Thursday, June 12, 2014

World Cup Football 2014 ..... Awe Spectacle

The beautiful game of football kicks off tonight at 1.30 am Indian Standard Time, with hosts Brazil taking on Croatia in the tournament opener of FIFA World Cup 2014......the 20th edition of this magnificent competition. Billions of followers would be glued to the TV / internet over the next one month, watching with awe, as the top 32 teams compete for the most coveted sporting spectacle.

Amongst teams, host Brazil look very solid & if they can retain their belief & form of the last Confed Cup, they look most likely to lift the Cup on 14th July. With wonder kid Neymar upfront flanked by Fred, Oscar & Hulk....Paulhinho & Gustavo / Ramirez in midfield & Thiaggo Silva, David Luis, Marcelo & Dani Alvez in defence, with Julio Cesar manning the goal.....its looks an absolutely potent combination, capable of tearing apart any side in the world with disdain....With coach Scolari managing this cracking bunch of talent, Brazil looks good.....really really good. Unless the team succumbs to the immense pressure of expectations....they should for sure reach the finals & hopefully lift the Cup. Guess the opening match, should set the tone of the things to come.....
Spain, the defending Champions, look a little jaded this time around.....their famed tikitaka style of football, which had given them the last two Euro Cups & the last World Cup, appears out of sorts....aging players, & sudden loss of form could be a worrying sign. However, if they regain their flowing game, the Spanish Armada could well go the distance.
Germany, known forever for their clinical precision & pressing game, have a bunch of extremely talented players ready to rock the world....Schweinsteiger, Ozil, Muller, Goetze, Kroos, Lahm...all are potential match winners. Italy, the perennial favorites look to be struggling with ageing players & directionless football of late....but they are a big stage team & Pirlo, de Rossi, Balotelli & others can just about suddenly regain their touch to scheme through, as always a slippery side. Netherlands have always been the underachievers of this tournament....with Robben, Van Persie, Schnieder....all capable of scoring at will, this Orange team could well spell doom for many a title contender. Portugal would certainly create a stir with Ronaldo leading the mercurial side boasting Pepe, Coentrao, Nani, Postiga & others, but as usual they look like crumbling at crunch moments despite a brilliant brand of football....& unless they combine well...its mostly a one man performance. England & France would struggle & so would other European teams, though Belgium could spring in a surprise, & Croatia could well find their way into the knock out stage.
Amongst the South American teams, Argentina, under Lionel Messi are touted to reach the finals & give Brazil a tough run, but, somehow am not sure, they will rule this World Cup....Messi has not shown his Barcelona form & the team is very heavily reliant on him for redemption. Unless he reinvents a La Maradona of '86, I dont see Argentina going the distance, especially if they bump into someone like Germany or Belgium, or even Portugal. Uruguay, last World Cup's semi finalist, Mexico, Chile, Columbia, according to me would be good teams to watch, but dont look capable of reaching the last four.
With the matches being played live at different time zones for us in India ( most matches would be past mid night in India)....I will try & capture some key matches ahead......& from knock out stage, will capture all matches....hopefully.

Brazil has been in the news for the wrong political reasons of late, & the country has been struggling to manage strife & a stifling economy...... & hopefully the beautiful game of football...especially the Samba style infuses harmony & peace ahead....

May the best team win....
Ole Ole