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World Cup 2014: Our Pick Who Will Lift The Trophy

world cup trophy1 600x450 World Cup 2014: Our Pick Who Will Lift The Trophy

Who’s going to win the 2014 FIFA World Cup then?

It’s a perilously difficult question to answer. Soccer—as the old cliché goes—isn’t won on paper. Most of the time, the team with the most desirable combination of players, manager and mentality come out on top. But those small margins, the differentials that ultimately separate those teams who sample glory and those who endure despair, often come down to blind luck.

Nonetheless, supporters from all over the world formulate their own picks, adding up all the facets—some tangible, recordable aspects of the game, other based on instinct alone—and by the conclusion of that thought process, they have their winner.

Here, we’re going to try and help you make your picks, isolating seven key areas in which teams must excel if they’re to win the most coveted trophy in the game.

We’ve rated every team out of five in all seven categories and whilst the tournament certainly isn’t won on paper. Hopefully this will provide a comprehensive look at the chances of each team involved.

These are the categories that we’ve chosen and why each is vital to a team’s chances of glory:

Starting XI – A team’s first XI will ultimately go a long way to determining whether or not they’re in store for a prosperous World Cup. Of course, the convoluted nature of the tournament means that managers will need to be astute in their squad rotation, but for the vast majority of teams, the core of their team will remain the same throughout the tournament.

Squad – When injuries and suspensions do hit, the depth of a nation’s squad will also be crucial. If a key player drops out before the tournament, do the team have enough in reserve to replace him? Will the manager feel confident rotating players? Or given their resources, will they have little choice but to run the best XI through the ringer in the South American sun?

Manager – A capable manager can make a huge difference to a nation. Has the manager sampled major tournaments before? How has he fared in World Cup’s gone by? Will his tactics be suitable in the unique Brazilian conditions? If not, has he showcased an ability to adjust?

Adaptability - For plenty of the teams that are involved in this tournament, the conditions are going to be a major factor. Playing in the Brazilian heat can be punishing, whilst the humidity at the host of venues will be suffocating. Is the team experienced in these kind of conditions? Or will they wilt under the physical demands these conditions will place upon teams.

Star Quality - We’ve seen it before, how one wonderful player can galvanize a team. Diego Maradona inspired Argentina to victory in 1986, Ronaldo’s goals fired Brazil to glory in 2002 and the majesty of Zinedine Zidane very nearly facilitated a French win in 2006. Does the team have a player of that ilk? One that can haul his team over the line with a moment of genius?

Draw Difficulty – Whilst you occasionally need a lucky bounce of a ball, a favorable draw can also make a big difference. If a dream gets drawn in a group of death their chances will naturally diminish, whilst a relatively simple passage through the group can be a catalyst for a deep run into the competition.

Winning Pedigree – Often on these big pressure occasions, it’s the teams that have a winning mentality engrained into their make-up that come out on top. So does the team have players that have sampled silverware on both the international and domestic stage? Do they know how to grind out wins when the odds are against them?

So we’re going to 17 teams on each of these factors, and see who looks likely to come out on top in South America. With all things considered, here is who we think will win this year’s World Cup.

 

=16. Mexico (27 out of 35)

Mexico 600x444 World Cup 2014: Our Pick Who Will Lift The Trophy

 

=16. Russia (27 out of 35)

Russia 600x400 World Cup 2014: Our Pick Who Will Lift The Trophy

 

=14. Switzerland (27.5 out of 35) 

Switzerland 600x337 World Cup 2014: Our Pick Who Will Lift The Trophy

 

=14. Netherlands (27.5 out of 35)

Holland World Cup 2014: Our Pick Who Will Lift The Trophy

 

13. Portugal (28 out of 35)  

Portugal 600x399 World Cup 2014: Our Pick Who Will Lift The Trophy

 

=11. Ivory Coast (28.5 out of 35)

Ivory Coast 600x393 World Cup 2014: Our Pick Who Will Lift The Trophy

  

=11. England (28.5 out of 35)

England 600x411 World Cup 2014: Our Pick Who Will Lift The Trophy  

 

10. Italy (29 out of 35)

Italy 600x416 World Cup 2014: Our Pick Who Will Lift The Trophy  

 

=8. Chile (29.5 out of 35)

Chile 600x450 World Cup 2014: Our Pick Who Will Lift The Trophy 

 

