Every Major competition always starts with the same question “Who is the favorite to win the World cup this year?” Well the answer could be complicated. In the end it will all come down to who played the best, who was the most solid team and who answered best to the challenges that the road to success put in front of them.
Looking at the past, there are always the historical favorites: Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Spain or maybe an outsider will come and sneak the title away from the current favorites like Portugal, Uruguay, USA (with Jürgen Klinsmann as a coach anything is possible!).
Looking at the future, I can see teams from Africa being major competition for the teams in Europe and Americas this World Cup. African players come with experience, strength, knowledge and determination this year. The main question is will they have everything that it takes to win the competition? I’ll let you answer this question.
As a small note, I would like to say the African Continent is 4th in ranking of bringing players to Europe. Out of these players, I would say that maybe 30 or 40% could be considered key performers for their teams, and maybe 3 or 4% of these plays at the highest level (those ending up playing in teams like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, etc.) Naming a few of these African memorable players (some still playing, some retired): Drogba, Anelka, Asamoah, Lucas Radebe, Kanu, Yeboah, Hossam Hassan, Michael Essien, Samuel Eto’o, Jay-Jay Okocha, Roger Milla, and George Weah.
Returning to the topic in hand, there are several other viable candidates for the win which I will touch upon now. I am sure others may have favorites but looking at the past years, these countries appeal to me as the ones to watch.
In my opinion, the favorite is the Bi-European champions and defending World Cup champion: Spain. This team has the means, the players, and the determination! They have constructed a team that is accustomed to playing as a unified team with a few additional players. Let me explain.
Spain is a team where most of their players play in Barcelona or Real Madrid. The remaining players come from smaller Spanish clubs, and then you have 3 or 4 players that come from other countries clubs. Any National coach would be happy to gather teams like this, since the players already know each other well. The squad could play to each other with their eyes closed; they know the routines, strengths and weaknesses of their teammates. All the coach has to do is train the newcomers on how best to integrate into the team and say “let’s play this and win.” With this said, I believe Spain is the main candidate to win the World Cup again this year.
Another strong candidate for the win is Brazil. This year they will be playing at home, in front of their fans. They have a great coach, Luiz Felipe Scolari (AKA: Felipao), who took Portugal to the first final ever in a European Championship in 2004. More than this, he motivated and instigated the Portuguese to support their national team like I have never seen before. The question right now is: will he be able to do the same thing for Brazil? If he does, then I can see Brazil being the 2nd most likely to win the competition.
Now I have to talk about Italy, who has a young team and like Spain, most of them play in their home countries teams . The only problem Italy has is that the players are a little more spread through the different Italian clubs. Therefore, the coach will be responsible for gathering the best players, finding where each player will perform at his best in relation to the rest of the teammates and teaching the playbook (which takes more time than anything else). Let see how Italy does. I would put them in 3rd most likely to win the competition.
Other countries, like Argentina and Portugal, will have a very similar problem. Which is having their players too spread out within other European leagues. The questions for these teams will be: Who will learn the routines faster? Who will become a TEAM faster?
In the end, the winner will be who wants the title more and who will give all they have on the field every game. This will be the Champion of Champions for 2014.