Football

Brazil 2014: Contenders for glory

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The World Cup is now less than a year away and is fast approaching. It is now time to weigh up the chances of some of the top teams.

Spain

So where better to start than with current World Cup holders Spain? Vicente del Bosque's team was prolific in the last World Cup in 2010 and since then has pretty much continued to monopolize international sides. However, the Spannish squad is very mature and is aging rapidly.

Key players in the last world cup such as Xavi, Carles Puyol, Xabi Alonso and Andres Iniesta are not gettiing any younger and the youth within the squad had been questioned: Up until this summer.

The U21's European Championships were held in Israel - Spain were victorious. Heroes were born in Thiago Alacantra, Alvaro Morata, Isco and Koke. All of these players emerged and made their presence known.

Yes, Spain have a lot of talented players coming through, but they also need the experienced players to play beside them; although Xavi and other veterans are aging they are still crucial to Spain's youth development. They need to help the younger players learn and to learn from such experienced players the likes of Thiago will definately benefit.

So with a healthy blend of experience and developing young players Spain may continue to dominate the International scene.

Prediction: Runners-up

Germany

Germany have been one of the major forces on the international stage in the last few years, mainly due to their youth development, which has created some fantastic players.

The likes of Mesut Ozil, Marco Reus and Mario Goetze are just some of the players that Germany's investment in youth development has rewarded them with.

Germany reached the semi-finals in both the World Cup in 2010 and the Euro's in 2012 proving their side has all the ingredients needed to be a success in Brazil.

Since then more stars have broken into the national side and the Bundesliga has ameliorated. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund reached the final of last season's Champions League; both sides have a clutter of German talent and their first team opportunities may give Germany an edge over teams who do not have all of their players getting regular first team football at their club.

Germany's team, like Spain, has a mixture of youth and experience and gives them an advantage over their rivals.

With their players at the top domestically Germany have a great winning mentality which may guide them to success in Brazil.

Prediction: Winners

England

England's team has been subjected to much criticism over the last decade as their national side is nowhere near the standard of their domestic league.

There is quality in the England team of course but in the big tournaments England are failing to utilise the quality within the team.

Against the bigger teams England freeze and play deep allowing the other team to come on to them. England need to show they are a confident side that oozes class and play just how similar teams would.

England's emerging talent is promising the likes of Ross Barkley, Wilfred Zaha, Jack Wilshere and Daniel Sturridge have impressed in the Barclays Premier League and could be the answer to England's prayers in the up an coming years.

England are top of their World Cup qualifying group but it is not that stage they struggle on it is once they have qualified, when they struggle to build up momentum.

England also have a problem regarding game time. Not all of England's squad gets first team football Danny Welbeck and Andros Townsend started for England against Montenegro on Friday night but are not consistently starting for their respective clubs. As these players are not getting enough game time for their clubs the confidence levels are not as high as they should be.

Prediction: Quarter Finalists

Belgium

Belgium are a perfect example of why England need to change their style; the Belgians are a team littered with youth and they also have some experience, but it is the hungry young players who are dominating their ranks.

Belgium as a national side are ready to make their mark, their team is full of potential and are developing fast, the team is well rounded and doesn't have many weak points.

Their captain Vincent Kompany is a fantastic leader and will look to drive his team forward and hopefully point them in the direction of success.

Belgium's attack is frightening. Christian Benteke, Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard lead the line and are all very dangerous, especially on counter-attacks. Their pace and desire to impress is commendable and collectively are a big reason why Belgium can be a success in years to come.

However, Belgium's lack of experience is a major concern. Rivals have far more experience in their ranks and will make it hard for them. The young squad could panic in situations where they are winning and may not perform under pressure.

If Belgium are not to succeed in 2014 they are a team that could taste success in later tournaments. This tournament should be the start of a potential, promising few years for Belgium. To get out of their group in the World Cup would be a massive achievement for such a young squad.

Prediction: Quarter-Finals

Brazil

The hosts Brazil have not been able to preponderate the international stage over the past few years due to such fierce competition. However, they are still very much so part of the big boys.

Brazil's Confederations Cup victory signalled their intentions for the World Cup next year, beating world champions Spain was the statement they wanted to make.

Their success has set them up nicely for the World Cup and makes them one of the favourites. They have a squad full of fantastic players who have versatility; many of Brazil's stars will switch positions in games to confuse opponents and make their attackers harder to mark.

Brazil have talent situated all over the globe and they come together to create a squad full of experience.

The typical Brazil way is to keep as much of the ball as possible to frustrate opponents and in their own home they can play just how they like.

The temperature in Brazil will be problematic for some teams, who will have a while to adapt but they will not be too used to the conditions giving Brazil an advantage over their rivals.

Brazil will gain a lot of comfort from playing in their own conditions and with a squad capable of playing the football they want to, Brazil are very much a team capable of going all the way next year.

Prediction: semi finalists

Argentina

Argentina possess four-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi in their squad. Messi is arguably the best player in the world and also has a great squad around him - yet Argentina have not been successful in recent times.

With attacking players such as Messi, Carlos Tevez, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Angel Di Maria how have Argentina not been successful?

Argentina did manage to reach the quater finals in the 2010 World Cup but only to be humiliated by Germany 4-0.

They were also knocked out in the Copa America 2011 again in the quater finals. Argentina have been unlucky, but at the same time seem to lack the final push.

For Argentina to succeed in the next World Cup they need to be sharp and focused, killing off games is crucial but they also need to tighten up defensively. Spain in 2010 were superb in every area of the field and Argentina were not, conceding four to Germany proved this.

Another problem Argentina face is being able to get big egos playing together. Argentina up front are littered with stars, but making them play together will be a tough challenge - for them to succeed it will be essential.

If Argentina can get their stars to play together effectively they could potentially go all the way.

Prediction: semi finalists

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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