Aside that they are the current holders of the confederations cup, the samba boys have won the world cup on three occasions, which ultimately certify Brazil as one of the favorites of the FIFA world cup, which will be hosted in their home.
The host will parade a star studded squad of which more than 80% are exceptional for their clubs. And for Coach Luis Filipe Scolari, he will have to tame his team to perfection. All eyes will be on Neymar, who will be expected to re-ignite his confederations heroics when he single handedly won Brazil the Confed Cup against Spain in the final. Although he would love to have his memory wiped off unsuccessful debut season in Barcelona, scoring a paltry 9goals. Same should be said of Oscar, who didn’t have much playing time due to a drop in form in the latter stages of last season. Both players will have to work in tune with the workaholic Willian, Ramirez, dynamic Fernandinho in the midfield, to feed off to the forward line of Hulk, Fred. So much is said about the south Americans attack line but it gets even better with their defence, which is lethal enough to withstand any test posed by opponents, in there is Dani Alves, Barcelona bound David Luis, Marcelo, Lucas, Dante and Henrique. It would be a shocker if Brazil do not finish top of the group.
Croatia are the most tricky of the lot in this group, and are more likely to come in second behind the host, has they have shown during the qualifying round, where they qualified only second behind Belgium. With few star players to show for as opposed to the Brazilians, the Croats have the services of fluid players such as Mario Mandzukic, Luka modric who had a fantastic season with Madrid this past season, and will profit from the tenacity of Ivan Rakitic, who helped Sevilla to Europa cup title. If their big players can take the responsibility that awaits them in the matches, and play in check with other worthy players who have proven over time to ship in the much needed goals, that’s where Nika Jelavic comes into play, he’s big, strong and beast for goals. Should these work out well, they might jes nick that second spot below probable table toppers – Brazil. And what way to be in shape than to start off with a 2-1 win over Mali even if its in a pre-world cup match.
Miguel Herrera’s boys are unbeaten in their last 6 matches, matches which includes Uruguay, Argentina and the Netherlands, and keeping 3 clean sheets in the process. That’s a good record to take into a world cup; the Mexicans are a tough cookie to play against as they are fast, compact and difficult to break down. And this incredible stats has set them up nicely to fight for a place in the top two, doing so without a string of big time players, Leaving the coach no other choice than to wound up the team around Manchester united out of favor player Javier Hernandez (chicharito), Villarreal’s forward man Giovanni dos Santo and Porto goalkeeper Hector Herrera who’s not 100% fit to play at the moment. The El tri will feel hard done by as they will be missing star Luiz Montes , the striker had his leg bent over like a banana during a pre-world cup match against Ecuador, and is expected to be out for three weeks, automatically ruling him out of the world cup. Even with their recent success at the 2012 Olympics and the promotion of younger players through the ranks, the Mexicans chances of qualifying to the next round is bleak, except for a miracle.
It is 24 years on and the Indomitable lions of Cameroun are still on a quest to replicate or supersede their quarter final feat at a world cup. There is no prize for guessing that Samuel Eto’o is the star player of the team, the illustrious Captain will be playing a career fourth world cup, and would be expected to shine, by putting his flair for goal scoring back on board, its imperative to note that he’s the highest goal scorer for country with 47 goals from 87 matches. His involvement will be great motivating factor for the team. Coach Volker Finke will look to 22 year old Lorient prodigy, Vincent Aboubakar, to rack in the needed goals, after scoring 16 goals for his club in the past season. Stephan Mbia ‘s Europa cup title heroics for Sevilla will be much needed, but there is Alex Song to bother about, though unsung at Barcelona at the moment but can always be relied on to effectively shield the back four like a mother hen to her eggs. The West Africans have a lot of work on their hands if they are to get to the next round. If Eto’o is treated like a king, he will deliver the royalty with goals because he is the ultimate man aside untested Aboubakar.
Written by Adebayo Latipha