With only a handful of months to go before Brazil launches its next football extravaganza –the 2014 World Cup, soccer enthusiasts around the world have already begun to turn their attention onto the international stage.
Not long from now football fans would be more than eager to welcome the prospect of the World Cup into their debates on the game.
But 20 to 30 years back, the tide has taken an unraveling turn in world football. If you were given the choices of either watching a match featuring Barcelona and Real Madrid or to spectate an encounter between Argentina and Brazil, which would you choose? Most likely the fabled El Classico; that is arguably what most will do.
One of the biggest revolutions in world football can no longer be neglected. Over the past years the once perplexing grandeur of international football has worn out, as the domestic leagues takes their spot.
The past decade has certainly witnessed club football establish absolute dominance over international soccer in both the terms of public anticipation and the quality
of the game.
As soccer leagues continue to prove themselves the most successful in catching the public eye, international football, on the other hand, is declining at an alarming rate.
And the only deficiency to blame for this lapse in international soccer is the insufficiency of training time that the national teams are provided with.
And yet in its midst, the world’s most anticipated tournament, the grand World Cup
presents itself at our disposal, giving us a completely unique entertainment, a change of taste, and a contest where the undisputed elites compete for national pride.
It seems as if the long-awaited World Cup has arrived at the perfect moment to resurrect the former passion and splendor of international soccer. Being the world’s most popular sporting event, this grand tournament holds dramatic memories scattered across the pages of history.
Passing down from nation to nation and from a generation to the next, this aspired Cup has graced countless hands, and yet remains every footballer’s greatest ambitions. Though the World Cup cannot replicate the arduous performances from the eras of Pele and Maradona, this
epic contest still remains the single most highlighted sporting event on the calendar.
The preceding Confederations Cup has not only brought some life into international soccer,but has also served the purpose of “enhancing the enthusiasm” ahead of the World Cup, and had earned the competing teams some valuable experience on the pitch.
Nevertheless,with the World Cup approaching fast, and the game’s elite titans aiming to turn their aspirations into achievements, this anticipated tournament promises to exhibit as much competition among its contestants as there would be thrillers to be witnessed.
But who would win this prestigious title and survive the pressure-cooker atmosphere of
the tournament on their road to glory? That, surely would be the hottest question on everyone’s mind in a few months time as the World Cup looms even closer.
Entering the grand tournament with the ambition of defending their prestigious World Cup title, Spain are unquestionably the favourites to triumph at the grand finale. Becoming the first team in history to win three consecutive major tournaments, Spain remain, to date, the world’s undisputed number one.
With a wealth of young talent at the disposal of coach Vicente Del Bosque, it is unlikely that the World Champions will fail the expectations of their ardent fans. Over the preceding years, Spain have demonstrated dominance in its utmost level at the international stage, transforming itself from a mediocre team into the World and European champions.
With the likes of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Juan Mata operating at the heart of their midfield, backed up by defensive forces of Sergio Busquets, Pique, and Jordi Alba, the Spaniards also boast one of the world’s greatest keepers, Iker Casillas.
However, In the light of their Confederations Cup defeat to Brazil, some may urge that Spain, has finally relinquished their crown of world domination. But based on its consistency over the past several months, Spain have been the supreme power in world football and their shocking defeat at the Confederations Cup final is nothing more than a mere blip.
The Spaniards remain the only European side to successfully defend the Euro title after defeating Portugal in the final of 2012, and it likely that they will be able repeat a similar feat in the upcoming World Cup. With Spain securely positioned at the peak of the FIFA rankings, anyone who takes their Confederations Cup humiliation at the hands of Brazil as an event symbolising the end of their supremacy, is set to receive a shock awakening.
Perhaps no other team threatens Spain’s World Cup title more than those who humbled the World champions 3-0 at the Confederations Cup final several weeks ago. The five-time world champions, Brazil is back on track after dropping to record lows in the FIFA ranking.
After their extraordinary performances at the Confederations Cup, they are now one of the hot favourites to seal in their sixth World Cup glory. Brazil is the homeland to some of the football’s biggest names- Neymar, Hulk, Fred, Oscar, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Dani Alves, Marcello and so on. Brazil’s star-studded lineup constitutes of some of the world’s most renowned footballers and the Brazilian team itself has drawn many striking similarities with the FIFA Dream Eleven.
So if Brazil is a combination of such elites in all regions of the pitch, the natural question on everyone’s mind would be: “why they are not already the reigning world champions”? The answer is quite simple - the Brazilian footballers, (almost all of them playing in Europe) have a completely different style of play and they find it very difficult to combine as a team during the short time they are provided with.
This is the dire circumstance which many international teams are recently facing as the players continue devote most of their time to club training. Nevertheless, the tireless Brazilians were victorious in overcoming all the obstacles and challenges thronging their path to glory; as concluded their Confederations Cup campaign with an emphatic win at Maracana.
Their Confederations Cup glory over Spain was certainly a symbol of great inspiration and hope, but as Brazil take on the world on their home soil, they will need to unleash a new weapon in their pursuit of a sixth World Cup title.
The three-time world-champions, Germany are undoubtedly one of the supreme powerhouses of European football. And it is upon them that the most eyes will rest on as they embark on yet another epic contest to prove their might.
Ranked only second place to Spain in the FIFA rankings, Germany are certainly the next in line to engrave their name into the gold-plated World Cup. Hoisting the black-red-and-yellow striped flag of Germany, are some of the world’s most iconic footballers.
However, under the leadership of coach Joachim Loew, German’s boundless potential was not reflected in their performances at the 2010 World Cup, where they fell to Spain in the semi-final phase of the tournament - their very unlikely 1-0 loss to the Spaniards in the WC could only be attributed to ‘bad luck’.
After a number of unfortunate losses throughout the span of the last four years, Germany will now look to fight tooth and nail as they seek to end their title drought stretching back to 1990. With an epic competition raging among the elites, football spectators need not to worry about their experience in Brazil - for sentiments of thrill and awe await to embrace the fans when the World Cup kicks off at Sao Paulo.
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