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TBR Writers Predict the Story of Brazil

England

TBR Writers Predict the Story of Brazil

Chris Linnell:

Each Group’s Final Standings (First to Last Place):

Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon.

Group B: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia.

Group C: Ivory Coast, Greece, Japan, Colombia.

Group D: Italy, Uruguay, England, Costa Rica.

Group E: France, Switzerland, Ecuador, Honduras.

Group F: Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nigeria, Iran.

Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, United States.

Group H: Belgium, Russia, Algeria, South Korea.

  • Dark horses for the trophy: Portugal: It’s impossible to rule the Portuguese out of contention for any international tournament based on one essential ingredient – Cristiano Ronaldo. The Real Madrid star single-handedly carried his nation to the semi-finals of the European Championships, and had it not been for his penalty mishap in the shoot-out, they could have taken on Italy in the final. Ronny and Pepe will be reeling from their recent successes at club level, as they ready themselves to carry this form to the international stage.
  • Surprise package in the tournament: I’m a big fan of Chile and I feel they have the potential to cause a few upsets in Brazil, especially whilst playing in a tough group B. If the Dutch and Spaniards experience a slow start, the group is, without the slightest hesitation, the Chilean’s for the taking. A team of exceptional talent – namely, Alexis Sanchez, Vidal and Gary Medel – plus the the advantage of playing on the nation’s home continent could be enough to spring a few surprises.
  • How will England fare? After witnessing recent friendly performances I’m finding it increasingly difficult to see even qualyfing from Group D. The Three Lions need a strong start against Italy, before taking on an under-rated Uruguay side. Even Costa Rica could pose problems in the final fixture.
  • Knocked out in the semi-finals: Spain and France
  • Second Place: Argentina will be favourites for many, and understandably so. They have an unreal array of attacking options and if they find their form early doors, there’s no reason they cannot go all the way. With Lionel Messi leading the Argetine charge, anything is possible.
  • Winners: Brazil: It’s simply written in the script, and anything but a tournament win for Brazil this summer will ultimately be seen as a faliure. We’ve already witnessed the capabilites of Scolari’s side during the Confederations Cup last year, and on home turf again, it would take a brave man to bet against them.

 

Joe Walsh:

Each Group’s Final Standings (First to Last Place):

Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon.

Group B: Spain, Chile, Netherlands, Australia.

Group C: Colombia, Ivory Coast, Japan, Greece.

Group D: Italy, England, Uruguay, Costa Rica.

Group E: France, Switzerland, Ecuador, Honduras.

Group F: Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nigeria, Iran.

Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, United States.

Group H: Belgium, South Korea, Russia, Algeria.

 

  • Dark Horses for the trophy: Portugal. Always seem to show up in tournaments, narrowly losing out to Spain in the semis at Euro 2012. If they can avoid key injuries and Cristiano Ronaldo can maintain his form, they will be a handful for anyone.
  • Surprise package in the tournament: Chile. Exciting going forward but leaky at the back, their games should be end to end. With the likes of Sanchez and Vidal driving the team they could be too strong for Holland and they may well have their sights on the hosts in the second round.
  • How will England fare?: Quarter finals. I think England will qualify from the group at the expense of an overrated Uruguay side. On paper, the possibilities in the second round all look beatable. The stumbling block could prove to be Brazil in the quarters.
  • Knocked out in the semi-finals: Argentina and Germany. The momentum behind both finalists, for various reasons, will prove too much for these two.
  • Second place: Brazil. I predict a strong tournament for the Brazilians, but when it comes down to it, they lack truly world class players in too many important positions.
  • Champions: Spain. I must admit before the squads were announced I had been leaning towards the Argentinians lifting the famous trophy, but when I saw the options Spain have at their disposal I couldn’t look past them. Spain are probably the only team in the tournament who can field 11 players playing at the absolute top level in world football right now. Not only this, they can replace them all with world class players as well – every single Spanish player going to Rio played in the Champions League this season. They have a proven track record of winning, even if they weren’t in the squad for the previous three tournaments, most of the players have league titles or a champions league under their belt. The emergence of Diego Costa, if fit, provides Spain with the plan B they have often been criticised of lacking.

 


 

Jack Linley:

Each Group’s Final Standings (First to Last Place):

Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon.

