Who Can Cause an Upset in Brazil?
With the World Cup draw taking place today, much of the talk has been on whether it will be the hosts Brazil who’ll win the trophy for a sixth time, or whether the European juggernauts of current holders Spain and talented Germany can topple the Samba boys on home soil. However I’d like to take a minute to think about some of the dark horses of the competition and why they could go far.
December 6th, 2013
As we look forward to the World Cup groups draw today, much has been said about Brazil, Spain, and Germany’s credentials as potential winners of the 2014 competition. Whilst much of the focus has been on these teams, there a few teams in there that could perform a Senegal-esque upset and reach the latter rounds of the competition. With England boss Roy Hodgson saying he’d stick a tenner on England to win it, we’ll take a look at some of your other options…
Most famous for Rene Higuita’s Scorpian Kick, Colombia have quietly assembled a team full of raw talent that has taken the South America qualification by storm, finishing second to Argentina. Sometimes slightly unhinged, on their day Colombia are capable of scoring a hat-full and beating any team.
Falcao is the stand out player, with the £50 million Monaco man aiming to establish himself as the most prolific out and out striker in the World, on the biggest stage possible. He’s certainly supported by a talented cast. Fellow Monaco team mate James Rodriguez has attracted the attention of many big clubs over the past few years, and finally got his big move to the French Riviera in the summer. The midfielder provides both creative spark and goals to support their number 9. Other notable mentions include Inter Milan’s Freddy Guarin, Udinese’s Luis Muriel and, AC Milan’s Christian Zapata.
Capable of beating anybody on their day, their inconsistency could cost them but they’ll handle the heat well and score for fun.
The Belgians are experiencing a golden age in football. Their emerging young talent is finally bearing fruit, as the likes of Christian Benteke, Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard continue to set the Premier League alight week after week.
Their star man is Eden Hazard, with the Chelsea player enjoying a superb season in the Premier League. He has it all: pace, skill, vision and the ability to stick it in the onion bag, and is sure to be a crucial asset to the Belgians if they are to reach the quarter-finals and beyond. Hazard will be supplying the powerful duo of Christian Benteke and Romelu Lukaku, who are also both enjoying good starts to the Premier League season. Their pace, power and ability to play with the ball at their feet makes them two of the most formidable strikers in European football. It’s scary to think that both are below the age of 24.
They are strong in defence as well, with Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany leading a back line that also includes Jan Vertonghen and Thomas Vermaelen. A strong midfield boasts Marouane Fellaini, Axel Witsel, Kevin de Bruyne and Moussa Dembele to name but a few, so there will be some serious competition for places.
The Belgians stand an excellent chance thanks to their undoubtedly talent team. My only concern is they’re a young team with a lack of depth in some areas of the pitch, but they’re my ones to watch.
There is usually at least one African team that performs well at the world cup. This year I can see the Ivory Coast progressing to the latter stages thanks to their blend of power, pace, and skill. Their star man is clearly Yaya Toure; The Manchester City man has been at the top of his game for the past few years and he now has to the chance to shine at a World Cup. With his powerful runs and eye for goal, he also possesses a fantastic passing game that makes him lethal anywhere inside the opposition’s half.
Their forward line is certainly one to be feared. Didier Drogba is likely to lead the line for the last time at a major tournament. At the age of 35 he won’t make it to another World Cup, but his experience and ability still makes him a massive threat. Playing off of him will be Seydou Doumbia, who ply’s his trade with Russian side CSKA Moscow. The pacey forward man has a mean shot on him which will see him in and amongst the goals. Swansea’s Wilfried Bony and 6’8” Lacina Traore will provide an aerial threat against any team.
With so much strength going forward they will likely score goals, however their defence could be shaky. They will likely fare better with the heat than European rivals. I expect an appearance in the quarter-finals.
So there you have it. We’ll have to see who is drawn against who, but I don’t think you’ll do much better than taking a punt on the teams above to reach at least the quarter finals. Let us know who you’re looking forward to seeing in Brazil!