So its finally here. The long anticipated, World Cup, all the way from beautiful, sunny Brazil. But who is your money on?
Brazil, the 5th biggest country in the world in terms of land mass is undoubtedly one of the hottest and most humid places on the planet. It has the biggest rainforest in the world and its tropical climates are undoubtedly going to be a game changer.
For those that arent currently clued up on which nations are in which group, the following link is a guide to see you through the next month.
Brazil (Rank #3)??Having played in every single world cup competition and winning it on 5 separate occasions, obviously stands them out as potential winners. The fact that the competition is held in their own back garden, must be further advantage and the infamous Neymar, returning to his adoring fans must have him excited to impress. Kloodle prediction??finalists.
Croatia (Rank #18)??Entering into their fifth World cup finals competition, Croatia did not qualify from their UEFA cup group as winners, but do not write them off. They were placed in a very competitive group where a very strong Belgium squad came through as champions. I wouldnt be overly surprised in Modric and his men shocked a few people in their competition opening fixture with Brazil. Kloodle prediction??Knocked out in the last 16.
Mexico (Rank #20)??Fourteenth time out for the Mexicans, may not be a happy one. With only six wins in their last 20 World Cup fixtures stretching back to 1994, Chicharito and his band of little peas definitely have their work cut out in a very tricky group. Kloodle prediction??will not progress through the group stages.
Cameroon (Rank #56)??Cameroons eighth world cup final competition has indeed not had the most ideal preparation. Having breezed through the qualifying stages, winning group I with ease, they went onto convincingly beat Tunisia 41 to earn their spot in Brazil. However Etoo and his men have been heavily documented in the press recently as they refused to board the flight based on issues with bonus schemes and only arrived in Brazil 4 days before the start of the competition. Fail to prepare and prepare to fail. Kloodle prediction??out in the group stage.
Spain (Rank #1)??As raining world champions and with their own class above breed of football, Spain are the bookies favourites to go on and win it again. With growing issues that Spain were becoming the best team in the world at keeping the ball and creating chances, the slip in form of Chelseas Fernando Torres and injury ridden David Villa, in one game against England Spain did not field a centre forward. However a certain Diego Costa, rich in form off the back of his 27 goals in La Liga alone seem to have resolved that issue. Kloodle prediction??Winners.
Netherlands (Rank # 15)??Always oozing in class and sensational technique the Dutch can never be ruled out. In what looks like the toughest group, can Van Gaal have one last swan song before his long awaited arrival at The Theatre of Dreams? The key man Robin Van Persie never really got going during the English Premier League season, whether that be due to Kloodle office favourite David Moyes or genuine injury, the strong fact remains, class is permanent and not only does RVP have class, this squad is jam packed with talent. Kloodle prediction??Knocked out in the last 16.
Chile (Rank #14)??The Chileans are venturing into their 9th World Cup appearance this time and got there in some style finishing third in a very tough South American qualifying group. Although the magnificent Alexis Sanchez did not look at his best this winter in Barcelona, his passion for Chile was obvious in friendly games against England not so long ago. With a knowledge of Brazil and the conditions, Chile could really be a surprise team in this very tough group. Kloodle prediction??Will be unlucky but not qualify through the group stages.
Australia (Rank #62)??HAAAA!! Having failed to win a game in the last two world cups, this recent run of bad form may well, unfortunately continue. Bring back Harry Kewell!! Kloodle prediction??(with a smile) Wont win a game.
Colombia (Rank #8)??In only their fifth world cup finals, the Colombians can smell blood. Looking to cause an upset or two, can Antonio Valencia and the lads use the conditions and their less difficult group to go on and make a little bid themselves. Kloodle prediction??Knocked out in the last 16.
Greece (Rank #12)??Looking to surpass their only two previous attempts in World Cup history, the Greeks failed to win their UEFA group, missing out to Bosnia Herzegova and if they wish to progress through the group stages need to reinvent the form they had when winning Euro 2004. That epic tournament win was based on a very very sturdy defence. DE-FENCE DE-FENCE Kloodle prediction??Out in the group stages.
Ivory Coast (Rank #23)??With this being only the third time to the finals Ivory Coast are somewhat of a dark horse and certainly a force that will not just role over. Though the IC have never progressed through the groups, the luck of the draw was strictly not in their favour on either occasion, third time lucky lads. The big questions are, can Drogba play three games in a week? Has Kolo Toure recovered from the malaria virus he picked up? Will Yaya Toure (a belated happy birthday from Kloodle) be fit to start the tournament having failed to train with the squad yet. Kloodle prediction??miss out on to qualify through the group stages on goal difference.
