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A Winter's Tale

2014 FIFA World Cup

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With draw for the group stage to take place this Friday the qualified teams have been organised into 4 pots:

 

Pot 1 includes the seeded teams with best 7 teams (according to October 2013 rankings) and the host team Brazil:

 

Brazil

Argentina

Colombia

Uruguay

Belgium

Germany

Spain

Switzerland

 

Despite not being placed in the top 5 of the latest world rankings, I think Brazil will be the team to avoid. They looked pretty strong at the Confederations Cup this year and the home advantage will be huge. Argentina - a team I've not seen much of recently - should also be a team England would want to avoid with their attacking qualities and the South American sides should be used to the climate, atmosphere. As we saw in the last World Cup, Uruguay are a decent side but not one to really worry about and the same for Colombia. Belgium are an excellent side but haven't been at a world cup since 2002 - they have potential to do well but being a European side in a South American World Cup I think they could struggle to reach expectations. Spain and Germany are certainly the two European teams to avoid. Switzerland by a long way is a team all the other countries would hope to meet in the group stage out of pot 1.

 

Pot 2 has 7 sides Africa and the remaining South American teams and one European team from pot 4 will be added on Friday to complete the group:

 

Algeria

Cameroon

Ivory Coast

Ghana

Nigeria

Chile

Ecuador

1 team from (Bosnia & Herz, Croatia, England, France, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Russia)

 

Ivory Coast and Chile are two teams to avoid. Algeria would be a decent team to be drawn against. Out of the European sides, all of them are challenging but Greece and Bosnia are two of the 'easier' teams and Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, England and France are the most difficult sides.

 

Pot 3 has 8 teams from Asia and North America:

 

Australia

Japan

Iran

South Korea

Costa Rica

Honduras

Mexico

USA

 

No team in there to be really worried about. USA and Mexico are two good teams whilst Honduras, Costa Rica and Iran make for unknown but relatively less challenging opposition.

 

And in Pot 4 there are 9 unseeded European teams (one will be allocated into pot 2)

 

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Croatia

England

France

Greece

Italy

Netherlands

Portugal

Russia

 

The hardest group could be Brazil, Italy, USA, Netherlands and the easiest could be Switzerland, Algeria, Iran, Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

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I don't think heat will be a major problem except in Manaus. Apart from the fact England won't have to worry for long.

 

The capital of the Amazon region, is by far the most isolated, in the northwest of the country. The city’s average temperature in June is 87.8F as opposed to 77.4F in Rio de Janeiro, which will be England’s base for the finals, and 66.9F in Porto Alegre. Humidity levels in Manaus in June are expected to be 83 per cent, as opposed to Rio’s 74 per cent.

 

Eight of the 32 finalists will play a single match in Manaus and the possibility of England being among them is a worry for Hodgson as he prepares to fly to Brazil today. Three of the four matches in Manaus will kick off during the afternoon. Although Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, said last week that the executive committee will discuss the possibility of moving back kick-off times in the hotter venues, which also include Fortaleza and Natal, it is doubtful whether this will be possible.

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I don't think heat will be a major problem except in Manaus. Apart from the fact England won't have to worry for long.

 

The capital of the Amazon region, is by far the most isolated, in the northwest of the country. The city’s average temperature in June is 87.8F as opposed to 77.4F in Rio de Janeiro, which will be England’s base for the finals, and 66.9F in Porto Alegre. Humidity levels in Manaus in June are expected to be 83 per cent, as opposed to Rio’s 74 per cent.

 

Eight of the 32 finalists will play a single match in Manaus and the possibility of England being among them is a worry for Hodgson as he prepares to fly to Brazil today. Three of the four matches in Manaus will kick off during the afternoon. Although Sepp Blatter, the Fifa president, said last week that the executive committee will discuss the possibility of moving back kick-off times in the hotter venues, which also include Fortaleza and Natal, it is doubtful whether this will be possible.

 

 

Weather at the different world cup venues.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/feeds/25177088

Edited by J10

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Germany, Ivory Coast and the USA would suit me fine...England would have to come out and play from Day 1 or go home

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Wouldn't bother unpacking the suitcase lads!

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Right.......

who have Liverpool got in their last couple of matches? - name a player to smash into Suarez

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Right.......who have Liverpool got in their last couple of matches? - name a player to smash into Suarez

That would be Palace & Newcastle. lol.Don't forget Diego Forlan either.

