The biggest sporting event on the planet kicks off in six months time when the 2014 FIFA World Cup will originate from arguably the most passionate soccer country in the world, Brazil. We do know which 32 teams have qualified for the tournament but we don’t know any of the fixtures as of yet. The draw for the tournament is slated for Friday. So it’s time for a little fun before the draw. I took the time to do a mock draw for the upcoming tournament. Here’s a look at my mock World Cup draw.
Brazil, Algeria, USA, Portugal
This could be a group of death. But there are fixtures in this group that are very intriguing. Brazil vs USA would be a huge draw for the hosts and would have people across the globe glued to their television sets. USA vs Portugal would setup an epic rematch from the 2002 World Cup where the Americans pulled off a huge upset. However, Cristiano Ronaldo wasn’t part of that Portugal team. Finally there is Brazil vs Portugal. A battle between Ronaldo and the young Brazilian superstar Neymar. This must happen.
Argentina, Honduras, Cameroon, England
It begins and ends with Argentina vs England. A very bitter rivalry between the two nations that has extended past the football pitch. The Falklands war in 1982 still leaves a very bitter taste in Argentina. On the pitch, the English are still smarting from Diego Maradonna’s “Hand of God” goal in 1986, and David Beckham’s red card in 1998, both leading to Argentina victories over England. Lost in all this is Cameroon who have some history against both Argentina and England. In the 1990 World Cup, the Indomitable Lions shocked the Argentines in the opening fixture of the tournament. Later on, Cameroon were eliminated by England in the quarterfinals. This would be an intriguing group.
Colombia, Iran, Nigeria, Holland
There are high expectations for Colombia at the World Cup, with the tournament being held on their continent. The presence of Monaco striker Radamel Falcao, considered to be one of the top players in the world, also gives the world another reason to watch The Coffee Growers. The Dutch are looking to rebound after a very poor showing at Euro 2012. Don’t fall asleep on Nigeria either. They do have the potential to defeat any side and also have the likes of Victor Moses and Shola Ameobi to scare opposing defenders. It wouldn’t be the most glamorous group, but it could be a fun group to watch.
Uruguay, South Korea, Russia, France
This would be my Group of Death. Uruguay made it to the semifinals in 2010, and will boast a strong lineup, led by Liverpool striker Luis Suarez and Paris St. Germain forward Edison Cavani. The South Koreans are always a difficult opponent and they are never an easy out. There are high hopes for a Russian side that does play some very attractive football. The French squeaked into the tournament, but does boast world-class talent like Franck Ribery and Samir Nasri. A very intriguing group that would be almost impossible to pick on who would survive.
Spain, Mexico, Chile, Greece
This could be another Group of Death, with the Spanish favoured of advancing. The defending World Cup Champions will have a strong side going to Brazil and they do know what it takes to win this tournament. Mexico needed a playoff to qualify but many observers have them as a dark-horse in the tournament. Chile lost to Spain in the Group Stage in 2010, and would love a chance at revenge. The Chileans boast Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal who is enjoying a terrific season with the Italian champions. Greece are known for a surprise or two, and are a tricky opponent.
Germany, Japan, Ivory Coast, Italy
Call this the World War II group. OK, Ivory Coast wasn’t with the Axis but a fourth nation was needed to fill out the group. The highlighted fixture would definitely be Germany vs Italy. The Germans are considered one of the favourites to hoist the golden trophy for a fourth time, and have a roster that is second to none. The Italians are looking to avenge a very poor showing in 2010, in which they were eliminated in the Group Stage. Japan are an underrated side, who are known to give favoured opponents a difficult time. Ivory Coast do have Didier Droga as their striker, but one wonders if the Elephants are headed for a downturn.
Belgium, Australia, Ecuador, Croatia
The Belgians are the hipster team of the World Cup. The likes of Eden Hazard, Marouane Fellani and Vincent Kompany have made their marks in the English Premier League and are hoping to make their mark Internationally. An interesting fixture would be Australia vs Croatia. The two nations met in a thrilling contest at the 2006 World Cup which ended in a 2-2 draw. A rematch might result in more thrills. Ecuador are a long shot.
Switzerland, Costa Rica, Ghana, Bosnia-Herzegovina
To be honest, this would be the least interesting group but sometimes the least interesting group on paper provides the best football on the pitch. The Swiss were the only team to defeat Spain at the 2010 World Cup, a 1-0 result for the Swiss in their opening fixture. Ghana are widely considered the best African side and they do have household names like Michael Essien and Kevin-Prince Boateng on their roster. This will be the first ever World Cup for Bosnia-Herzegovina and they will be led by Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko. Costa Rica are long shots in any group they will be in.
That is how my World Cup draw will look. But I have a feeling that the actual draw will look much different from the on I just drew up. Check back after FIFA pulls all the balls out of the drum to see how close this draw is to FIFA’s. Chances are it won’t be close, but it was fun trying.
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