With the World Cup just over two weeks away, it’s time to take a peek at the teams that will be competing in Brazil.
Power Rankings (in order of strength)
Brazil: Brazil, as the host nation, received an automatic bid to the World Cup, but the Brazilian national team has been stellar, defeating defending World Cup champion Spain and winnings the Confederations Cup. The host nation of this World Cup meaning automatic qualification. Brazil was stellar during the Confederations Cup and managed to beat current world cup champion Spain and achieved the Confederations Cup. Consequently, the Seleçao are favorites to lift the coveted World Cup trophy once again. Brazil, as one of the most successful national teams, has earned the World Cup five times. Coincidentally, the last time Brazil lifted the World Cup (Korea/Japan 2002), Luiz Felipe Scolari was coaching, and he’s back again to hopefully win Brazil its sixth trophy. Homefield advantage will be Brazil’s biggest strength, and while it may be unlikely for its young team to reach the final, Brazil should easily win Group A due to key player Neymar.
Mexico: Despite earning a spot in the World Cup against New Zealand with an aggregate score of 9-3, El Tri has been unconvincing. Mexico failed to click on all cylinders, seemingly destined to miss the World Cup, before selecting Luis Herrera to coach the team after cycling through coaching options. With Herrera at the helm, Mexico now plays a 5-3-2, which has worked for now. Mexico has a lot of young talent and a big-time veteran in Rafa Marquez, and should be able to regularly go on the attack. Provided Croatia doesn’t pull an upset, Mexico should advance with the help of offensive stars Javier Hernandez and Oribe Peralta.
Croatia: Croatia was disappointing during its qualifying campaign. The Vatreni have some of the best midfielders who can create amazing plays but they lack quality wingers. The defense isn’t bad but it could be much better. Croatia will need to defeat Cameroon and Mexico to advance as Brazil is too powerful an opponent, especially since Croatia will be missing one of its key players, Mario Mandzukic, in its games against Brazil due to suspension. Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitica and Mateo Kovacic are the heart of Croatia’s team, and if the trio is at the top of its game, Croatia will have a chance..
Cameroon: Unfortunately for the African Lions, Cameroon is the least intimidating team in this group despite qualifying by defeating Tunisia as it lacks a strong attack and a solid defense. In Cameroon’s favor is Brazil’s hot and humid climate, which is reminiscent of Cameroon’s. As a result, Cameroon may outrun its opponents, but aside from that, there’s not much in Cameroon’s favor. A key player to look out for is Samuel Eto’o. who is a fast and creative playmaker.
Winner of Group A: Brazil – will play runner-up of Group B
Runner-up of Group A: Mexico – will play winner of Group
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|World Cup – Group A Schedule|
|Thursday, June 12, 2014||Brazil||Croatia||4:00 p.m.||ESPN|
|Friday, June 13, 2014||Mexico||Cameroon||12:00 p.m.||ESPN2|
|Tuesday, June 17, 2014||Brazil||Mexico||3:00 p.m.||ESPN|
|Wednesday, June 18, 2014||Cameroon||Croatia||6:00 p.m.||ESPN|
|Thursday, June 26, 2014||Croatia||Mexico||4:00 p.m.||ESPN|
|Thursday, June 26, 2014||Cameroon||Brazil||4:00 p.m.||ESPN2|