The Beautiful Game is back and football fans around the world all have their eyes fixed on Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. 32 teams from across the globe are meeting in the South American country to decide who will raise the golden World Cup trophy on July 13th in Rio de Janeiro, and we are all waiting to enjoy the show.
The host country Brazil has got to be considered one of the pre-tournament favorites. Their young and talented striker Neymar will be looking to convert all his hype into glory for the home nation. There are very few countries in the world that love football more than Brazil and their fans would love nothing more than forgetting about all their much publicized social problems and seeing their home side take the Cup. Brazil has a very long line of great players and Neymar, while still very young, will be looking to become one of the greats.
Neighboring South American country Argentina will also have plenty to say about who takes the glory in Rio. Striker Leo Messi will be looking to step out of the shadow of Argentine hero Diego Maradona and finally deliver the World Cup back to Argentina. While Neymar is still very young and full of potential, Messi has been on the big stage already for many years but has yet to deliver any major success for his national side. The three-time Ballon d’Or winner will be looking to add the World Cup to his vast achievements and cement his place as one of the all-time greatest players.
Defending World Cup Champion and two-time European Champion Spain cannot be forgotten. The Vicente del Bosque squad will be featuring some familiar faces in Brazil, players such as Andres Iniesta, Iker Casillas, Xavi Hernandez and Fernando Torres, but many eyes will be on the young Diego Costa. Costa made a big impression this year with his club Atlético Madrid taking them to the final of the Champions League but he has been beset by nagging injuries over the last month. All of Spain will be anxiously waiting to see how he responds to his first World Cup. It would be a lot to ask for the Spanish team to repeat their 2010 success but the top-ranked team in the world will be difficult to beat.
England has largely disappointed in recent years in the big tournaments and striker Wayne Rooney is in need of international success to solidify his position as one of the English greats. That isn’t the case for Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal, who is arguably world’s best player over the last two years and winner this year’s Ballon d’Or. Portugal is not a favorite to win the World Cup but if he can lead his team deep into the later rounds he will certainly be welcomed back to Portugal as a hero.
The strong teams will continue to show their talent but we will also keep our eyes open to see which of the other teams and individual players will catch our attention and maybe deliver a lethal surprise to one of the favorites.
After all of the experts have given us their opinions about who they think will win and lose, the real winners will be the football fans around the world. Get ready, the World Cup is here and it’s time to sit back and enjoy the Beautiful Game.