World Cup 2014 Group Stage is complete and the final 16 have been set in Brazil. Here’s the top 10 from what I have seen, and I’ve probably watched more than you.
1. The stars are shining.
Lionel Messi, Thomas Müller, Neymar, Arjen Robben, the best players in the world are shining for their respective teams. Will it be Brazil v. Argentina in the most epic title game in World Cup history?
2. Lots of goals.
136 through 48 matches. The record of 171 could be in jeopardy and at a current average of 2.83 goals per game, the total would be roughly 181 goals. The 2.83 average is the highest since 1970, when 16 teams competed for the World Cup in Mexico, where Brazil won their 3rd title.
3. The reigning champions are out.
My Group B Predictions were not a total miss, I correctly predicted Chile and if I had merely reversed my logic regarding Spain and Holland, it would have been quite prophetic. Poor Australia. My predictions had La Roja in the final 4. I did not read a lot of predictions about Spain winning the World Cup, however, I read few articles regarding this early of an exit for the two time defending Euro champion and defending World Cup Champion.
4. CONCACAF is no push over, just ask Italy.
3 of the 4 North American teams, seriously, we need to change our abbreviation, The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, is too complicated, made the Final 16. Costa Rica, who shocked Group D, The United States, who navigated their way through Group G, and Mexico. The Group G and Group A Predictions were solid.
5. Brazil not living up to the hype.
Or maybe Mexico is that good. The penalty kick in the opening game was certainly an egregious error that gave Brazil the lead 2-1, and there were certainly other questionable calls during the Brazil/Croatia game, the goal disallowed for questionable goaltender interference, and Croatia certainly had their chances for an equalizer, in the 86′ and 89′, but Oscar’s goal in the 90′ + 1, sealed any real talk of the terrible call for Neymar’s penalty kick in the 71′. Think FIFA favors host countries?
6. Shame on you Luis Suàrez.
Clearly Uruguay is a better team with you playing. A four month ban for your third offense of biting someone is a light sentence. A Brazil v. Uruguay quarterfinal match would be spectacular, a chance for the home team to avenge their 1950 loss to their border rival. Colombia might be too good, and you’re should be ashamed of yourself and have more pride for Uruguay and your club team, Liverpool, as you’ll miss Champions League Group Stage.
7. Who’s the favorite?
Brazil? Will it be THAT shocking if Chile beats them in the Round of 16 based on what we have seen in 3 games? Or Colombia in the quarterfinals? Or Germany in the Final 4? This may prove to difficult a path to the coveted title on home soil. My friend is currently in Vegas, I had her put $10 on France to win. Will World War III happen if Brazil loses to Argentina in the finals?
8. What do FIFA World Rankings really mean?
#1 Spain out and 4 of the top 10 ranked teams in the world are out. (#4 Portugal, #9 Italy, and #10 England) while 28th ranked Costa Rica and 44th ranked Nigeria are through. 13 of the top 20 are represented in the Knockout Stage of World Cup 2014 so there’s something there. Missing are the four mentioned above, plus Ukraine (who missed out on the World Cup in a 3-2 aggregate in UEFA qualifying in relatively heartbreaking fashion to France), Russia and Croatia.
9. Can UEFA break the curse?
Six of the thirteen UEFA teams are through to the Knockout Stage. Can a European team finally win the World Cup in South America? With Belgium, Holland, Switzerland, and Greece in the clearly inferior side of the draw, are we likely to see one of these teams in the finals? Or is it quite simply a clear path for Argentina to the finals?
10. Who wins?
Germany fulfills their destiny and cheers proudly as a unified nation. The German winning the United States Open Golf Championship is merely a precursor to the celebration in all of Germany on July 13?