Group B: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia.

Group C: Colombia, Ivory Coast, Japan, Greece.

Group D: Italy, England, Uruguay, Costa Rica.

Group E: France, Switzerland, Ecuador, Honduras.

Group F: Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nigeria, Iran.

Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, United States.

Group H: Belgium, Russia, Algeria, South Korea.

 

  • Dark Horses for the trophy: France are currently out of the top 10 in the FIFA rankings, and as a result are out of the reckoning in many eyes. However, as long as they don’t hit the self-destruct button again on the world stage, you can’t count out a squad containing the likes of Lloris, Varane, Mangala, Pogba, Benzema, and Ribéry.
  • Surprise package in the tournament: Croatia should qualify from their group and with Modric and Mandzukic in fantastic form, they could well cause an upset or two even in the latter stages in Brazil.
  • How will England fare?: I think the Three Lions will just about escape Group D with a second placed finish, possibly coming down to goal difference over Uruguay. They should be handed an easier last 16 match, but then I think the quarter finals is as far as they will go. This result would have cause for optimism though.
  • Knocked out in the semi-finals: Spain and France, not necessarily down to failings of their own team, but simply being overpowered by the 2 finalists.
  • Second place: Brazil will almost certainly do exceptionally well this summer, but the huge sense of expectation means that anything apart from picking up the trophy will be classed as failure. Momentum will take them to the final, but I think they will fall at the final hurdle.
  • Champions: Argentina have quite simply the most potent attacking line-up at the world cup, a dynamic midfield unit, and a relatively solid defence to go with that. They should score a hatful of goals and with options of Messi, Higuain, Aguero, Lavezzi, and Di Maria, who can be confident of stopping them. In a fashion similar to Man City and Liverpool in the most recent Premier League season, I can see them conceding a fair few goals during the tournament. They may only keep a couple of clean sheets, but the fact is that they have the capability to always score more than the opposition. Beating Brazil on their turf will lead to unbelievable scenes, the insanity of which I feel cannot be predicted. For a neutral, an Argentina vs Brazil final is the perfect outcome and I believe that Argentina taking the lead will build up so much self-inflicted pressure on the hosts that they will buckle.

Ryan Kirkman:

Each Group’s Final Standings (First to Last Place):

Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon.

Group B: Spain, Chile, Netherlands, Australia.

Group C: Colombia, Ivory Coast, Japan, Greece.

Group D: Italy, Uruguay, England, Costa Rica.

Group E: France, Ecuador, Switzerland, Honduras.

Group F: Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nigeria, Iran.

Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, United States.

Group H: Belgium, Russia, South Korea, Algeria.

 

  • Dark Horses for the trophy: Chile
  • Surprise Package in the tournament: Bosnia
  • How will England fare?: Finish 3rd in the group.
  • Knocked out in the semi finals: Spain, Germany
  • Second Place: Argentina
  • World Cup Winners: Brazil – There are two teams, Brazil and Argentina, that are very hard to split in terms of who is most likely to win. I slightly favour Brazil just because of their home advantage and it will come down to two key men; Messi and Neymar, who will be expected by both sets of fans to drive their team to glory. Brazil showed at the Confederations Cup just how good they are, and if they can carry on like that I think they’ll win it.

Josh Rendall

Each Group’s Final Standings (First to Last Place):

Group A: Brazil, Cameroon, Mexico, Croatia.

Group B: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia.

Group C: Ivory Coast, Colombia, Japan, Greece.

 

Group D: Italy, England, Uruguay, Costa Rica.

Group E: France, Ecuador, Honduras, Switzerland.

Group F: Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nigeria, Iran.

Group G: Germany, Portugal, USA, Ghana.

Group H: Belgium, South Korea, Algeria, Russia.