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Italy AND Uruguay did we get moved into 'pot 2'..which was the nightmare scenario ?. Posted Image

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Right.......who have Liverpool got in their last couple of matches? - name a player to smash into Suarez

 

Does anyone really need any more incentive to smash into him? :D

 

In all seriousness, I'm looking forward to that 2am game, should be a good Saturday night! Very tough group though.

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Does anyone really need any more incentive to smash into him? :D In all seriousness, I'm looking forward to that 2am game, should be a good Saturday night! Very tough group though.

Jeez!Early hours Sunday morning - i'll do well to stay sober til 2.00am!Takes me back to Mexico 86 when we played Poland in final group game and had to win....11.00pm kick off i think. Talk about half cut by kick off time. Me and my mates were in a pub.....at half time we thought it was 4-0 to England. Steve Hodge had a 4th goal disallowed, but everyone in the bar was so drunk we didnt realise it had been disallowed! Lol.....great times!

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Italy AND Uruguay did we get moved into 'pot 2'..which was the nightmare scenario ?. Posted Image

No Italy did, which meant they were the additional European side who were not seeded.

Does anyone really need any more incentive to smash into him? Posted Image

In all seriousness, I'm looking forward to that 2am game, should be a good Saturday night! Very tough group though.

I dare say kick offs times will be moved, just think of the European audience at 9pm on a Saturday night (game is currently scheduled for 9pm local time, 2am UK time) on Saturday 14 June.

http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/final-draw/live-blog.html?intcmp=promo_fwc_finaldraw_relivedraw_en

Edited by J10

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Jeez!

Early hours Sunday morning - i'll do well to stay sober til 2.00am!

Takes me back to Mexico 86 when we played Poland in final group game and had to win....11.00pm kick off i think. Talk about half cut by kick off time.

Me and my mates were in a pub.....at half time we thought it was 4-0 to England. Steve Hodge had a 4th goal disallowed, but everyone in the bar was so drunk we didnt realise it had been disallowed!

Lol.....great times!

ha great world cup,remember piling out of the pub when Argentina beat us and trying to ring there embassy accusing them of cheating......Posted Image

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No Italy did, which meant they were the additional European side who were not seeded.I dare say kick offs times will be moved, just think of the European audience at 9pm on a Saturday night (game is currently scheduled for 9pm local time, 2am UK time) on Saturday 14 June.http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/final-draw/live-blog.html?intcmp=promo_fwc_finaldraw_relivedraw_en

 

True. It's common knowledge that FIFA put their bank balance before player wel- being so it's certainly possible!

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True. It's common knowledge that FIFA put their bank balance before player wel- being so it's certainly possible!

 

Other group games in manaus are being played 3 or 4pm local time in the afternoon, so no issues there. 

 

The reason for the late kick off is that there are 4 group games that day.

 

5pm Colombia v Greece [1pm local]

8pm Uruguay v Coasta Rica [4pm local]

2am Italy v England [9pm local* - different time zone]

11pm Ivory Coast v Japan [7pm local]

 

It is the only 2am kick off in the Group Stages.

Edited by J10

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9pm kick off time suits me..as it will be 7pm here..just be home from work with a nice cold one to watch the game

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yeah this works perfectly for us North Americans...finally

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'bout time England got a tough draw..

 

(And no need to bring up Scotland not there etc, blah, blah)

 

I'm merely pointing out England generally have had "easier" qualifying groups than most others.

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'bout time England got a tough draw..

 

(And no need to bring up Scotland not there etc, blah, blah)

 

I'm merely pointing out England generally have had "easier" qualifying groups than most others.

 

Ukraine, France and Sweden in the Euros was far from easy.

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Brazil should be fairly happy with their draw. You never know what to expect from Mexico, Croatia or Cameroon. Croatia and Mexico should be competing for 2nd place. After seeing Croatia lose to Scotland twice in the qualifiers, I don't think they'll have enough to go past the other two sides and reach the last 16. In my opinion, Cameroon fail to impress and I think they'll be the bottom side.
 
