2014 FIFA World Cup Early Speculation

First, how do the chances look for the U.S. to make it in? Based on absolutely no knowledge of the USMNT or the rest of the field, I’m going to say that it would be a pretty huge shock if we didn’t make it.

Second, how cool would it be if the U.S. and England wound up in the same group, and we played at Belo Horizonte?

the US will absolutely make it given the easy qualification group they are in. It’s not even a doubt.

Brazil, at home, should win it.

I find myself looking forward to the next World Cup. I don’t like soccer nearly as much as I like NFL/College football, but it kinda grows on ya as you watch a little more of it. Really hoping Brazil has nothing remotely like a vuvuzela. Every game sounded like it was being played in a hive of angry bees.

The US will make it. In its current set-up, it’ll be a complete failure if the US ever misses the World Cup again.

It’s hard to look past Spain as the favorites. Brazil and Spain are the only two countries to win the WC on a continent other than its own. They’ll possibly lose Xavi (to retirement), but Cesc will probably step in his spot. I could go on, but the EURO 2012 thread will tell you all you need to know about Spain’s players, ages, etc. Brazil is obviously expected to do very well, and being close to home, Argentina should do well. Germany is the only other team I can see with a real chance to win it. Not knowing exactly how odds work for things like this, I’d say something like Spain 40%, Brazil 40%, Argentina 15%, the field 5%.

I’m not so sure that Spain will do well, they all seemed a bit tired of winning this summer, and Barcelona did too, at the end of the season. It’d be hard for them to keep up their form for over four years, let alone six. Also, I suspect that sooner rather than later, Spain’s low-scoring ways* will catch up with it, and also (we’ve been seeing this happen to Barcelona) that other teams will devise better ways to deal with tica-taca football. Obviously, there’s a huge amount of talent there and most of the current team will still be around two years from now, and obviously they’ve already startled everyone by winning three titles in a row, so clearly they’re in the habit of doing things no one’s done before. Still, I’d be quite surprised to see them win the Worldcup.

  • Yes, I know they destroyed Italy in the final, but that was in part because Italy lost some of it’s key players and was a man down for a large part of the game, which tipped the balance massively. For most of the past Eurocup as well as the World Cup in South Africa, Spain won its games 1-0.

I’d love to take the field with those odds.

Spain’s getting towards the older end of their careers, Brazil is on home turf, Argentina is on their home turf and Messi is in his prime with something to prove, Germany is very young and very talented… it should be an interesting cup.

The US will be a bit old, I think. Their two best players, Donovan and Dempsey, are playing extremely well at the moment, but are at the point where you expect them to tail off. There isn’t any clear heir for either. No forward has really stepped up to put their stamp on that position. Central defense is getting old, although there are quite a few players that look promising to step in. Klinnsman has a lot of things to work out through qualification, but he’s got time.

Shoot, I forgot to include Germany in my percentages. Knock Spain and Brazil to 35%, and give Germany 10%. The field and Argentina remain the same. (This is very important!)

The only question mark I can see right now for Spain is at striker. David Villa will be about 31, and Torres should be in his prime, but his prime may have already passed. But I struggle with the idea that Valencia, Sevilla, Real Sociodad, or some other Spanish club doesn’t have a gem just waiting to get plucked by one of the big 2, and will be the new Villa or Torres (no pressure, Unknown Kid!) in a couple years. It’s one thing to say other teams will catch up to tiki-taka, but I’ll wait til I see it done first.

I am going to go ahead and agree with, Švejk. I think it’s too much for anyone to expect for us to stay on top of the football world for so long a cycle – as it is, no one had won three majors in a row as Spain just did. And although we’ve done very well in European competition at the U-21 age group and below, there’s certainly no guarantee that any of those kids will be good enough to replace some of current stars that will likely be missing in Brazil.

So I’ll just sit back, try to enjoy the Tournament and let Brazil, Germany & Argentina go in as pre-WC favorites. That said, a lot can still change in the next two years for all teams involved.

BTW-Argentina is nowhere near their home turf in Brazil – they might be so geographically, but I doubt a single Brazilian will be pulling for anything but an early demise of their most bitter rival.