Japan (Rank #46)??The Japanese must be quietly confident in the group that they have been drawn in. Having reached the last 16 twice in their last two World Cups they continued their good form in the qualification stages. They were the first team to qualify and were worthy winners topping the Asian group by 4 points. (To the tune Radio Gaga by Queen) All we need is Shinji Kagawa. Kloodle prediction??Knocked out in the last 16.
Uruguay (Rank #7)??The first ever World Cup winners must also be quietly confident, and so they should be. With arguably the most intelligent football brain in the world, Luis Suarez leading your attack, with Edisson Cavani as a strike partner, Uruguay must fancy there chances. Imagine Ian Holloway managing this team with his, we will score more than you score mentality. However, they did not put that potential into actual results during qualification having just scraped through by beating Jordan in the play-offs. They are the seeded team in the group, though, will this pressure affect things? Kloodle prediction??Quarter finalists.
Costa Rica (Rank #28)??Long are the days of Paolo Wanchope, Costa Rica are a rejuvenated team. After qualifying second in the group for an automatic spot, they must use their knowledge of the conditions and fitness to progress further in the group. Ex Fulham Bryan Ruiz may need to show some real magic to get them through the group stages. Kloodle prediction??Out in the group Stages.
England (Rank #10)??As a company run by Englishmen, do we continue this section of the blog with our heart or our heads? Lets try both England will win the win the World Cup, beating Australia 60 in the final, with a Joe Hart hat-trick. Unfortunately, we must be serious, with England lacking goals and any sense of genuine class, have they found the kind of football that is most successful. If England try to match Brazil for flare and go all out attack then they are often made to look predictable. However, if they try to defend with the heart of our nations passion in mind, Kloodle fears England will not score a single goal in any game. Leading up to the World Cup, a real lack of creativity and often pride has been missing. Rock and a hard place? Or just not as good as the English press leads the public to believe. How about we expect nothing and hope we are pleasantly surprised. Kloodle prediction??out in the group stages having drawn all 3 games.
Italy (Rank #9)??Having only ever missed one World Cup finals competition, Italy are veterans in major competition. Known for their pride and defence minded football, Italy have some genuine attacking quality too. Though Italy may not tear teams apart, their wily veteran Andrea Pirlo and the arrogant but raw class in Balotelli should see them do well this summer. Kloodle prediction??Quarter finalists.
Switzerland (Rank #6)??After topping group E of the UEFA qualifying section, the Swiss are looking to better their last World Cup effort and progress through the group stages. In their 10th appearance, FC Bayern Munichs Xherdan Shaqiri realistically has an awful lot of responsibility laying with him. Kloodle prediction??Knocked out in the last 16.
France (Rank #17)??Although Spain qualified as group winners in the qualification phase, France easily barged Ukraine out of the way on confirming their place in Brazil. With an ever improving side with so much individual brilliance both in Paul Pogba and Frank Ribery, will they miss the wizardry of Samir Nasri who was so influential in Manchester Citys title win. Karim Benzema appears to have found top form again and this side wants to make amends to missing the last competition in South Africa. Kloodle prediction??Quarter finalists.
Ecuador (Rank #26)??Backed well according to the bookmakers, Ecuador could well be set to cause a few upsets. In only their third attempt, will the Ecuadorians have enough individual quality to match their knowledge of South America? Antonio Valencias men showed real pace in a recent friendly against England and showed that they can score goals. Defensively, there were definite holes though. Kloodle preiction??out in the group stages.
Honduras (Rank #33)??Must be said that in their third try, Honduras must be considered one of the outsiders. Though group E, is not the strongest group in the competition, ex-Wigan duo Wilson Palacios and Maynor Figueroa star in a team that will have to work together to progress any further. Kloodle prediction??out in the group stages.
Argentina (Rank #5)??Argentina the enigma!! What a team, on paper, a truly magnificent team. Aguero, Di Maria, Lavezzi, Zabaleta, (the ever improving) Demechellis, Mascherano, Higuain and arguably the best player in the world Lionel Messi. Could it be their year. No denying that on paper it is a wonderful team and conditions are indeed in their favour Worth a pound as they say. Kloodle prediction??Semi Finalists
Bosnia Herzogavina (Rank #21)??After qualifying for their first ever World Cup, Bosnia Herzegovina mean business. After topping the group through the qualifications stage, players such as Edin Dzeko who was recently voted as one of the best strikers in the world, Miralem Pjanic and Asmir Begovic between the sticks, they have an excellent opportunity to have a real crack at this World Cup and upset a few nations. Kloodle prediction??Knocked out in the last 16.
