Jun 5, 1036 days ago

2014 World Cup preview – Winning Continent

2014 World Cup preview – Winning Continent

Europe (5/6)

It is 5/6 that a representative from UEFA will lift the World Cup in 2014.  Considering several of the leading nations in the betting are from Europe this is no surprise, but it is worth remembering that no European team has ever won the World Cup in South America and only Spain have won the tournament outside Europe.

Eight of the top twelve teams in the betting are European.  Spain, Germany, Italy, France and Holland are frontrunners and Europe can also boast dark horses such as Belgium, England, Portugal, Russia, Croatia and Switzerland. UEFA representatives also include Bosnia-Herzegovina and Greece.

With the strength of the various UEFA teams it wouldn’t be a surprise to see a European team win the tournament. However, with eight previous failures to win a World Cup outside their home continent, a European team will have to make history by winning in Brazil.

South America (10/11)

Six representatives from the CONMEBOL federation will compete on their home continent this summer including tournament favourites Brazil.

Phil Scolari’s team are more functional than great Brazilian sides of old but boast plenty of attacking talent in the form of Neymar, Oscar, Willian, Fred and Hulk. As hosts, they are certainly the team to beat this summer.

Beyond Brazil there are several other South American sides which could also do well. Argentina finally seem to have a system which can get the best out of Lionel Messi although their defence could be vulnerable. If Radamel Falcao is fit for the tournament than dark horses Colombia could go well while Uruguay will be hoping to replicate their World Cup victory in Brazil in 1950.

Ecuador and Chile also harbour genuine hopes of reaching the knockout stages.

Two of the South American teams have strong chances of winning the tournament and the 10/11 on a CONMEBOL team ending up with the trophy looks good value.

Africa (50/1)

Considering that even on their ‘home’ continent just one African team reached the last eight in 2010 then it doesn’t look promising this summer.

The leading contenders are the Ivory Coast, although are a distant 125/1 to win the tournament. The Elephants have some talented players in Yaya Toure, Drogba and Kalou and while they could well reach the knockout stages they aren’t likely to win the competition.

Ghana will do well to progress from a group featuring both Germany and Portugal while Algeria will have to defeat Russia, Belgium or South Korea to progress.

That leaves Cameroon and Nigeria.  Nigeria have arguably the easier draw and could make the knockout stages while Cameroon may well progress to the last sixteen at the expense of Croatia and Mexico. Can one of the sides go all the way to the final, though? That looks a tall order.

North and Central America (66/1)

It would be a major shock if Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica or the USA won the World Cup in 2014.  Mexico have a surprisingly poor record in World Cup Finals, failing to get past the first knockout round in eleven attempts away from home soil while the USA squad in 2014 is the weakest in some years.

Honduras have done well to qualify for a second consecutive tournament but with France, Switzerland and Ecuador in Group E I can’t see them making the knockout stages. Costa Rica have an even tougher job as they face England, Uruguay and Italy.

Asia (100/1)

Despite the huge popularity of football on the Asian continent, the AFC sides have regularly failed to progress to the latter stages of a World Cup.  South Korea’s run to the semi-finals in 2002 on home soil was by far the best effort of an Asian side and despite four qualifiers in 2014 they have once again been given little hope.

South Korea play an attacking brand of football that sees goals at both ends and should be good to watch, as should Japan who are perennial qualifiers but often disappoint in the Finals themselves. Australia find themselves in the Group of Death with Spain, Holland and Chile and have precious little hope while Carlos Queiroz’s Iran side are organised and better than you might expect although are stll likely to fall at the group stages.


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