World Cup 2014: Why no-one can stop Brazil in 2014
With Euro 2012 riding off into the sunset and the superb Spaniards officially crowning themselves the greatest national team of all time by clinching an unprecedented third consecutive major trophy, focus has now shifted to qualification for the next World Cup and talk of the competition itself and who will be victorious in 2014 has begun.
The word on everybody’s lips at present is Spain, and deservedly so. Their devastating demolition of the Italians in the final was a cold blooded reminder to the world (and in particular one Arsene Wenger whose misplaced criticism couldn’t have been more poorly timed) that this Spanish team is the real deal.
The imperious midfield partnership of Xavi and Iniesta made the previously formidable combination of Danielle De Rossi and Andrea Pirlo look like that of a Sunday league pub team.
So the betting man’s money will go on Spain, but my prediction is that the Spanish will come unstuck in 2014 and the host nation Brazil will be victorious, and here’s why.
Firstly, in order to win any major tournament regardless of a team’s abilities, there has to be an element of luck involved. Let’s not forget at one point in the Euros, when Spain played Croatia in a hard fought contest, had results in other games gone against them and they hadn’t seen off Croatia in the dying minutes, they could well have been on their way home before the knock-out stages even began.
Then, against Portugal, there was a penalty shootout (which unless you’re English is always a lottery). It’s difficult to see their luck holding out in a fourth consecutive tournament.
Not even the Spanish will be ready for the blistering temperatures Brazil has to offer. Only the South American teams will be suitably acclimatised to perform to the best of their abilities in 2014. Yet with the exception of Argentina, whose climate is significantly cooler than that of Brazil, it is hard to make an argument for any of these teams winning the World Cup.
From the four previous tournaments played in South America each winner was a South American nation suggesting that the heat is too big an obstacle for European teams to overcome.
But with most of the Brazilian team plying their trade in their homeland, they will be only team capable of winning the tournament that won’t be affected in some way by the scorching temperatures.
At the tender age of 20, Neymar Da Silva Santos Junior is already one of the most sought after players on the planet. In 2011 he was crowned both South American player of the year and winner of the Puskas Award (the award for the best goal in the world for a season).
His eye-catching performances and deadly finishing for Santos have alerted the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona and there are rumours a deal has been struck to take him to the Camp Nou in 2013 for a fee of around 60 million euros.
Given the talent he has already demonstrated, a season with the likes of Barcelona’s finest, coupled with the fact he’ll have another two years’ experience under his belt, and the Neymar of 2014 should be an even more deadly proposition than the one of today – meaning sleepless nights for the defenders in the World Cup.
Raw talent would perhaps be the best way to describe Lucas Moura. Often compared to a young Cristiano Ronaldo due to his blistering pace, eye-catching tricks and occasional self-indulgence, the 19-year-old attacking midfielder from Sao Paulo has the potential to become a modern day great.
With the right coaching and guidance nothing should prevent Lucas from reaching his massive potential and with a deal to take him to Manchester united (the team that transformed Ronaldo from a skilful yet frustrating player into the winner of the Ballon D’or) rumoured to be close, he should receive the help he needs to become a wonderful player.
The 2014 World Cup could be a very big tournament for him and should be a platform to show the world just how accomplished a player he has become.
A towering physical presence at the centre of Brazil’s defence, Dede has become the back bone of the Brazilian national teams rear-guard and has quickly established himself as a fan’s favourite and an idol for supporters of both the national team and his club team, Vasco Da Gama.
Considered to be the best defender in the Brazilian league and sometimes compared to a youthful Rio Ferdinand, Dede is both comfortable on the ball and tough-tackling and uncompromising off it.
Should he stay injury free before the next World Cup, his presence in the team will be vital and his probable partnership with Thiago Silva could very well be the best centre back pairing on display at the tournament.
The home crowd
The importance football has to the Brazilian public is immense. It is the nation’s most popular sport yet it stretches much further than that statement. It is embedded into Brazilian culture and viewed as an art, performed by showmen.
During the World Cup all workers in Brazil stop their duties in order to watch the game and even banks shut three hours prior to a game to allow their workers time to prepare for the match.
With this kind of support comes pressure and it remains to be seen whether the team can cope with this amount of expectation, but pressure is nothing new to the Brazilian national side and in the past they have prevailed and gone on to win numerous World Cups and Copa Americas.
If they can use the phenomenal support they are sure to receive to their advantage and Neymar, Lucas and Dede perform well surely no-one can stop the Brazilians in 2014 and when the tournament comes to its conclusion on July 13, 2014, in Rio De Janeiro, the samba drum will beat louder than ever before and the party will begin.