Through the tournament I will be passing on various musings – hopefully they will be of interest to you – here are my initial thoughts:-
Brazil the most under pressure team in the history of sport!!!!!!! – I love my rugby and during the autumn of 2011, I regularly got up at silly o’clock to watch the matches of the Rugby Umion World Cup (even with a hangover – telly by my bed :)). Anyways New Zealand (the Brazil of their sport) were at home, had not won the World Cup for over 20 years (South Africa and Australia had one more tournament win than they did). It was nigh on expected that they would win the tournament – NO EXCUSES. Each game the pressure was heaped on them – they made it to the final and were expected to sweep aside a France team who they had already bulldozed earlier in the tournament. Well they did win, JUST but only by a point and were extremely lucky to get by, especially as the ref decided to be quite kind to the home team at crucial points. Brazil have not won the world Cup for 12 years, everyone is expecting especially as the last time it was in Brazil they messed it up against their ‘tiny’ neighbours Uruguay. The amount of pressure they are under will be massive – they should top their group but in the second round it is very likely they will face one of Spain, Holland or Chile – they will be expected to win and then win the next 3 games after that – PRESSURE PRESSURE PRESSURE – we’ll see if they can deal with it??????? As you can see below – I think not!!!!!!!
My tip for the tournament is Argentina – It was bad enough for Brazil in 1950 when Uruguay won on their own patch, but it would be even worse if Argentina won the World Cup on their home territory – Brazil would go into mourning. Let alone the fact they have Messi, Aguero, Higuain the key for me is where their matches are being played. Argentina if they go all the way to the final will play all their games in the relatively mild southern part of Brazil. Amazingly Argentina have not won a tournament of any significance since the 1993 Copa America in Ecuador and they would like nothing better than to end 21 years of hurt in the backyard of their arch rivals. I can see it happening.
My dark horses are France who needed to overturn a 2-0 deficit in the playoffs against Ukraine, but did the business and got lucky as they have actually been drawn in a reasonable group (Switzerland, Honduras and Ecuador) which they would look at and feel confident that they can qualify from it. Even without the injured Ribery they have top players such as Pogba and Benzema, and any team that can leave Samir Nasri out of the party-due to issues surrounding squad harmony-must have chance. Defensively there are issues but with a top stopper like Hugo Lloris in goal the French maybe just maybe could progress a long way and lift the trophy for a second time.
With the first game kicking off tomorrow – I predict a good start for the hosts so I’m going for Brazil 2 Croatia 0 – that should keep the country happy – well for now anyways.
Let me know what you think – you can also tweet me @biggishmouth or go to my facebook page at www.facebook.com/thebiggishmouth