=8. France (29.5 out of 35)

France 600x337 World Cup 2014: Our Pick Who Will Lift The Trophy 

 

7. Belgium (30 out of 35)

Belgium 600x337 World Cup 2014: Our Pick Who Will Lift The Trophy  

 

6. Uruguay (30.5 out of 35) 

Uruguay 600x399 World Cup 2014: Our Pick Who Will Lift The Trophy

 

=4. Colombia (31 out of 35)

Colombia 600x449 World Cup 2014: Our Pick Who Will Lift The Trophy  

 

=4. Germany (31 out of 35)

Germany 600x449 World Cup 2014: Our Pick Who Will Lift The Trophy

If this tournament was being played in Europe, Germany would stand an excellent chance of winning the competition. Joachim Loew’s team play with an intensity and a ruthlessness that’s rarely found in an international team, but whether or not they can implement that style fully in the South American heat remains to be seen.

Pitted in a group with Portugal, Ghana and the United States, don’t expect the Germans to have things their own way. Nonetheless, this still have enough quality to make it out of the group and into the knockout stages.

Aside from the centre forward berth—where they look likely to rely on an aging Miroslav Klose—this team has class in every area. They have the intricacy of players like Mesut Ozil, the cutting edge of players like Marco Reus and the experience of players like Philipp Lahm.

Loew has a wonderful squad at his disposal, and one that should see the Germans go close to winning their first major title since EURO 1996. The core of the squad is made up of those players from Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, and as such, they know what it takes to win the biggest games. You can see how the bookmakers rate them on the 2014 World Cup betting site.

The squad is rife with winning a strong winning mentality and a desire to end Germany’s 18-year trophy drought.  Too much depends on how they will adapt to the conditions to label them as potential winners, though.

 

=2. Brazil (31.5 out of 35)

Brazil 600x374 World Cup 2014: Our Pick Who Will Lift The Trophy

Unsurprisingly, the host nation are the favorites to triumph with the bookmakers. They’ll be used to the conditions, they’ll be roared on by fanatical support and in Luiz Felipe Scolari, they have a manager who knows what it takes to win a World Cup.

Brazil’s squad has an abundance of quality, but take a look at their first XI—whilst it is indisputably strong—there are holes there. Most notably in the centre forward position, where they are lacking forward that marries qualities of dynamism, incisiveness and clinical finishing.

But the strengths in this squad are obvious and plentiful. The defense is a particular strength, and will consist of Thiago Silva and one of Dante or David Luiz. Dani Alves and Marcelo will provide industry and vibrancy from the full-back positions and in Neymar, Brazil have a direct, scything forward that can create a host of problems for the opposition.

The manner in which the Barcelona forward flourished at the Confederations Cup suggests he can handle the pressure, and if he puts in performances of similar stature this summer, Brazil have a great chance of securing the Hexa.

But concerns linger over other areas of this team, and without an elite poacher, it’s difficult to see them nicking a goal in a tight contest, a scenario that will surely present itself at some point in the tournament. They’ll go close, but ultimately fall just short.

 

=2. Argentina (31.5 out of 35)

Argentina 600x400 World Cup 2014: Our Pick Who Will Lift The Trophy

Argentina come into this tournament with a marvelous chance of securing their first world crown in 28 years. In Alejandro Sabella they have a manager that has afforded this team some much-needed stability, and he’s fashioned a system that gets the best out of a myriad of stellar attacking talents.

Lionel Messi will obviously be crucial to the Albiceleste’s hopes, but in Sergio Aguero and Gonzalo Higuain, Argentina have plenty of firepower at their disposal. Angel Di Maria has flourished in a midfield role for Real Madrid and he should do the same alongside the industrious, forceful Javier Mascherano.

Concerns will linger over the goalkeeper, but the defence is improving and in-form; players like Marcos Rojo, Martin Demichelis, Ezequiel Garay and Pablo Zabaleta all had excellent ends to the campaign.

They have players that have won titles across Europe and in Messi, a player who has the ability to conjure up instances of majesty with unnerving regularity.

The depth of the squad could prove to be an issue. Should they pick up an injury to a player like Mascherano, Zabaleta or Garay, natural replacements of a comparable calibre are in pretty short supply. But if they can keep the nexus of this squad fit, and Messi fires, they have enough to go all the way.

