go out at the last 16.
I’ve been looking forward to writing about Mexico because they are the embodiment of everything that is wrong with the World Cup qualification system. They don’t deserve to be in this tournament because they fucked up their qualification campaign yet got a second chance because some idiot thinks that North America deserves 3.5 places and decided that a play-off between the North Americans and the Oceanic team is a fair match. Now it isn’t necessarily Mexico’s fault but it pisses me off coming from a country which has such a difficult qualification to see a team qualify by default every single time a World Cup comes round because they have no genuine competition and a huge margin for error.
After all that I’m sure you’re expecting me to say that Mexico won’t be making it past the group stages sadly that isn’t the case because they have been handed a ridiculously easy group, how ironic. Brazil will win their group and Mexico will battle it out with Cameroon and Croatia neither of whom I rate, hence with their big tournament experience I think Mexico will go through. Hopefully the winner of group B gubs them because last 16 is as good as it gets for Mexico.
Holland have been handed a really tough group alongside Spain and Chile, I think they will just sneak through but there is little to no margin for error. The reason I like Holland over Chile is because Holland have game winners in Robben and Van Persie, naturally you become more concerned for the Dutch when you read about the injury concerns of RVP but I imagine he will be ready for the start of the tournament. Sadly for Holland it is likely that they will come up against Brazil in the last 16, I think they have a chance of putting them out but it is a really big ask and I’m not so sure that this Dutch team is up to the task (I’ve seen much better Dutch teams in the past do less). If they were to put Brazil out then they could quite easily make a run to the semis but I think it will be last 16 and done for the Dutch.
Nigeria have been handed a really soft group with Argentina (more than likely to win the group), Iran and Bosnia. Iran don’t have a chance so it will be a shootout between Bosnia and Nigeria for the other spot. I think Bosnia may be a little overawed by just being at the finals and that leaves Nigeria in my mind as being the default second team. I don’t think that Nigeria have any sort of special squad but I still have them making it to the quarters because they have a good first team and I expect them to cause an upset against France. I think knockout stages are pretty likely and they have an outside chance of the quarters any further would be a huge ask and I don’t think they’re up to it.
Portugal are a one man team but luckily for them that one man also happens to be the best player in the world Cristiano Ronaldo. They’ve been handed a tough group with the Germans and Ghana but they should be able to better Ghana and that should see them through (although you never know they are inclined to an odd slip up). Portugal in many ways are an unknown quantity because beyond Ronaldo there are a lot of good players but you know that without him they aren’t really up to much. I have them making the quarters but I think it is likely that they might come up against those pesky Belgians in the last 16 which could cause more than a few problems. It feels like this should be Cristiano Ronaldo’s tournament but he doesn’t have the pieces around him to make Portugal contenders, quarters are expected anything beyond that is a bonus.
Russia incredibly enough have never got through the group stages at a World Cup (USSR doesn’t count) which seems farcical for a country of their size. Another odd one is that all of Russia’s squad play their football in Russia, that doesn’t make them bad footballers but it does make you wonder about why none of the current squad have moved on to a bigger league (maybe Putin threatened to break their legs or something…nah he’s a nice guy….).
Russia have been handed a very easy group so despite all my misgivings about them they should make it through the group stage with relative ease. Sadly in all likelihood that will see them playing either Germany or Portugal who you would imagine will get the better of them. Making the knockouts should be Russia’s aim and they should then look forward to hosting the tournament in 2018.
South Korea are a nation in transition, gone are the glorious heroes of 2002 and in come the new breed to try and rejuvenate this flagging nation. They’ve been handed a very easy group but both Russia and Belgium are better than them so I don’t think they will be getting through the groups, if they do I’d be very surprised.
The defending champions and arguably one of the greatest national group of players ever. History says Spain won’t win this tournament because no team has ever won four major international tournaments in a row (Spain are currently on three). On paper Spain still have an unbelievably excellent squad but I do think they have shaded off of where they were even two years ago. It is really hard to come up with reasons why Spain won’t win the World Cup because they still look like a great team and their style is perfectly suited to the weather conditions they will be playing in but I look at the great teams which were never able to win four major international tournaments in a row and it makes me think that despite the fact that this is an incredibly legendary and top team winning this World Cup is too big an ask. I have them only making the quarter finals but in reality anything short of semis would be a major disappointment for this side.
I don’t really know what to make of Switzerland, they are ranked 7th in the world but I don’t really know why. They romped through a really easy qualification group, but that isn’t really a big ask in itself because the team that came second was Iceland for Christ sake. There are good players in that team and they have a group that they should get through but beyond that I don’t really know. I think they’ll definitely make the last 16, beyond that I don’t really know maybe the quarters if the draw falls kindly but I have my doubts.
USA! USA! USA!!! Yeah they’re not going to make it out of the groups despite the fact that they are somehow ranked 13th in the world. Ranked 13th in the world even though they are shit and also happen to be the worst team in their group. If they get a point they will be doing really well. USA! USA! USA!!!
Uruguay have been handed a very hard group alongside England and Italy. It is a group which I think they will go through because of their familiarity to the climate and their game winners. As I have said before I get mainly English press for these tournaments so I have received a lot of Uruguay press and the firm belief from the English press is that Uruguay are essentially a one man team and Luis Suarez having knee surgery just before the tournament has given England a serious chance of getting through. The irony of this of course is that Uruguay are not a one man team at all and have a number of top players, especially up front, and as usual the English are just kidding themselves into a false sense of security. Uruguay could make a big impact on the tournament like they did four years ago in South Africa and they do have the first eleven to do it but I think the best they’ll be able to do is the quarters.
There you have it all thirty two teams which are competing in this year’s World Cup and how they are likely to do. I find it pretty hard to look beyond Brazil, Argentina, Spain or Germany to win the tournament and believe that it would be a big shock if any of the other twenty eight teams even made the final. The great thing about the way the draw has gone is that if Spain, Germany, Argentina and Brazil all win their groups they won’t meet each other till the semi-finals which of course would be incredible. Naturally all I really want is a good tournament where teams go out and play exciting football because the last two World Cups have been rather disappointing.
So what do you think of each team’s chances in the World Cup? Do you think that Iran actually have an outside chance of winning the trophy? Maybe you think Gary Cahill is the second coming of Bobby Moore, let everyone know and leave a comment.