2014 World Cup Predictions

Jun 11, 2014 by

2014 World Cup Predictions

There is no greater sporting spectacle than the World Cup and this year should be one to remember. Every sports fan should attend a World Cup or at least add it to their sports bucket list of events one must absolutely experience. If money weren’t an option this would be the premier World Cup I would want to attend in my lifetime. With the event being hosted in the soccer hotbed that is Brazil, there will be immense pressure on the host nation to win. Soccer in Brazil is not just a sport it is a religion. Not unlike the men’s Canadian hockey team in Vancouver in 2010, Brazil is expected to win – anything less will be deemed an absolute failure. They are a young a team led by two 22-year-old soccer prodigies, Neymar (Barcelona) and Oscar (Chelsea). This Brazilian squad has a seasoned coach in Scolari but it is not nearly as polished a club as previous championship calibre teams that have come out of Brazil, but they still have a collection of world-class talent and a favourable draw that gives them a chance to win or at the very least go deep into the tournament. History is partially on their side, as no country outside of South America has ever won the World Cup on their soil. I don’t think this year will be any different, but the local fans won’t be terribly happy with my thoughts on who will win.

Since my Stanley Cup playoff predictions have gone reasonably well I will attempt the more ambitious chore of predicting the outcome of the 2014 World Cup. Rather than approaching it as each round unfolds, like I did with the Stanley Cup playoffs, I will provide my full bracket in advance (located at the bottom of the page) and revisit it only after the first round has ended.   For now I have provided a brief summary behind my thoughts pertaining to group play.

Group Play

Group A

Brazil will easily get through the round robin stage; the only slot that is up for discussion is the second seed. Cameroon has little chance of advancing leaving the final playoff spot to Mexico or Croatia. Mexico struggled in their qualifying and isn’t as strong a team as previous generations, while Croatia struggled to get by Iceland to narrowly qualify for the World Cup. The second seed could be determined by goal differential and I think the offensive potential of Luka Modric and Mateo Kovacic will provide the scoring to ensure Croatia’s spot in the second round.


  1. Brazil
  2. Croatia
  3. Mexico
  4. Cameroon

Group B

This is one of the more compelling pools. On the surface this group looks like a no brainer featuring the previous World Cup finalists in the very same pool in Spain and Holland. One of these two teams is sure to get through the round robin, but I think the team to watch for in this group is Chile. They have an exciting aggressive offensive style that is appealing to watch and will test the veteran contenders in Group B. The dynamic duo of Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez will ensure Chile gets their share of scoring, the question is can they upset Holland or Spain? The opening game between Spain and Holland will likely provide the answer to who will win the pool and the loser of that game, if there is one, may very well find themselves out of the playoff round. It’s hard to bet against the defending champions, so I look to Holland to fall short in an upset to Chile for second place.


  1. Spain
  2. Chile
  3. Holland
  4. Australia

Group C

The loss of AS Monaco’s prolific scorer Radamel Falcao will hurt the long-term potential of Columbia in this year’s World Cup, but it will not interfere with their ability to win Group C. After having an excellent CONMEBOL qualifying Columbia is poised to have an excellent tournament, leaving one spot available for the second seed. It’s a crapshoot in trying to determine who will make it through the round robin out of Greece, Ivory Coast and Japan. Some are compelled by Ivory Coast’s offensive prowess led by Yaya Toure and Didier Drogba, while others like Greece’s boring but tough defensive style. In all honesty I can’t say much about Japan, but from everything I’ve read they appear to be good enough to challenge for second. Out of sheer national loyalty I select Greece, but only because I am compelled to do so not because they definitively separate themselves from their opponents.


  1. Columbia
  2. Greece
  3. Ivory Coast
  4. Japan

Group D

Italy always rises to the occasion when it comes to the World Cup and they should win Group D. They have a world-class striker in Mario Balotelli and great leadership in the midfield in Andrea Pirlo and one of the best goaltenders in Gianluigi Buffon. Italy is deservedly among the favourites to win the World Cup, but it will be interesting to see who the second team will be to qualify. Costa Rica might find a way to get a tie at best, but otherwise look to Uruguay or England to get the second seed in the group. Uruguay has “home field advantage”, and if they play like they did in 2010, England will be flying home early this year. England is the underdog to advance out of the first round and my initial instinct was to pick Uruguay. On a gut feel, and my only last-minute change, I’m going with England to sneak into second in the division by winning the tiebreaker. England isn’t capable of too much this year, but they are a young team on the rise capable of playing well enough to get into the second round.


  1. Italy
  2. England
  3. Uruguay
  4. Costa Rica

Group E

As long as France isn’t held back by internal bickering and senseless egotism this team has a legit shot to make some noise this year. When this team wants to play they are a formidable squad – the stunning comeback against Ukraine to secure a spot in the World Cup illustrated their potential offensive prowess. I expect them to win this pool and for Switzerland to easily earn second with little threat coming from Honduras or Ecuador.


  1. France
  2. Switzerland
  3. Ecuador
  4. Honduras

Group F

Argentina is by far the elite team of this group and is one of the prohibitive favourites to win the World Cup. They might get moderately tested from an up and coming Bosnia/Herzegovina, but otherwise this round robin will be a merely a group of sensationalized scrimmages in preparation for what should be a long run in this year’s World Cup. This is Messi’s year and I expect his legacy will be secured by an outstanding performance which will include winning the Golden Boot. Nigeria could challenge for second place but they continue to disappoint year after year and I expect they will find a way to fall short once again. As for Iran, there is a greater likelihood Zombies or White Walkers will rise from the earth tomorrow morning than Iran advancing to the second round.


  1. Argentina
  2. Bosnia/Herzegovina
  3. Nigeria
  4. Iran

Group G

I think this is toughest all round pool and most interesting to dissect. Germany is a legit contender and their depth in the midfield and offensive prowess will propel this team to a deep run. What will be interesting to witness is what Ronaldo has left and if he can drive Portugal to a championship. First he has to get out of the round robin and the USA and Ghana are both capable of usurping Portugal for that last position. I think Portugal finds a way to advance, but it should be compelling to see how they do it.


  1. Germany
  2. Portugal
  3. Ghana
  4. USA

Group H

Belgium is one of the dark horses this year and I expect them to turn some heads this year. This is an incredibly talented squad, full of star players playing prominent roles in the premiership like Eden Hazard (Chelsea), Romelu Lukaku (Everton) and Vincent Kompany (Manchester City) to name a few. They have a weak group and have the potential to get as far as the semi-finals this year. Potential is the key word and they will have to get through either Germany or Portugal in the next round, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves… Russia should be strong enough to fend off South Korea and Algeria for the second seeding, but it wouldn’t be shocking if they falter to a more passionate and motivated South Korean squad. Algeria has no shot in advancing (see Iran above).


  1. Belgium
  2. Russia
  3. South Korea
  4. Algeria


Rather than get into the details of my rational for the playoffs I have filled out a bracket which reveals how I think this tournament will play out in full. It’s pointless to really get into the details until the round robin plays out, as assuredly several key matchups require certain paths based on seeding. This could very easily get interrupted by a Holland victory over Spain or a strange tie between Ghana and Germany. Once we get to the playoffs and the pathways have been determined for all teams I’ll revisit my bracket and make my final comments on where I think the tournament is heading. For now you get to see my ambitious predictions by clicking on the link below (and no it’s not a Viagra ad). You will see that I do have a South American team winning the World Cup but it’s not Brazil…   If you are celebrating the victory of your team on the city streets please leave your vuvuzelas at home, otherwise enjoy what should be an outstanding month of soccer!





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