If England qualify, they will flatter to deceive and be knocked out by the first decent side that they play against - just like every other tournament that they qualified for since I was born.

Seems reasonable.

My own prediction: Scotland will not qualify. I think I’m on safe ground in calling that.

But, if they do qualify, they will be drawn in a group with Spain, Japan and Canada. They will pull off a flukey draw with Spain, lead Japan 1-0 until the 85th minute and then concede an own goal, and finally get stuffed by Canada.

Given the arbitrary and unfair nature of sport, I think your percentages for Spain and Brazil are way, way high. As good as Spain has looked, and as consistently dangerous as Brazil is, it’s just the nature of a single-elimination tournament that there’s a high degree of randomness. I find it hard to believe that between Argentina AND France AND Italy AND the Netherlands AND Japan AND England AND Portugal, Uruguay, and so on and so on that all those countries combined have only a 1 in 5 chance of winning. If you want to give me four to one odds for anyone but Spain, Brazil and Germany to win I’ll take those odds.

It only takes 90 minutes of bad luck.

As to Canada, assuming we make it, which is by no stretch of the imagination a good bet to make, I would be shocked if we won a single match. I’d be really impressed with a draw.

I’d love to be able to get a value bet down on someone from CONCACAF or AFC winning the Cup. 2018 would be best, but I’d spend the money in 2014 if the odds were right.

Mexico may be the most improved team of any of the top 30 teams in the world over the last 4 years, as evidenced by their Olympic win, among many others. Their players are being snapped up by the top European leagues left and right. The USA will head into 2014 with an experienced group of veterans and some up and coming talent like Michael Bradley and Brek Shea and Fabian Johnson, among others.

South Korea and Japan are regular participants in the knockout stage and are due to take a step forward.

I wonder what I could get for such a bet for 2014? 30-1? 40-1? Better?

I’d give Canada something like a 1 in 3 chance, perhaps 1 in 2. CONCACAF gets 3.5 spots, and two will be the US and Mexico. Honduras is a good bet for #3, but Canada isn’t bad and could pull it off. I think #4 still gets a playoff with CONMEBOL, which wouldn’t be fun, but stranger things have happened.

Best odds I could find would give you (for 2014) 66-1 for Mexico, 100-1 for the USA, 250-1 for Japan and 400-1 for South Korea. If you have nothing better to do with your money, you can get 2500-1 on Canada to win in Brazil.

I think Israel has a decent shot of making the cup this year. Its group is composed of Portugal, Russia, and some tiny and terrible (ranked 100+) European countries. If Israel ties Portugal and Russia and Portugal beats Russia, we’re in!

My random guesses;

*Spain to finish last in their group and be eliminated, just like the last two European winners of the Cup.
*Brazil to choke under the insane pressure in the knock-out stages, probably in a quarterfinal.
*Only CONMEBOL and UEFA teams make it past the first knockout round.
*Germany wins.

1 in 3 is the absolute best I’d give them. They drew a crazy easy ground in the second round, to which they got a bye. The game against Panama in a few weeks will be very telling, because if they can’t beat Panama (who’ve played well) that’s not a good sign.

Well, bear in mind that games are played home and away. Israel might fluke one result against Russia or Portugal, but there are four games to consider.

The other teams are Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan and Luxembourg. Should be able to beat those. Much as I’d like to see Israel in the finals, I reckon third place in that group is the best you could manage.

Awww. Look at the cute little kiddie that wasn’t born in 1996 :wink:

Seriously though, England will do shit again.

Canada should beat Panama at home, but then they should have beaten Honduras there, too. So I’d say it’s 50/50 they make the Hex, which should have Mexico, USA, Costa Rica, Jamaica and Panama, then Canada or Honduras. Out of that group I’d rate them currently, in order:

Costa Rica

Remember that the fourth place team out of the Hex has a home and home playoff against New Zealand, er, Oceania. NZ was the only undefeated team in the last World Cup and would have advanced but they got screwed by the refs in their game against Italy, so they weren’t a pushover last time around.