Tuesday, June 10, 2014
4 years of waiting finally comes to an end this week and football fans around the world can't f*ckin' wait! Obviously the luxury of watching Football every single day is something we embrace like a kid with chocolate - so we've got to make the most of it. This World Cup does have a bitter/sweet feeling to it. Knowing that FIFA has damaged so many peoples lives in Brazil just for this tournament to take place is something that isn't publicized enough (thank you John Olivier). We're oblivious to it, but FIFA have royally screwed loads of Brazilians (with the help of the local government) just for this month to happen.
That's the downside to it, but the same can be said about pretty much anything in Sports (Nike, Adidas, take note...); the upside is that we've got about 30 days of non-stop Football to look forward to. And if you think like me, this feels like it's going to be the last great World Cup. With Russia hosting in 2018 and then Qatar in 2022, one can't help but feel that even Football's most loved spectacle is going to lose its charm from this point forward.
As always, on a personal level, I'll be rooting for Nigeria & England (though they've got far too many players I despise), and below are my predictions for the tournament:
WINNER OF THE WORLD CUP 2014:
I've dropped a bet on Portugal to win the tournament because the odds are ridiculous (32/1), but let's not kid ourselves, this is Brazil's trophy to lose. It'll be hard to see anyone else winning it, but I do hope I'm wrong.
GOLDEN BOOT AWARD (Top Goalscorer):
I'm going for the outside shout here, Sergio Aguero. Looking at Argentina's group, every game should be a smashing for them. 3-0, 4-0, 5-0 are scorelines we could/should expect in that group and I think given the fact that Aguero will be fresh and fit having missed a huge chunk of Man City's season, he'll be the one with less pressure on his shoulders to score.
GOLDEN BALL AWARD (Best Player):
I'll go for Neymar. He's playing at home and with Brazil, he's a completely different monster. He seems to thrive on the pressure. However, given how much Nike, Beats and all other brands are investing in him, you just feel like something, somewhere, is going to go wrong.
GOLDEN GLOVE (Best Keeper):
Manuel Neuer is the only possible winner in here. Germany will reach the semi-finals at the very least and they'll have their steady rock at the back to defend them throughout.
YOUNG PLAYER OF THE TOURNAMENT:
I'm not sure what the age limit is here anymore, but if 23 still counts, then Eden Hazard (as the obvious choice) or Antoine Griezmann (as the outsider) could take this. But to be safe, I'll go for Paul Pogba. Losing Ribery and dropping Nasri will definitely hurt France, but Pogba is a beast in the middle and he'll prove it at this World Cup.
Or I might be wrong and Lukaku will just end up tearing everyone to pieces...
Other popular predictions include:
England to go out on penalties.
Italy to get knocked out of the group stage (you heard it here first!).
Holland to play beautiful football only to be knocked out despite their efforts in the quarter finals.
Lionel Messi to be criticized.
Spain to struggle.
Chile to be the surprise package of the World Cup (Belgium doesn't count as a surprise package - they're 5th favorites to win the damn thing).