The World Cup group stage draw is just over a month away.
On December 6th we will find out who gets drawn with who and what each of our home nations potential route to the World Cup Final.
We all pray for our country to be drawn in a group that will end up playing the easiest possible selection of first or second placed team in the first knockout round.
Luckily, a simulator has been released and we can already get a sense of who will be playing who and what the chances are of our country winning the World Cup.
I have predicted the World Cup outcome using the prediction that the African teams, who are winning in the first leg of their final qualification round will win their respective ties, and that Portugal, France, Croatia and Greece will qualify from the UEFA playoffs.
The “draw” was made five times and on the fifth drawing, the scenarios were worked out.
I can’t see South Korea or Nigeria having any kind of impact on the way this group turns out. I know it’s the World Cup and anything can happen, but Brazil is going for back-to-back international championships after winning the Confederations Cup on home soil. Portugal should have enough talent to see off the rest of the group, and if they don’t they just feed it to Ronaldo.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Runner-Up: Bosnia and Herzegovina
Belgium are a real threat in this tournament and this group draw has been kind to them including an Ecuador team that scraped into the automatic places on the last day of qualifying from the CONMEBOL region, Bosnia and Herzegovina and the non-factor Honduras. Expect Belgium to run the table in a group like this. While it was tough to choose between Bosnia and Herzegovina and Ecuador I ended up choosing the Bosnian’s because they scored thirty goals during qualifying, only conceding six. Ecuador scored twenty, conceding sixteen.
Runner-Up: Ivory Coast
If the group turns out this way Italy are certainly through to the round of sixteen. Australia shouldn’t put up much of a fight and Uruguay actually have to play a playoff to get into the World Cup, conceding as many goals as they scored in a CONMEBOL qualifying campaign that didn’t include Brazil. Normally I would pick Uruguay to go further in the World Cup, but on their recent form I just think Ivory Coast will pip them to second – but not by much.
While the critics were moaning about England’s run of results in qualifying for the World Cup, they quietly racked up thirty-one goals, conceding only four. Oh, and they were undefeated. England are by no means the best team in the competition, but they’re not a non-factor like the English press would have you believe. It’ll be close between them and Colombia, who had a very impressive campaign in
the CONMEBOL region to qualify for Rio 2014. Mexico on current form might not even qualify, and if they don’t replace them with New Zealand. Either way Mexico and Cameroon are non factors in this group.
I’m sorry, I don’t care how good FIFA says Switzerland are; they’re the third best team in this group.France went out of the last World Cup LAST in their group – they wont this time around. They’re too good. This is also dependent on France seeing off Ukraine in a playoff, but remember France’s sole loss in the qualifiers came at the hands of Spain in March. As for the runner up, I just think Ghana will make it though. Costa Rica have Bryan Oviedo, Bryan Ruiz, and Joel Campbell but beyond that I can’t see them doing much, nor Switzerland.
Germany to qualify with maximum points and the biggest goal difference if this is how the draw falls. I really think Chile will surprise a few people, they finished just four points behind winners of the CONMEBOL section winners Argentina and two behind Colombia.
Pretty straight forward, Argentina are the best team in this group, the Netherlands are the second best team. This one might come down to how badly the two beat Russia and Japan, if they are drawn with said teams of course.
If the draw falls like this for the USA then it will have been kind to them. It’s certainly the easiest group draw for the USMNT of the four previous simulated draws. As much as I don’t think America is the thirteenth best team in the world, they should definitely see off Algeria, and although I think Greece will be tough, the USMNT should get themselves through to the round of sixteen. What do I really need to say about Spain?
Round of 16
Brazil vs Bosnia and Herzegovina
Belgium vs Portugal
Italy vs Colombia
England vs Ivory Coast
France vs Chile
Germany vs Ghana
Argentina vs United States of America
Spain vs Netherlands
Winners: Brazil, Belgium, Colombia, England, France, Germany,
The biggest omission I’m sure you’ll have noticed is Italy. I haven’t been impressed with Italy for a long time – not even at the European Championships in 2012. They looked boring and didn’t take enough risks. Colombia will be more used to the climate in Brazil, being their neighbours and what not, and finished just two points behind Argentina in the CONMEBOL qualifying zone. Against an un-inspiring Italy side, I expect them to win. Just.
Brazil vs Belgium
England vs Colombia
France vs Germany
Argentina vs Spain
Winners: Brazil, England, Germany, Argentina
“Of course he picked England to beat Colombia, he’s English,” I’m sure you’re thinking – citing all the reasons I just said Colombia would beat Italy. Well England have a much younger, faster, more exciting team than Italy do. With players like Andros Townsend, Theo Walcott, Danny Welbeck, Jack Wilshere, and Wayne Rooney I believe they are more of a threat than Italy are this time around. Argentina should edge out Spain, Brazil should beat Belgium and Germany should be comfortably through facing France.
Brazil vs England
Germany vs Argentina
Winners: Brazil, Argentina.
No way can England beat Brazil. Even if Italy or Colombia were to make it to this point, nobody is beating Brazil in Brazil. Brazil’s draw in this simulation was exceptionally kind, but I expect them to be in the final whatever the draw. I have Germany being undone by the climate more than anything and I think Argentina will be too much for them.
Brazil vs Argentina
With all the socio-economic problems that Brazil has right now, you can see what football means to the Brazilian people – just look at the reaction the team got in every game at the confederations cup last summer. The Brazilian players were in support of the fans’ cause in the summer, and they will be again this coming summer. This galvanised the fans behind the Brazilian team and that is going to always give them the edge. Throw in the fact that they could ultimately play archrivals Argentina in the final and what more motivation do you need?
I expect Brazil to beat Argentina in the Final of the World Cup and secure back-to-back international titles on home soil.
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