It's only right that the Man On The Post hosts give their views on the 2014 World Cup.
Who will win?
Let us know who you think will win the World Cup? Share your thoughts with us on this site or tweet us @manonthepost
Mark Godfrey @TheFootballPink
This must be one of the most open and difficult to call World Cups that I can remember. Spain don’t seem to be giving off the air of supreme confidence they have done in recent times while hosts and bookies favourites Brazil don’t ooze with the flair and style you associate with the great teams of their past. However, this newer, more functional Brazil should make it pretty deep into the tournament under Big Phil Scolari, who knows exactly what it takes to win the whole damn thing.
The Italians are probably the side that are an outside bet to do very well. They’re grossly overpriced at the bookies given their ability to do it when it counts at the big tournaments, even when their squads are almost always written off before the competition even begins. But for the winners I’m going to tip up Germany to become the first European nation to win the World Cup in South America.
They have class and top quality options throughout their squad and even though a lot of their players are still relatively young, they have the ability, and more importantly the experience, to cope with the immense pressures of World Cup football. I’d be surprised if they didn’t make the final at least with players like Lahm, Schweinsteiger, Muller, Gotze, Kroos and Reus – even if they can occasionally be suspect in defence.
Colin Sowerby @cas707
It’s been 36 years since Argentina ‘78 - the last time the World Cup was held in South America. There are a lot of unknowns in Brazil ‘14 - the weather conditions (sweaty?), the pitches (bouncy?), the ball (swervy?). I think this will have a huge effect on who the winner will be.
My prediction is England.
17 players who featured in Capello’s 23 man squad for South Africa have not made it into Hodgson’s. That’s a major overhaul and it’s only when you compare the 2 squads that you truly realise how far England have evolved.
The impressive performances of most notably Liverpool, but also Everton and Southampton have helped to provide a rather sparkling and refreshing England starting XI. Going forward is where the Three Lions are at their most dangerous. Impressive flank play, the ability to score from outside the box and a pacey midfield are key attributes.
England’s first task will be to get out of a very competitive Group D and I think they will. Yes it will be tough for England. But look at it this way, Costa Rica, Italy and Uruguay did not want to see England drawn in their group either.
Adam Scott-Allen @adamsa101
Adam Scott-Allen @adamsa101
Why I think Spain will win the World Cup… again.
People keep questioning their methods and claiming they’re past there best. People question their lack of centre forward and the use of a false 9. People doubted them at Euro 2012 and they made history. Not just that, but they did it in style, destroying Italy in the final. now watch them write their name in history as the greatest international team there has ever been.
People will come at you with the stat that no European team has ever won the World Cup in South America. This is pointless stat that when given a little background is shown to be almost irrelevant. The last time the World Cup a was held in South America was back in 1978 in Argentina. There the political situation gave the hosts a pretty clear competitive edge. One they definitely took advantage of. The next is Chile in 1962 and after that we have Brazil in 1950 and Uruguay in 1930. I think its safe to say that since the 50’s and 60’s the advances in travel and sports science have made acclimatisation that much easier. Besides, if a European team were to win in 2014 Europe would have a record of 1 win in 5 South American hosted tournaments. South American teams are currently 1 for 10 in Europe. No one says they can't win in Europe.
Spain wont be a stranger to the heat but the humidity may take some adjusting. However their famous tiki taka, while “dead”, will give them a huge advantage in these conditions. Its a lot harder when you haven't got the ball and especially when the other team have to chase the ball at the pace Spain circulate it. While it may be interesting to see how effective Diego Costa may be in the limited space the Spain midfield give him to operate in. Vincent Del Bosque is no stranger to switching to a false 9 and utilising Cese Fabregas through the middle this could be a more than adequate plan B.
The only team I could see able to dismantle Spain was Brazil however I feel they have played their ace card too early in the Confederations Cup final. That tournament allowed Spain to get used to the conditions. Not just the weather but also the fierce home support. Spain were clearly fazed by that atmosphere in the Maracana last June. Brazil hit them straight out the blocks and for once Spain were the deer caught in the head lights, On the 13th July 2014 I expect a very different result.