 

1. Spain (32 out of 35)

Spain 600x395 World Cup 2014: Our Pick Who Will Lift The Trophy

After Brazil ran riot against La Roja in last summer’s Confederations Cup final, Vincent Del Bosque’s Spanish side seem to have been written off by plenty. It’s perhaps worth remembering at this juncture that this team are the current world and European champions, and they’re going in search of their fourth major tournament in succession.

The announcement of the Spanish squad proved to be something of a reminder for those writing off their chances:

This team are going to have a first XI bristling with quality, an almost embarrassing amount of strength in reserve and in Del Bosque, one of the finest managers the game has ever seen.

They will most likely maintain a core of experienced players, but the likes of Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernandez and Diego Costa are all genuine match-winners on their day.

The squad certainly won’t become stale, either. In defense, Cesar Azpilicueta will give the team a studiousness and a dynamism that will be most welcome, whilst Costa will bring an aggressive, robust edge to their attacking play.

Plus, they’ll keep the ball. Exceptionally well. And if you’re a team chasing the ball around in the South American sun for 70-percent of the 90 minutes, it’s going to be extremely difficult to get the better of this Spain team.

The only thing hampering this side is whether—after three major tournament wins in a row—the hunger and the fight to go again. Nonetheless, Spain still have everything to win in Brazil and cement their legacy as the greatest international team of all time.

This entry was posted in World Cup, World Cup 2014. Bookmark the permalink.

About Matt Jones

Matt has been writing for World Soccer Talk for more than two years, contributing pieces about myriad topics and regularly lending his voice to the podcast. Matt has covered games live for the website from a host of venues, including Wembley, London and the ANZ Stadium, Sydney. He is a regular at Goodison Park where he watches his beloved Everton, but harbours an unyielding interest in all aspects of European soccer. You can get in touch with Matt via e-mail at mattjones@worldsoccertalk.com or on Twitter @MattJFootball
View all posts by Matt Jones →

13 Responses to World Cup 2014: Our Pick Who Will Lift The Trophy

  1. Brian says:

    1. Argentina
    2. Brazil
    3. Belgium
    4. Germany

    One of the above will win it with Argentina my number 1 choice and Germany 4th choice.

    World Cups are very difficult to predict because it is a one month tournament and injuries can be devastating because there isn’t time to recover.

  2. Flyvanescence says:

    I dont get the obsession with Argentina. Sure they have Messi and Aguero, Mascherano, Zabaleta and Di Maria but other than that their team is not up to snuff with Brazil, Spain and Germany. Not to mention Messi and Aguero are in terrible runs of form. The only way i can see them winning this is if Messi and Aguero drag them to it, and i dont see that happening on current form.

    And as far as Brazil not having a top center forward, i dont think that is a problem. They play a pretty simple 4-3-3 where the front 3 play as a unit and are constantly interchanging. Same with the midfield 3. And Fred scored some pure poacher goals in the confed cup last year. I wouldnt worry about that aspect. This team is stacked and in form, and should be one of the top contenders. Far better than Argentina.

    We will have to see about Germany. Your points are fair, but i wouldnt be shocked to see them in the final.

    Im still going with Spain. I love me some midfield quality and boy they have that in bucketloads. Add in dynamic fullbacks which allow guys like Iniesta and Silva to play in the front 3, and i see a team that can just play teams off the park. Look forward to seeing how they play. I wouldnt mind seeing Fabregas as a false 9 like at Euro 2012, especially since their stikers are not on form (except Costa who may still be injured).

    • jtm371 says:

      Fly
      you might want a do over if they pick IC as their keeper he was awful yesterday.

      Belgium or bust!

      • Flyvanescence says:

        I was shocked Diego Lopez isnt in the squad. Casillas will likely start. Reina is useless and i dont think De Gea will start. I tell you that is the first bad game ive ever seen from Casillas.

        • jtm371 says:

          Fly
          I agree he has been money but yesterday he did the same thing in second half that he did in the first. Came out way to far but got lucky not to gaff a second goal.

          • Flyvanescence says:

            Noticed that too. We were shocked as it was so unlike him, or at least how he was when he was at the top.