GROUP A:
 
1. Brazil - 9pts, +9
2. Mexico - 4pts, -1
3. Croatia - 4pts, -2
4. Cameroon - 0pts, -6
 
Brazil 3-0 Croatia
Mexico 2-1 Cameroon
Brazil 2-0 Mexico
Cameroon 0-1 Croatia
Cameroon 0-4 Brazil
Croatia 1-1 Mexico
 
Spain should finish top and their easiest game would be against Australia. But the re-match of the 2010 World Cup Final and a game against South American opponents Chile will make for two crucial and very tough games. Spain should have enough to score more goals than their opponents and to have the majority of possession but they need to turn up if they want to avoid Brazil in the last 16. Netherlands probably should reach the last 16 but I think they could defensively be exposed and I'm not convinced they'll emulate their form during the qualification campaign. Chile really are a difficult side to play against. They have a continental advantage over the other sides and they do play well as a team and I can see Chile giving Spain and the Netherlands are run for their money. Australia are an average international side - their team is okay with some decent players. They'll need solid team performances and to get the best out of their key players if tey are to stand a chance of competing.
 
GROUP B:
 
1. Spain 7pts, +3
2. Chile 5pts, +2
3. Netherlands 4pts, -1
4. Australia 0pts, -5
 
Spain 2-1 Netherlands
Chile 2-0 Australia
Spain 1-1 Chile
Australia 1-2 Netherlands
Australia 0-2 Spain
Netherlands 1-1 Chile
 
I've barely seen Colombia play but given the advantage of playing in South America, a solid team with some star players, I think they'll be a hard team to beat and I can see them finishing top. However the Ivory Coast and Japan are two of the best sides outside of Europe and the Americas and they'll certainly be competing for a place in the last 16. Fail to beat Greece or defeat Colombia could be the difference between finishing top of bottom between the two sides. I think Ivory Coast have a stronger side and will be harder to beat. Greece are difficult side to beat and they don't concede many goals - but they don't score many either. They can't be ruled out and they could have a major influence on the outcome of the group but I don't see them doing particulary well.
 
GROUP C:
 
Colombia 7pts, +2
Ivory Coast 6pts, +1
Japan 4pts, +1
Greece 0pts,-4
 
Colombia 2-1 Greece
Ivory Coast 1-0 Japan
Colombia 1-0 Ivory Coast
Japan 2-0 Greece
Japan 1-1 Colombia
Greece 1-2 Ivory Coast
 
This is a good/bad draw for England. All sides presumably will beat Costa Rica so it comes down to the games between Uruguay, Italy, England. All three sides are good, but not great, international sides. Uruguay again has a geographic advantage aswell as having probably the best player in the group with Luis Suarez - if his fantastic form continues into the World Cup then Uruguay stand a good chance of qualifying. This Italy team isn't the same as the great sides of the past but as we saw in Euro 2012 you can never rule out the Italians. They are organised, capable of scoring in any minute of a match and they have got some key players who could harm other teams. I think Italy's fate depends on England and Uruguay games - one win and they and well on their way. But I see two very close games: Italy struggled with the humidity in the Confederations Cup and the opening game with England could be very tight. I fancy England to scrape through - but one defeat and depending on the Uruguay v Italy game, then it could all be different. I don't expect Costa Rica to do very much, but any point (or goal) they gain will have major implications on the group,
 
 
GROUP D:
 
1. England 5pts, +3
2. Uruguay 5pts, +2
3. Italy 5pts, +1
4. Costa Rica 0pts, -6
 
Uruguay 2-0 Costa Rica
England 1-1 Italy
Uruguay 1-1 England
Italy 1-0 Costa Rica
Italy 1-1 Uruguay
Costa Rica 0-3 England
 
On paper, a very good draw to France. If they turn up, their solid and improving side should get the better of Ecuador and Honduras and they should have enough to get past Switzerland. Given how France were on verge of being knocked-out in the play-offs, I could imagine the French can't believe their luck but no team can take their group for granted. I've not seen much of Switzerland - like Croatia and Russia they are a solid, well-organised European side but without any real star player. They are somehow ranked amongst the top 8 teams in the World but their qualification record was excellent and after seeing some of their club sides - such as Basel - play good, coherent football then I can see Switzerland being a difficult team to break down aswell as having a decent attacking threat. A question mark I have over them is how will they cope with South American climate/stadiums. Ecuador's qualification was down to a great home record at high altitude. Away from home and their record in South America is extremely poor. They do have some good players but I don't see them doing enough to qualify. Honduras is another side I've not seen enough. They are probably an okay international side but I don't see them doing very much.
 