 

  • Dark horses for the trophy: Belgium: no one quite knows what to expect from the Belgium’s with talent such as Kompany and Hazard definitely the ones to watch.
  • Surprise package in the tournament: This could well turn out to be the Ivory Coast, having been so unlucky to have been put in the so-called group of death in the last two World Cups. Now they finally have a chance to prove what they’re made of.
  • How will England fare? Personally I can’t see them getting past the second round even if they top their group. My problem with England is they are incapable of keeping hold of the ball. It’s fine when we play the smaller teams but against big teams England are found out time and time again. I don’t expect this World Cup to be any different.
  • Knocked out in the semi-finals: Spain and Germany
  • Second Place: I’m going for a bit of a wildcard in Argentina, a clash between two of South America’s heavyweights would be some spectacle. Questions remain over the defensive side of Argentina however their attacking ability is not to be questioned.
  • Winners: I think Brazil will win the tournament, with the home crowd behind them it would tragic if they didn’t bring the cup back to its spiritual home. In truth I don’t think Brazil will have the best team; other counties have better squads, but none will be as determined as the men in yellow.

 


George Stokes:

Each Group’s Final Standings (First to Last Place):

Group A: Brazil, Mexico, Croatia, Cameroon.

Group B: Spain, Chile, Netherlands, Australia.

Group C: Greece, Colombia, Japan, Ivory Coast.

Group D: Italy, England, Uruguay, Costa Rica.

Group E: Switzerland, France, Ecuador, Honduras.

Group F: Argentina, Nigeria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran.

Group G: Germany, Portugal, USA, Ghana.

Group H: Belgium, Russia, South Korea, Algeria.

  • Dark horses for the trophy: Argentina. Defensively they could be challenged, but if the attack can click they have the best in the world in Messi, Aguero, Di Maria and Higuain. Like Brazil, climate won’t be an issue and with a large fan backing making the trip across South America, Argentina will feel at home in some games. A relatively easy group to build up some confidence early on. My bets on an Argentinian to be top goalscorer. Could meet Spain in the semi-finals, but if they can get past them, the sky is the limit.
  • Surprise package in the tournament: Greece. Maybe not to go deep into the knockout rounds, but personally, I think they’ll top there group. Never turn up to the top tournaments with the best squad, but having seen them win more trophies than England in my lifetime, I know never to write the Greeks off. Handed one of the easiest groups in the tournament, but no expectation, I can see them taking 7 points from a possible 9 setting up a potential game with England.
  • How will England fare?: When I first saw our group and until recently, I couldn’t see us getting out of the group. As the tournament gets closer, I’m slightly more optimistic, coupled with injury to Luis Suarez, Uruguay don’t look quite as frightening. If we can get through, I don’t think anyone from Group C is as good as England, so I’m saying a quarter final exit at the hands of Brazil.
  • Second Place: Spain. An ageing side, but still one of the best in world football. The passing style got shown up last summer in the Confederations Cup, but the final is where the holders should be aiming for. Having dominated the last 6 years of international football without a recognised striker, you throw Diego Costa as an outlet into the mix and the squad looks incredible. If he can stay fit from his recent hamstring troubles, he could fire them to the final.
  • World Cup Winners: Brazil. Got to be hasn’t it? Despite the unrest from some in Brazil, the majority are backing Scolari’s men in the samba heat. Quality from the back to the front, and used to the conditions so many other nations are worried about, in my eyes, gives them even more of an edge. Spain? Just take a look at the Confederations Cup final last summer.

Daniel O’Connor:

Each Group’s Final Standings (First to Last Place):

Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon.

Group B: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia.

Group C: Colombia, Japan, Ivory Coast, Greece.

Group D: Italy, England, Uruguay, Costa Rica.

Group E: France, Ecuador, Switzerland, Honduras.

Group F: Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nigeria, Iran.

Group G: Germany, Portugal, USA, Ghana.

Group H: Belgium, Russia, South Korea, Algeria.

 

  • Dark Horses: France. Don’t expect them to implode this time. Deschamps has found a balance and harmony. One of the most talented 23-man squads you will see at this year’s tournament. Don’t be surprised to see them reach a semi-final.
  • Surprise Package: Ivory Coast. Africa’s biggest hope. Squad has been tipped for success for years. Failed to win an African Cup of Nations and have been knocked out of the group stages in their last 2 World Cups. ( Two tough groups to be fair) Their defence is very shaky and their team is full of great individuals who don’t tend to click as a team. Many expect them to qualify but I can see them going home having failed to get out of their group for the third time.
  • How will England fare?: Whether they finish first or second, can’t see them getting past the quarter finals stage..if they get that far.
  • Knocked out in the semi-finals: Spain and France.
  • Second Place: Italy.
  • World Cup Winners: Argentina. Alejandro Sabella has managed to build a team around Messi who has started to perform like we are used to seeing him at Barcelona. Having inherited a squad with a lot of attackers and an inbalance behind them, he has transformed them into a more balanced and pragmatic side. They will play all their matches in the south of Brazil regardless of whether they finish first or second where the climate is far cooler in comparison to the North. The importance of location cannot be underestimated.