Iran (Rank #43)??Having got to the World Cup on 3 previous occasions, the current Iran side is looking to go where no Iranian has gone before the last 16. With no stand out players to mention and in a particularly tough group, I fear quality may well get the better of them on this occasion. Kloodle prediction??Will struggle to notch a point, out in the group stages.
Nigeria (Rank #44)??Featuring in their 5th World Cup, Nigeria have arguably the strongest squad they have ever had. After topping the group during qualification and convincingly beating Ethiopia in the knockout phase, this Nigeria side has definite class as shown throughout European club football, most recognisably Jon Obi Mikel, Victor Moses and West Brom fan favourite Peter Odemwingie. This has the making of a good fight between between Nigeria and Bosnia to see who will progress. Kloodle prediction??Out in the group stages.
Germany (Rank #2)??In tricky, energy draining conditions, efficiency is everything. And Germany are the most efficient of the efficient. The three time winners are leaders in innovation, and wonderful in their footballing craft. It has been well documented that German football is light years ahead of the rest of the world. Indeed Manchester Citys youth academy has been changed to copy the structure of many German football academies. More specifically, the sheer ability within the German squad is frightening. Most excitingly from a German perspective is the fact that the majority of the squad are based at FC Bayern Munich Borussia Dortmund. The conditions may be the only thing to undo this very strong force. Kloodle prediction??semi finalists
Portugal (Rank #4)??Though ranked fourth in the world rankings, Portugal really need a great result in this World Cup to continue with that high ranking. They will rely heavily on the FIFA number one ranked player Christiano Ronaldo to lead from the front and drag Portugal through a tricky group and onto a good run in the later stages. There is masses of experience with Pepe in defence and Fabio Coentrao, who are both coming off the back of excellent domestic seasons, but realistically Ronnie must be at his very best. Kloodle prediction??Knocked out in the last 16
Ghana (Rank #37)??Ghana were deserved winners in the qualifications stage and went on to beat Egypt 73 in the final knockout stage of the qualification process. Unfortunately for Ghana they have been placed in what is being named as the group of death due to the quality of teams around them with any two of the four teams with a chance to qualify. These boys will not be easily beaten and have some wonderful European pedigree players. One step too far perhaps? Kloodle prediction??out in the group stages.
USA (Rank #13)??After convincingly qualifying through the group stages, the USA are very much in the mix up of this group. With names such as Tim Howard, Geoff Cameron and Marcus Beasley all named in the squad, there is a big chance of an upset. However the exposure to champions league football throughout the German and Portuguese squads may well leave the Americans just short. Kloodle prediction??out in the group stages.
Belgium (Rank #11)??Entering into the nations 12 World Cup appearance, this absolutely must be the best chance of winning the prestigious trophy. Suddenly a golden era has emerged with an all star squad with the worlds best defender Vincent Kompany and the artistic yet powerful of genius of Eden Hazard. Belgium are thee dark horse of the 2014 World Cup. If you dont believe us, check out the Belgium squad here:
Unbelievable Jeff and everybody loves an outsider. Kloodle prediction??Quarter finalists with the hope for more.
Algeria (Rank #22)??Fourth attempt for Algeria to make history and get through the group stages, and a good chance it is. With Russia failing to impress in the qualifying stage and Algeria dominating the qualification stages, Tottenhams Nabil Bentaleb and his men must come up with some positive results against Russia and South Korea to stand a chance. Kloodle prediction??out in the group stage.
Russia (Rank #19)??Although Russia were no mean feat in the qualification stages, the on-boarding of ex-England manager Fabio Capello has brought a new drive into a talented Russian squad. Capellos discipline and structure will help this group of players at least advance through the group stages and hopefully onto a good run in the knock out stages. Kloodle prediction??Out in the last 16.
So there you have it Spain to beat Brazil in the final of the World Cup 2014. Good luck to everyone who has entered a sweep-stake and lead well for those who are playing in a fantasy football league. Lets hope its a great spectacle.
Finally, their must be a quick mention for the winner of the best national anthem and that goes to drum role please Brazil. Wonderful.