What’s up Post Up viewers, and welcome back to another article written by, of course, the Post Up! Very exciting things are happening in this article, because for the first time we are posting our very first soccer article! Now, I don’t know about you, but I am overly excited about the World Cup that will be starting on June 12th, and therefore we will be looking at predictions for each group over the next few weeks on who advances out into the knock-out stages and who could be seen as a dark horse candidate.
Group A Overview:
For those of you that do not know your country flags very well, Group A is composed of Brazil, Mexico, Croatia and Cameroon. A little background on all the teams is that Brazil is the highest ranked team in the group at 4th in the world. Compared to the rest of their group, which are ranked at 19th, 20th and 50th respectively, Brazil is in a very easy group considering all things. But, does that mean they will advance into the knock-out stages? Let’s find out.
Group A Winner: Brazil
No surprises here that Brazil will move on into the knock-out stages in this years World Cup. Being the host country, they are nearly given a cake-walk into the next round because of home-field advantage. However, regardless of whether they are the home team or not, the fact of the matter is that they should get through this group easily. Brazil has not lost a game since August of 2013. Not only that, but they have a beautiful mix of youth and veteran leadership in their squad that will help them reach the next round. Not only is their mixture of youth and veteran’s good, but they all have experience. Whether it be in the previous World Cup’s, or two years ago when a lot of these young players reached the Gold Medal Match in the Olympics, this team is sprinkled with experience. Then to add in names like Julio Cesar, Marcelo, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Dante, Paulinho, Oscar, Neymar, etc. it is hard to image this Brazilian team encountering any trouble in the group stages. It is because of all of this that Brazil will win Group A.
Group A Runner-Up: Croatia
Much like Brazil, but to a lesser extend, Croatia has a very good mixture of youth and veteran leadership in the team that should help them to win the second spot in Group A. While Croatia has not had the same kind of run that Brazil has had over the last year or so, they too have barely tasted defeat over the past year with their only lose being to Scotland and Belgium. However, the reason that I chose to go with Croatia over the other two teams is that they have a very stacked and creative midfield that will prove to be a handful for every team that they go up against. With their midfield consisting of Modric, Rakitic, Perisic, Kovacic etc. they have the creativity, but at the same time, the toughness to have one of the better midfield’s in this World Cup. Combined with the fact that they have a pretty good defense and a clinical scorer up top in Mandzukic, Croatia should be in the better pole position to win the runner-up spot in Group A.
Group A Dark Horse: Mexico
Mexico, for me right now, is just not there yet because they have too many question marks. Mexico have a team that is both mixed with young and veteran players. Not only that, but their youth look similar to Brazil’s team in that the Mexican team won the Gold Medal Match over Brazil in the Olympics and therefore they have experience as well. What concerns me with the Mexican team is that, as a national team, they have not been themselves since winning gold. The team as a whole has struggled not only to win, they had to go to a play-in to get to the World Cup, but they have also gone through some coaching changes as well. Not only that, but players like Javier Hernandez, a key scorer for Mexico, has struggled throughout the year and that may harm the team. However, all these question marks can be answered if they get off to a good start. This team along with Hernandez, dos Santos, Herrera, Guardado, Reyes, etc. have the necessary players and skill to advance. If Mexico is able to put it all together, do not be surprised if Mexico makes it into the knock-out stages.
Group B Overview:
Again, for those of you wondering, Group B is composed of the teams Spain, Holland/Netherlands, Chile and Australia. Spain, believe it or not, is the top ranked team in this group because they are the top ranked team in the world. After Spain, the world rankings for every team is 15th, 13th, and 59th respectively. The question with this group, much like Group A, is not who is going to win the group, but who is going to be the runner-up.
Group B Winner: Spain
Whaaaaaa…..who would have guessed right? Yeah, believe it or not, Spain will easily be the winner of their group this year. There is not much to say about Spain, other than that they are too good. They are the reigning champions of the world right now and have won back-to-back titles as the best team in Europe. The scary thing with this Spanish side, is that they have only gotten better in the last four years. They have added names like De Gea, Alba, Azplicueta, Martinez, Silva, Koke, Alcantara, Costa and Negredo etc. to an already formidable side. Spain’s big weakness over the last few years has been that they do not have an all-out scorer, since Torres has left his prime. With the additions of Costa and Negredo, they added two players that can score anywhere. Combine those scorers with the best midfield in the world, and you are looking at, which I stated earlier, a Spanish team that is just too good and possibly unbeatable.
Group B Runner-Up: Holland/Netherlands
The Netherlands winning the runner-up spot in Group B is not an insult, but more a forced outcome. In most other groups, the Netherlands would win their group without a doubt, but the fact that they have been put into a group with Spain forces them back a spot. Regardless, the Dutch should expect to win the runner-up spot fairly easily. I am well aware that the Dutch are ranked 15th and Chile are 13th, but the fact of the matter is, the Dutch are the better team. They have players on their team that have reached the World Cup Finals before in Van Persie, Robben, Sneijder, de Jong, and Kuyt. They have also added young and upcoming players in Krul, Vorm, de Vrij, Veltman, Clasie, de Duzman, Depay etc. to an already very good team. The Dutch have lost Strootman and van der Vaart, but even with these heavy losses, do not expect the Dutch to waver. Coached by van Gaal, the Dutch will be just as good, if not a better team than we have seen in the past, which is why they will be the runners-up in Group B.
Group B Dark Horse: Chile
I wish that Chile was in a different group, because if they were we could see a real dark horse. However, being in a group that has Holland and Spain, it is hard to see this team advance past them. It does not make it impossible, however, and that is why they are very much a dark horse in this group. Chile is a very young, but very good team. As I have already stated, they are ranked 13th in the world and have only lost to Brazil and Germany over the past year. Chile’s team is a good one that is composed of players like Bravo, Medel, Isla, Vidal, Diaz, Sanchez etc. They really do not wow you in one area, but at the same time they are not very weak in one area either. Sampaoli is going to have a big job at hand getting his team ready for a very tough group. However, if he can prepare well enough and his team listens, Chile has a chance at being the dark horse in Group B.
Well there you have it, the predictions for the first two groups of the World Cup. Do you agree with the predictions? Do you not? What is it that you feel will happen? Let us know by commenting and leaving feedback on everything and anything we do. We also ask that you Like us on Facebook, Follow on Twitter and Subscribe on Reddit.
All stats and information courtesy of fifa.com and telegraph.co.uk