 

Hesham Bilal-Hafiz:

Each Group’s Final Standings (First to Last Place):

Group A: Brazil, Cameroon, Croatia, Mexico.

Group B: Spain, Holland, Chile, Australia.

Group C: Ivory Coast, Japan, Colombia, Greece.

Group D: Italy, England, Uruguay, Costa Rica.

Group E: France, Ecuador, Switzerland, Honduras.

Group F: Argentina, Bosnia, Nigeria, Iran.

Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA.

Group H: Belgium, Russia, Algeria, South Korea.

 

  • Dark Horses: Belgium
  • Surprise Package: Holland – people are saying this is the worst Dutch squad in years. I think this team could surprise a few.
  • How will England fare?: Last 16
  • Knocked out in the semi-finals: Germany and Spain
  • Second Place: Brazil
  • World Cup Winners: Argentina – a South American team will win it because they will adapt best to conditions. This year with their attack of Di Maria, Aguero and Messi surely they can outscore any opponent.

 

Jonny Beatham

Each Group’s Final Standings (First to Last Place):

Group A: Brazil, Croatia, Cameroon, Mexico.

Group B: Spain, Chile, Holland, Australia.

Group C: Colombia, Japan, Ivory Coast, Greece.

Group D: England, Uruguay, Italy, Costa Rica.

Group E: France, Switzerland, Ecuador, Honduras.

Group F: Argentina, Nigeria, Bosnia, Iran.

Group G: Germany, Portugal, USA, Ghana.

Group H: Belgium, Russia, South Korea, Algeria.

  • Dark Horses: France have been drawn into a relatively easy group and face what should be a simple round of 16 tie should they win the group. As well as being solid at the back, the fire power they have, even without Ribery, should be enough to make them a match for any side. Pogba in central midfield is a potential player of the tournament and can dictate a match on his own. France have made 2 of the last 4 finals and expect them to do well this time out.
  • Surprise Package: Colombia. Without Falcao Colombia still have plenty going forwards with Jackson Martinez and Carlos Bacca coming off the back of brilliant seasons with their clubs. They finished 2nd only to Argentina in qualifying and have been moulded into a solid unit by coach Pekerman. A potential second round clash against England awaits the Colombians and should be quite a spectacle.
  • How will England fare?: I believe that England will reach the quarter finals. Group D is undoubtedly the toughest in the tournament but England can win it. Roy Hodgeson has picked a clever blend of youth and experience which should take Italy and Uruguay by surprise. England should be able to draw with Italy and defeat a Uruguay side who are lacking at the back. After a relatively simple round of 16 tie England should come unstuck in the quarters against some of the real big boys (probably Brazil or Spain)
  • Knocked out in the semi finals: Argentina and Germany. The two finalists will simply have too much for these two. As good as Argentina and Germany are, when it matters the finalists will step up.
  • Second place: I’ve had to go for the hosts. The crowd and the conditions should see them strong enough to reach the final but I just don’t think the squad is quite good enough to lift the trophy. The team is too reliant on Neymar and lacks the amount of truly world class players needed to win the World Cup.
  • Champions: I cannot overlook Spain for this one. With the addition of Diego Costa to the squad, Spain have found what they were lacking in last year’s Confederations Cup defeat, a goal scorer. The quality right through the side is frightening with all 23 members of the squad playing in last season’s UEFA Champions League. People will say that only South American teams have won World Cups in South America and that the conditions do not suit Spain but the fact of the matter is that to win a football match, you have to get the ball first. If Spain work the ball as they can the conditions will not affect them and they will tire anyone out. Records are there to be broken and in my opinion Spain will become the first team to win 4 major international trophies back-to-back.

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I am currently at university studying Mechanical Engineering, but in my spare time I'm into all things football. I'm an avid Liverpool fan but always try to remain impartial. My other interests include gaming and Formula One.

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