Colin’s Countdown To The World Cup
One Week to the start of the World Cup.
One Week to the opening ceremony of football’s greatest tournament.
One Week until Brazil have the opportunity to rectify their greatest sporting
hurt… the loss in the final of the World Cup final that they last hosted. That
1950 final, in the newly built Maracanã, was played against La Celeste, with
the Uruguayans sealing a 2-1 victory.
Brazil, under ‘Phil’ Scolari will be looking for a final on July 14 in the newly
refurbished Maracanã. And at 3/1, they are favourites to remedy that
64 year old ache.
La Celeste, the current Copa America holders, only qualified through the
playoffs last autumn against Jordan. A repeat of 1950’s final looks unlikely.
Indeed Uruguay is not expected by many to qualify from a group that
includes Italy & England. But don’t underestimate the fighting spirit of
the Uruguayans, and their ability to place greater emphasis on shots than
I do think home advantage is going to be a massive advantage for Brazil,
and those odds are not as unattractive as many might think. Saying that,
don’t rule out a very notable challenge from 3 or 4 others.
Argentina have a team capable of destroying the opposition with fast moving
counter-attack football, fuelled by Di Maria linking up with an attacking trio
of Aguero, Messi & Higuain. Plus, they also have a well organised defence,
and a deep lying midfielder in Mascherano that can play deeper when required.
Germany are viewed by certain sections as the most complete squad to come out
of the country since 1974, when the then West German side consisted of Franz Beckenbauer & Gerd Muller. Whereas a side like Belgium may impress with their
starting 11, Joachim’s Low’s side has 2 or 3 top players for every position. Saying
that, they do have weaknesses, notably the potential to expose their own full backs.
Four years is an eternity in international football, so I don’t expect either of the
2010 World Cup finalists, Spain & Holland, to win this tournament. But to rule out
a team with Alonso, Busquets, Ramos, Iniesta & Navas would be a tad dismissive.
As it stands due to injuries, Diego Costa doesn’t look like he’ll play a full part for his adopted nation in the land of his birth.
Holland winning would be considerably more surprising. Louis Van Gaal, seems
to have decided against an insurance policy in defence… 4 of his back 5 will all be
from the slightly inferior Dutch league. The 5th player will be Aston Villa’s Vlaar.
Not one currently has more than 20 caps.
Stay tuned for further blogging during the World Cup
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