There are only five countries with a realistic chance at winning the 2014 World Cup. Brazil and Argentina from South America; and Spain, Germany and Italy from Europe.
Let's look at why they should be considered genuine contenders:
Brazil have a chance at every World Cup they compete in, but with home advantage, they may be even better.
I would say they are my favourites to win the tournament, but they seem to be in a post Kaka/Ronaldinho transition period into a younger team. Whether these younger, less experienced players, like Oscar or Neymar, can handle the pressure that comes with a home World Cup remains to be seen.
The current holders of the World Cup have dominated world and European football for the last five to six years.
The midfield quality they possess is second to none and they have a strong defence as well. They have a really experienced team that will help the youngsters shine at this level of football. The one thing they lack is a quality, in form, out and out striker to finish the chances created by the midfield - and this is a major drawback.
You can't look much further in this squad than Lionel Messi. If he replicate his club form for Argentina in this tournament then I expect the South American's to lift the trophy.
I know one player doesn't make a team, but without him Argentina have a really strong squad, and with him it's an outstanding squad.
The Germans are always a force to be reckoned with. Known for their strong defence and great organisation they're always contenders.
They have a resolute defence and a midfield that can control any game, and they're also bringing in some very creative forwards with the likes of Mario Gotze and Marco Reus coming through, so I expect Germany to reach the semi-finals at least.
The last of my five contenders and probably the team with the smallest chance of winning. Italy have started to come back into form after a dreadful 2010 World Cup campaign. They are actually coming into a vein of from similar to that preceding the 2006 World Cup, which they won.
The Azzurri boast a rock-solid defence, while Mario Balotelli is quickly becoming a world-class striker who will cause problems for any defence.
I think that Argentina will win the 2014 World Cup. Why? Because Messi is starting to turn his club form into international form, something which he has always struggled to do, and it's on Brazilian ground. The Argentineans would love to win it on the turf of their closest rivals.
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