The draw for the World Cup 2014 in Brazil was made yesterday, and there was some doom and gloom for some of the more fancied nations, as they ended up in some of the so called groups of death.
Millions of people across the world were on tenterhooks as the 32 nations involved were drawn out one by one. Pre-tournament favourites Brazil and the much fancied Argentina were licking their fingers after the draw, while England and USA will be bemoaning their luck as they are odds against getting out of their groups.
Let’s take a look at how the draw unfolded:
Hot on the success of their recent Confederations Cup victory in the summer, and with them being on home soil this year, Brazil go into the World Cup as 7/2 favourites with PaddyPower. With the likes of Neymar in scintillating form, there’s not many that would bet against them getting out of this group.
They are 1/4 to top the group, but I’ll be taking them at getting 9 points in the group stages at more attractive odds once they are released. Cameroon are a poor team, and Mexico really struggled to qualify needing a playoff win over New Zealand. Croatia finished 3rd in 1998 and they made have the tools to cause another shock this year, and I’ll expect them to qualify alongside Brazil.
Poor Australia must have fancied their chances of a run in the competition until the draw was made, but now they have little chance against 3 really good teams. We don’t need to remind you how good the defending champions Spain are, but they aren’t as potent as they were while lifting the Jules Rimet trophy in 2010.
Xavi and Spain needed extra time to beat Holland in the final of that 2010 World Cup and they won’t be thrilled to be in the same group as their European rivals, but Holland had a really poor performance in the 2012 Euros, so Chile may fancy their chances of causing an upset by getting out of this group.
With great young players like Alexis Sanchez and Mathias Fernandez, they showed how strong they are by playing England off the field in their recent friendly, so I’m taking Chile @ 6/5 with BetVictor to qualify from the group.
This is one of the more open groups of the World Cup. Columbia qualified in 2nd place in the South American and with the Monaco pairing of Falcao and Rodriguez, expectations will be high for the team to better their best World Cup performance of a last 16 place. Ivory Coast and Japan have both struggled for form with Ivory Coast coming through a poor group and Japan finishing 2nd behind Uzbekistan in the initial qualifying group before getting through a weak 2nd qualifying group. They also lost all 3 of their confederations Cup games in the summer. I’ll take Columbia to win the group @ 8/11 PaddyPower
The toughest group of the competition and even the most die hard English fan can’t fancy their chances here. Uruguay struggled a little in qualifying but Suarez and Cavani are one the best International striking partnerships in World football, and both are in great form.
They are the Copa America holders and will be boosted by the fact the competition is held in Brazil. Italy qualified with relative ease and they are always a danger and will no doubt be trying to match Brazil’s run of 5 World Cup triumphs.
England will struggle to cope with the teams in this group and they will do really well to escape but I don’t see them getting past the quarter final for only a 2nd time since they won it in 1966. Poor Costa Rica is all I can say.
Switzerland qualified with lots to spare, but in fairness, it didn’t take much to get out a group that had Iceland finish a comfortable 2nd. France are a shadow of their former selves and needed to come back from a 2-0 first leg deficit against Ukraine in the playoffs to secure qualification.
They are installed as 11/13 favourites to top the group which shows how open it is. Ecuador lost 5 of their 16 qualifying games and finished with a +4 goal difference and still got through, but they are better than that. Honduras are in as they qualified behind USA and Costa Rica, but ahead of Mexico. Good luck to them, I’m sure they’ll enjoy their time but don’t see them getting much from it even though they got a decent group draw.
Bosnia & Herzegovina
If Carlsberg did group draws…. This is just too easy for Argentina. They could barely have handpicked a better group than this. They topped their world cup qualifying group with ease and they have a lot of star performers like Messi, Aguero and Higuain but their suspect defence won’t be tested until they play some better opposition.
Bosnia are making their first appearance in a World Cup and came through a relatively comfortable group with Greece. I feel Iran and Nigeria are just making up the numbers and full expect Argentina to top the group with 2/7 Coral and Bosnia to qualify @ Evs with SkyBet
Ghana can count themselves very unlucky to end up in this group. They would have been amongst the favourites to qualify from their group if the draw had been kinder, but now they must overcome the might of Germany and Portugal to book their place in the knock out phase.
Germany were in immaculate form winning 9 and drawing 1 of their 10 qualifying games and are a worth a punt @ 6/1 to win the World Cup for a 4th time. In Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal have the key that could unlock some riches, but the problem is that he is so heavily relied on. If he’s off the boil, so are Portugal. USA must be cursing their luck. They face the biggest uphill battle of all the teams from Pot 3.
Jurgen Klinsmann (pictured) took time to settle in as coach, but in the end, they got to Brazil without breaking too much of a sweat, and whoever can pick up 3 points when US meet Ghana, could be in with a chance if they can sneak a result against Portugal. Germany to top the group @ 8/13 with PaddyPower is the safer option for this group.
Congratulations Belgium, you run good. They would have snapped the hands off this group before the draw began. A lot of people’s fancy for this year with so much up and coming talent, it’s time for Eden Hazard (right) and the Belgians to take centre stage and I’m expecting big things from them so 4/6 to top the group with SkyBet is my money shot.
Algeria didn’t perform at the African Nations and needed away goals against Burkina Faso to qualify so I’ll be looking to take a bet on them getting 0 points. Russia and South Korea make up the group. Russia haven’t made it out of their group since 1996 although they did top their qualifying group ahead of Portugal so should really have enough to qualify from this group @ 8/15 with Ladbrokes.