It will be four years this July since Germany’s Mario Gotze put the world in a state of pandemonium as he puts in the winning goal against Argentina in the 113th minute of the 2014 World Cup Final. Many memories came out of the World cup in Brazil such as Robin Van Persie’s diving header against Spain and James Rodriguez volley. Both goals would get nominated for the Puskas award which is the best goal of the year. Eventually the Rodriguez goal would take home the award, but both stick to memory. People thought that it was going to be Brazils year and since they were playing at home that it would’ve been that much more special until they ran into Germany in the semi-finals. They ended up getting embarrassed 7-1 and sent numerous fans into tears as their World Cup dreams were crushed. The tournament had a siting from the vampire Luis Suarez himself. Against Italy Suarez and Italian centre back Giorgio Chiellini have a coming together when the Uruguayan forward bites the shoulder of the defender. You can definitely say the 2014 World Cup was one to remember filled with memories.
Here we are, one month away from the largest sports competition in the universe. Literally the world will be watching to see who will raise the 18K gold trophy and claim glory for the next 4 years. This summer the tournament will be held in Russia where many of the natives will be trying to snipe one top cheese in the rink because, well Russia is not known for is football (that’s what ill be calling soccer), but for its hockey. While I sat and scratched my ass as to why Russia is holding the World Cup I tried to be optimistic and just get amped up to watch football all day for a month straight. Seeing all of the worlds greatest footballers come together and play in one large tournament is a sight to behold while they battle for the honor of their countries. Speaking of playing for honor the USMNT will not be at the WC this year since they failed to qualify. This past October they had to beat Trinidad and Tobago who is ranked 94 in the world standings as the US is 24, but since #ThingsTimHowardCouldSave against Belgium in the knockout round in 2014 the USMNT is just been terrible. How the hell do you make it out of the group of death with Germany, Portugal, and Ghana to just be an absolute laughing stock years down the road. Me personally I am glad we lost because there has been some serious changes needed and the president of U.S football has been changed and so has the manager (coach). All right enough of my small rant lets get back to the tournament.
Group A: Russia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Uruguay.
-Who will win the group: Uruguay. As much as of a pain as he is Luis Suarez is arguably the best striker in the world and can create his own goals with skill. Pairing him alongside another incredible striker in Edinson Cavani I think keeping those two off the score sheet will be an absolute chore for the backlines of these other countries.
-Who will advance: Egypt. One name is the reason why I think they will advance and that is Mohamed Salah who is hotter than a grease fire right now and I cannot imagine he cools off anytime soon. It will be a grind and his teammates will have to step up if they think about going anywhere, but home.
Group B: Portugal, Spain, Morocco, Iran.
-Who will win the group: Spain. Winning the world cup in 2010 and having up and coming players performing at their top level I think they will go very far since they have a stacked midfield and the worlds best goalkeeper in David De Gea paired with Sergio Ramos in defense it will be a tough job to score.
-Who will advance: Portugal. The Portuguese know how to wear teams down and outside of Brazil are one of the most skilled teams. Oh yeah I almost forgot they have CRISTIANO FUCKING RONALDO THE WORLDS BEST PLAYER. Go ahead @ me I stand behind my statement fully. All the guy does is win, but I’ll make my case another time.
Group C: France, Australia, Peru, Denmark.
-Who will win the group: France. The talent and depth that encompasses this French squad is absolutely mind boggling. Truly from top to bottom they have some of the best players at every single position and sure say someone gets hurt they have another player who can do that same job. They’re one of my heavy favorites to win it all.
-Who will advance: Denmark. A good midfield with a great player such as Christian Eriksen will see Denmark through to the knockout round. Other role players will help them through such as goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel and young defender Andreas Christensen. I don’t see Australia or Peru moving on.
Group D: Argentina, Croatia, Iceland, Nigeria.
-Who will win the group: Argentina. This Argentina squad is very top heavy with players like Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Angel Di Maria, Paulo Dybala, and Mauro Icardi just to name a few. In a group like this I know it will be tough to stop this attack, but their fault is in defense. I don’t think the defense is weak enough to stop them from going through.
-Who will advance: Croatia. One of the toughest calls so far on my list because if we learned anything from the Euro’s two years ago the viking clap took Iceland on their old ship to the quarter finals. Barring the viking spirits, Croatia just has more talent.
Group E: Brazil, Switzerland, Costa Rica, Serbia.
-Who will win the group: Brazil. For the most part this should be a pretty easy group for Brazil with the exception of the swiss cheese factor who could give them a hassle. Neymar will soon be the best player in the world and with pieces for every position I think they bounce back after an abysmal ending last WC.
-Who will advance: Switzerland. Two decent goalkeepers and a few solid players will see the swiss advance into the knockout stage. The x-factor for this team is Xherdan Shaqiri who at times can look incredible as a winger. They lost to Argentina in the group of 16 last time so I can see them making it that far again.
Group F: Germany, Sweden, Mexico, South Korea.
-Who will win the group: Germany. They are the defending champs that have added young talent. Should they stay healthy they’ll walk away in this group.
-Who will advance: Mexico. They are one of the most resilient teams in the tournament and after getting knocked out last WC on what most were saying was a bad pen given by the ref I see them going for blood and if goalkeeper Guillermo Ochoa plays unconscious they move onto the next round.
Group G: Belgium, Panama, Tunisia, England.
-Who will win the group: Belgium. Another team that you could compare to the French, but not quite on they’re level. Young talent is in abundance with talent levels through the roof and a few vets to take this team very very deep. Eden Hazard is already a top world player and his talent has so much room to grow coming off of the wing. Kevin De Bruyne in the midfield can pass, cross, and release just absolute crackers from outside of the box. One team the is fun to watch.
-Who will advance: England. With a not confident Euros performance in 2016 I don’t see them going too far into the knockout stage. The other two countries just don’t have the fire to get past these two teams. The only hope is that they get Harry Kane all of the ibuprofen they can find because he will be carrying the team on his back. A few young talents sprinkled in will get them into the group of 16.
Group H: Poland, Senegal, Columbia, Japan.
-Who will win they group: Columbia. After making it to the quarter finals last WC, they have a good balance between age of players. Young players, experienced players, and vets that will get them going. The wingers have smoke coming out of their boots with them burning the outside defenders. James Rodriguez with tidy play in the midfield and Radamel Falcao still knows how to score goals so I would keep an eye on him.
-Who will advance: Poland. A tough choice as either this or my other team that I would’ve selected will have to rely heavily on one player. I had to choose striker Robert Lewandowski and Poland because he can make his own goals.
This World Cup will be one to watch with players having evolved since the previous tournament and also one to remember as the US, Italy, and the back to back Copa America champs Chile. Not to forget the Netherlands will also be a big miss this year in Russia. I love telling people who are not into soccer to watch because the hype is unreal and the passion is there. So I encourage you to pick a country whether it’s on a whim or you have some connection to it and follow them I promise it’ll be exciting. The tournament kicks off Thursday June 14 10AM central time.