It is with great joy that I am finally able to share this short excerpt from my first post for the Cincinnati Enquirer/Cincinnati.com, my hometown newspaper. This series of ‘World Cup 2014 Top 5 Lists’ will also be featured alongside a longer article introducing the World Cup in this Sunday print edition of the Enquirer. To read it in it’s entirety, please click here or click the link at the end of the post.
Top 5 Teams to Watch at Brazil 2014
All the traditional powers will be in attendance, but not all of them are favorites to win the tournament.Wrong Side of the Pond’s D.J. Switzer gives us a rundown on five nations to keep an eye on in Brazil.
5) England: Home to the wildly popular Premier League, England is full of names familiar to the casual soccer fan like Wayne Rooney, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard. However, the Three Lions have struggled to make any real impact on the big stage for a quarter century. A class of new faces will hope to make a splash in Brazil and put them back on the map.
4) Argentina: The two-time winners in the famous light blue and white stripes feature a vaunted attack with three of the games’ most prolific forwards: Gonzalo Higuaín, Sergio Agüero and Lionel Messi. Whether they can get the most out of them remains to be seen.
3) Belgium: Never a winner of the World Cup — their best finish was 4th in 1986 — 2014 might be Belgium’s best chance to do so. With a team chock full of young talent, the Belgians are considered the dark horse at this year’s finals.
2) Spain: With La Furia Roja the current World Cup holders and reigning back-to-back European champions, you might think they’re shoe-ins to be favorites this summer. And while that’s not totally wrong, the core of their team is getting on in years and no team has repeated as champions since Brazil did it in 1962.
1) Brazil: Since hosts don’t have to qualify, there are question marks over how prepared Brazil are to claim their record sixth title on home soil. And considering they lost the title in the championship match the last time they hosted in 1950, the pressure is on for a country that considers itself to be the spiritual home of the soccer.
Other lists in this post on Cincinnati.com include:
- Top 5 Players to Watch at Brazil 2014
- Top 5 Matches to Watch in the World Cup’s First Round
- Top 5 Places to Watch the World Cup in Cincinnati