GROUP E:
 
1. France 9pts, +6
2. Switzerland 6pts, +1
3. Ecuador 1pt, -3
4. Honduras 1pt, -4
 
Switzerland 2-1 Ecuador
France 3-0 Honduras
Switzerland 0-1 France
Honduras 1-1 Ecuador
Honduras 0-1 Switzerland
Ecuador 0-2 France
 
I the past year or so I haven't seen much of Argentina but any team who is playing on their continent, boasting some good players and two exceptionally world-class strikers should do well. I don't know much about Bosnia, Nigeria and Iran. Bosnia have a very good goal-scoring record and this could help them to proceed. Nigeria can be hot or cold and I expect Iran not to cause too many problems.
 
GROUP F:
 
1. Argentina 9pts, +7
2. Bosnia. 4pts, 0
3. Nigeria 4pts, -1
4. Iran 0pts, -8
 
Argentina 3-0 Bosnia.
Iran 1-2 Nigeria
Argentina 4-0 Iran
Nigeria 1-1 Bosnia.
Nigeria 0-2 Argentina
Bosnia. 3-0 Iran
 
This is one of the most interesting groups. Germany have got great strength and depth, are solid and they have the team and players to go very far. But this group could have a major bearing on their progress with three very solid international sides in Portugal, USA, Ghana. Portugal should have enough to progress - Cristiano Ronaldo is currently the best player in the world and their team as a whole is hard to beat and they pose an attacking threat. USA are good international team and their German manger has high ambitions for their World Cup chances. They've won a lot of games this year and not conceded many goals. In a friendly in May they defeated (an under strength) German side 4-3. The USA drew 0-0 with Scotland recently in a close game but last year the American forwards impressed in  5-1 thrashing. Ghana did pretty well in the last World Cup and they are one of the top African sides. They stand a decent chance of having close games with the other teams but ultimately they won't have enough to progress.
 
GROUP G:
 
1. Germany 7pts, +3
2. Portugal 6pts, +2
3. USA 4pts, 0
4. Ghana 0pts, -5
 
Germany 2-1 Portugal
Ghana 1-2 USA
Germany 2-0 Ghana
USA 1-2 Portugal
USA 1-1 Germany
Portugal 2-0 Ghana
 
Belgium are an emerging force in World football and this is a more than ideal group for this highly-rated, young team to progress in their first World Cup since 2002. They don't concede many goals but perhaps their goal-scoring record could be better. A lot is expected of them but they'll need to pass the tests against South Korea and Algeria. The latter should be the easiest game for all the teams in group H whilst South Korea could take some points of Belgium and Russia. If Belgium are on good attacking form, they will win the group. If Russia play well then they should get the results against South Korea and Algeria to progress and they could finish top if they get the better of Belgium.
 
GROUP H:
 
1. Belgium 9pts, +4
2. Russia 6pts, +1
3. South Korea 3pts, 0
4. Algeria 0pts, =5
 
Belgium 2-0 Algeria
Russia 2-1 South Korea
Belgium 2-1 Russia
South Korea 2-0 Algeria
South Korea 0-1 Belgium
Algeria 0-1 Russia
 
There are some potentially interesting games on offer in the last 16: [brazil vs Spain or Netherlands; Germany or Portugal vs Belgium]
 
LAST 16:
 
Brazil 3-1 Chile
Colombia 2-1 Uruguay
France 2-0 Bosnia.
Germany 3-1 Russia
Spain 2-0 Mexico
England 1-0 Ivory Coast
Argentina 2-0 Switzerland
Belgium 2-1 Portugal
 
Last 8: 
 
Brazil 2-0 Colombia
France 0-2 Germany
Spain 1-0 England
Argentina 2-1 Belgium
 
Last 4:
 
Brazil 1-2 Germany
Argentina 2-1 Spain
 
3rd Place
 
Brazil 2-0 Spain
 
Final:
 
Argentina 2-1 Germany
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'bout time England got a tough draw..

 

(And no need to bring up Scotland not there etc, blah, blah)

 

I'm merely pointing out England generally have had "easier" qualifying groups than most others.

 

It must be lovely basing your tournament watching on just wanting England to lose. You're almost certain to always end up happy...

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I enjoy it thoroughly when your media "expects" and it all falls flat..

 

I wish England all the best because I think they will need it. End of.

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England got a much harder draw IMO in 2002 (Argentina, Sweden, Nigeria) and got through- to me the bigger issue is why are they playing first in Manaus, then Sao Paulo 4 days later? That's like 2000 miles away!!!!! Poor old Honduras even have one game in Manaus, one in Curitiba and one in Porto Alegre- look at a map did you fifa!!!!!

Edited by Summer of 95

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