Sports

World Cup forecasts...

Paige Doherty of the North Enderby Celtics wears a Portugal jersey but picks Brazil to win the 2014 World Cup. - Lisa Vandervelde/Morning Star
Paige Doherty of the North Enderby Celtics wears a Portugal jersey but picks Brazil to win the 2014 World Cup.
— image credit: Lisa Vandervelde/Morning Star

AC Milan and Italy striker Mario Balotelli took some time off from World Cup preparations to propose to his gorgeous girlfriend Fanny Neguesha.

Stay away from betting any Euros on the Italians. It’s obvious Balotelli is not focused on the World Cup. Go with Brazil instead.

Please read on for other choices from various soccer fanatics around town....

Jim MottusBrazil – home team, big pressure on them but they will come through with all their talent. Neymar and the other big names will come to play and bring the cup home. Longshot: England – Better team than some think. Lots of talent just have not brought it together for a long time. Maybe with Hodgson at the wheel and a few good breaks...

Cayleigh Graham: I think Brazil is going to win because they’re finally at home and most teams have their best potential at home games. Also, Brazil is a tougher team in every World Cup and brings competition for the opponent; they aren’t an easy win for another team. I think it’s their turn to win it and have their revenge. My sleeper pick is Chile.

Ron Krause: Of course I’m picking Germany (defeating Argentina). They have the depth, confidence and momentum from not losing any of their qualifiers. My darkhorse pick is Belgium.

Rodney Goodchild: I think Argentina will win.  It is certainly not a creative choice, but I think the accurate one.  They have a player in Lionel Messi who, is head and shoulders in quality above the rest of the world.  His is also supported with an all-star cast of Aguero, Higuain, Di Maria and Zabaleta. Brazil will be the favourites, and quite rightly so, but the weight of expectation from a nation could be their downfall.  Sleeper is Colombia.  When a team loses their star player (Falcao to injury in Colombia’s case), they have a tendency to dig in a little deeper.

Steve Coombs:  Sentimentally, young England will do better than expected. Germany looked good at the last World Cup on home turf but have not done well since. So Brazil, at home, gets the nod for me with Belgium as the surprise team as long as they don’t get any nocks or injuries.

Andrea Zubot: Brazil beats either Argentina or Germany. Sleeper: Colombia could do really well in their draw, and yet another good jersey. Germany looks strong although there is not enough colour in their jersey. The Netherlands have the best coloured jersey. Bright orange, nice and easy to see anywhere on the field. Word is Italy is getting old, but I say with age comes wisdom, but maybe some recklessness with their youth? The “Messi” look is in with Argentina. I’ve always liked their jerseys even though they’re not bright colours.

Bill Graham: Argentina will win it; this is going to be a non-defensive World Cup with loads of goals, and they have the most potent offence.  Sleeper is Belgium, easy path to round of 16 and they have a lot EPL (English Premier League) talent.

Paige Doherty: I’m going with Brazil because of the home crowds for sure. Between the home advantage and their skill, they have enough incentive to play with fire and keep the cup in their country. Sleeper: Uruguay.

Erick Burnet: Argentina is going to win, because they have Messi and Angel Di Maria and play close to home. A World Cup win is the only thing missing on Messi’s resume. Sleeper: Belgium of course. They never had so much talent in their World Cup and Europa Cup teams. Nobody outside the Netherlands is expecting much from the Dutch team, but they have one of the best coaches in the world and they will be playing a fairly new 5-3-2 formation style that will be working great for them. All that being said, never rule out the Germans.

Steve Fitzpatrick: Getting out of the Group stages is the first of many obstacles that make the World Cup such a beauty to watch. Luck plays a huge part as any Italian fan will attest as Italy have time and again started off slow in the World Cup, barely scraping through the group stages before mounting a real challenge. They have won the trophy a total four times, but this time around Italy will not get out of their group.  It’s also a fact that no European team has won the World Cup in South America. The team with the most talent, namely Lionel Messi and Sergio Aquero, will deliver this year for Argentina. Sleeper: England. I hear they have been working on their penalty taking.

Carli Tingstad: My pick has to be Brazil. Last time Brazil hosted the World Cup, they only managed to be runner-up. They have an experienced group and are looking to impress the home fans. They will be a force to be reckoned with trying to become the seventh host team to ever win the world cup. Sleeper: Belgium.

Tyler Johnson: I think it will be a Spain vs Brazil final. Brazil is the home team and they play forward game. Pound balls towards the net. Plus Neymar is awesome.Spain has proven they are a top team in whatever they play in. They are fundamentally fun to watch. Triangles and short thru balls make them impossible to contain. Plus their Sworm defense. I like the Socceroos. I just like saying the name. They are fun because they are just happy to be there. They can make people be honest.

Paul Morgan: I like Germany’s chances (big boys, deep bench, best goalie in the world in Neuer according to my son Kevin (“Holy Moly what a goalie” Morgan), But I will go with Spain. Top-to-bottom, their 23-man roster is talented, creative, and great to watch. A Spain-Brazil final would be a thrilla-in-brazilla. Long shot: Lets go with the Netherlands. If RVP is healthy, they can upset some teams.

Brent Poulsen: I’m going to have to pick Germany. They have a super strong backline and well balanced midfield which will shut teams down with lots of goals coming from the midfield of Kroos, Gotzemueller and Schweinsteiger. My sleeper pick is Uruguay, not so much a sleeper but rarely mentioned when coming to a World Cup champion. A strong forward line of Suarez, Cavani and Diego Forlan means lots of goals and that’s what I like.

Henk Bosman: I hope for the Dutch but have to pick Brazil as the favourite. There is the home advantage which is huge in a South American country. And they have the new kid on the block, Neymar. It also seems that out of all favourites, they are not missing key players, as is France (Ribery), Germany (Reus) and The Netherlands (Strootman). Sleeper country: Belgium.

Jason Beck: Brazil wins. They have the firepower and being the host country, they will thrive off the energy of their fans.  It is just a matter of whether they can handle the pressure of being the host team.  I believe a sleeper team to watch out for is Uruguay.  They are in the pool with Italy and England which, as we all know, are World Cup powerhouses but I think they are a team that has the tools to come out on top of that pool and pull off an upset.

John Burns: Brazil beats Germany. Home ground; supporters will make a huge difference as a 12th man. A lot of very skilled young players on a team expected to win and that will play mind games on the opposition before they start. Germany hitting their prime at the right time. A very good defence, great on the breakaways. Their downfall will be the extreme heat and humidity. Sleeper: Netherlands.

 

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