  3. KRISHNENDU KARMAKAR says:

    SPAIN,GERMANY,BRAZIL,ARGENTINA,THESE 4 TEAMS HAS BEST CHANCE TO LIFT THE TROPHY

  4. Paul Yarden says:

    Hard not to see Brazil winning their sixth World Cup.
    They have home advantage, a relatively settled squad who are mainly based with Europe’s top clubs and did well at last year’s Confederation Cup.
    http://www.myfootballfacts.com/FIFA_World_Cup_2014_Finals.html

    • Anna says:

      Brazil won last three Confederations Cup and failed to win last two World Cup. Brazil also lost last World Cup they hosted in 1950. Winning Confederation Cup and being host is no guarantee for World Cup success for Brazil this summer.

  5. Anna says:

    Colombia will win this World Cup. Their Argentine coach have experience of coaching Argentina in 2006 World Cup which Argentina would have won if he had brought young Messi as sub against the big Germans but he went for experience and the rest as they say is history. Put your money on Colombia to win this World Cup!

  6. lefthog says:

    Brazil, Argentina, Spain and Germany are the best teams coming into the World Cup.

    Brazil have excellent depth at centre back and their attacking midfield looks promising. But their strikers and the central midfield in particular is not awe inspiring. Dani Alves and Marcelo will have to carry lots responsiblities to link attack and defense. Brazil have home advantage but also face an extremely difficult draw – both in terms of geography and opposition. Their group is sneaky difficult and the knockouts project to be off the charts: Spain, Chile or the Netherlands, than probably Columbia, England, Italy or Uruguay at the quarterfinal stage, and most likely Germany in the semis.

    Argentina is in my estimation the weakest of the four. However their defense is not as bad as it is sometimes made out to be. Ezquiel Garay at centre back and Pablo Zabaleta on the right are very good players. Questions remain though about Garay’s partner and the left back position. Either way the back four will enjoy great protection by Javier Mascherano. Angel DiMaría looks to reprise his Real Madrid role as a shuttling midfielder who protects the left back. Huge responsibilties rest on Fernando Gago’s shoulders to make this Argentina team work, but he is recovering from injury at the moment. If he is not fit, look for Argentina to struggle, particular against quality sides. It is no secret that Argentina enjoy tremendous quality at the forward position and watching the interplay of Messi and Agüero will be one of the joys of this World Cup.
    The Albicelestes have the easiest, kindest draw one could imagine. Until the quarters where Belgium or Portugal are the toughest projected oppostion their route is basically a cakewalk. And all their matches are to be played in the South of Brazil with mild to cool temperatures forecast.

    Spain still have the most depth of any nation at nearly all positions. Biggest question for them is whether the legends from their successes since 2008 can get it done one more time. Or if Vicente del Bosque has to courage to sit a Xavi, Xabi Alonso, Andres Iniesta or even Iker Casillas if their form does not merit selection. That is because some of these players did not enjoy the best of club seasons, be it due to injury or simply poor form.
    If they can find a good first XI they will be unbelievably tough to score on, let alone beat. Their draw gave them a very difficult group. And having two tough and one not so tough opponent (due respect to Australia) might be more uncomfortable than three tough opponents, as the three might take points off each other, while Chile, the Netherlands and Spain might pound on Australia leaving no margin for error in the remaining head-to-head matches. And naturally Spain will want to avoid Brazil at the start of the knockout stage.

    If the World Cup would be staged in a neutral, climatically mild venue such as New York during spring time Germany would be my clear cut favourite.
    However their three group matches are scheduled to be played in the afternoon in the hot and humid Brazilian North East. They favoured to win their tough Group G but it remains to be seen how they recover from these three tough matches. Jogi Löw is not known to rotate his first XI, so his players might be exhausted come the knockout stage.
    Despite some injury worries and absentees, Germany still boasts a formidable squad, which is extremely well equipped with attacking midfield talent. So even though they are very thin at centre forward, scoring goals will not be a big worry. Germany have been leaking goals recently mostly due to lackadaisical defending by the whole XI. If they can avoid that, they will be a tough out – exhausted or not.

  7. MARU GOODLUCK says:

    MY HART GOES WITH ARGENTINA MY MY HEAD TELLS ME ARGENTINA BECAUSE THEY HAVE THE BEST SET OF YOUNG ATTAKERS IN THE WHOLE WORLD AND STRONG, EXPIRENCE DEFENDERS.I WISH THEM SUCCESS IN BRAZIL EXPECIALY MY BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD LIONEL MESSI

  8. Slyim says:

    As silly as this might sound just like in euro 2004 Greece will win this world cup

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