by THOMAS O’SCANNELL Staff Writer
The 2014 World Cup draws nearer by the day, and although I believe Italy has a chance of winning, I see Brazil most likely in the shining lights after the finals.
The FIFA World Cup, named after soccer’s principal governing body, will take place this year in Brazil, with the final more specifically taking place in Rio de Janeiro. It officially begins on Thursday, June 12, 2014 with a match-up between Croatia and hometown favorites Brazil.
There are 32 teams that qualified for the tournament through separate group stages within their own respective confederations. There are four teams each in eight groups, and the top-two placements in their group advance to the knockout stages.
Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, and Cameroon make up Group A. Australia, Chile, The Netherlands, and Spain make up Group B. Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Greece, and Japan make up Group C. Costa Rica, England, Italy, and Uruguay make up Group D. Ecuador, France, Honduras, and Switzerland make up Group E. Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iran, and Nigeria make up Group F. Germany, Ghana, Portugal, and the United States make up Group G. Algeria, Belgium, Korea Republic, and Russia make up Group H.
I am rooting for Italy because they are my favorite national team. Contrary to my last name, I am more Italian than Irish. I love watching the Italian national team and its club league, Serie A.
Do not get me wrong, I would love to see Italy win the World Cup and tie Brazil’s record for most World Cup victories. Italy currently has four World Cups to their name while Brazil has five. This would happen on Brazilian turf no less! However, realistically, I think Brazil has this one in the bag.
For me, as of right now, they seem too strong. Brazil basically dominated last year in the Confederations Cup; they made Spain, who won the last World Cup back in 2010 in South Africa, look like amateurs by beating them 3-0 in the final.
Not only that, nobody can doubt the overall prominence of the players. Twenty-two-year-old Neymar currently plays for Spanish giant Barcelona, and even though he, as well as the entire team, has not been quite as dominant and intimidating as they used to be, nobody can deny the young Brazilian’s remarkable skill and role in Brazil’s starting 11.
Freshman David Mikaiel disagrees, however. He believes Spain will win, saying, “They’ve got young players and great potential to win another cup.”
I would not rule out any other South American nations from winning the cup, too. In addition to them just being good, with all games taking place in the host country, the sea level could take a toll on the superior European teams. They may not play as well because of the occasional struggle to breathe.
I also cannot forget the competition the Europeans pose against Brazil. A slight adjustment in sea level might only shake the visitors temporarily, but when they adapt, magician-like players Andrea Pirlo of Italy, Andrés Iniesta from Spain, Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal, and more can stampede over any opposition.
Again, opinions on the identity of the victor differ. Freshman E.J. Fontaine also argues for Spain, saying, “They have great strikers.”
I still do have faith Italy can pull off a great win this year, but I realistically feel that teams like Brazil will overtake not only Italy, but all the others. Then again, soccer is called the “Beautiful Game” for a reason… anything can happen!
Who do you think will win the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil?