FIFA World Cup 2014 at a Glance: Group A

In Group A it certainly looks like Brazil and Croatia will go through to the next round and there is where the real fun begins. The winner of the group will take on the runners up from Group B which should either be Spain or Netherlands. The runners up in Group A will face the winner of Group B which once again will be Spain or Netherlands. So the bottom line is that one of Brazil, Netherlands and Spain will be out of the tournament before the quarterfinals. Let than sink in for a moment.

FIFA World Cup 2014 - Group A

Team: Brazil

Manager: Luiz Felipe Scolari

Path to Qualification (Wins, Losses, Draws):

Brazil qualifies for the World Cup automatically as hosts. The qualification extends their record of being the only country in the world to have played in every single edition of soccer’s showpiece event.

The Game Changers:

There is plenty for Brazil and their fans to look forward to. Luiz Felipe Scolari, the man who led the Selecao to World Cup glory in 2002 returned to the dugout in 2012. He has set them up very well tactically and that will be a big asset when they come up against teams that’ll give them a tough time. Then, there are players like Neymar, Dani Alves, Oscar and Thiago Silva among others who play for some of the biggest clubs in the world. There is quite a lot of talent there and with the backing of a raucous home crowd, they certainly have enough in the tank to go all the way. Take a look at their Confederations Cup performances last year and you’ll see what I mean.

World Cup History:

Total Appearances: 20
Best Finish: Winners in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002

Prediction for the Group: Winner

The Brazilians will be favorites to get out of the group. They have the talent and one of the best squads in the world. With all due respect to Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon, I can see Brazil getting out of their group comfortably without losing a single game.

Interesting Fact:

Brazilians have won the World Cup on four different continents. They are the only team to achieve that.

Team: Croatia

Manager: Niko Kovac

Path to Qualification (Wins, Losses, Draws)

Croatia were up against Belgium, Serbia, Scotland, Macedonia and Wales during World Cup qualifications. They won five games, lost three and drew two out of their ten games, a record that was good enough to land them second spot in the group behind Belgium. Croatia were then pitted against Iceland in the playoffs and after drawing 0-0 in the first leg, they travelled to Iceland and came out on top with 2-0. That win sealed their place in the World Cup.

The Game Changers:

Mario Mandzukic
The Bayern Munich forward has once again been in scintillating form. He was instrumental in helping his club win the league title for the second year running. Mandzukic played twelve games for Croatia in qualification and was their leading goal scorer with four goals. He is the guy the Croats depend upon to score goals and this is his time to stand up and be counted at the biggest stage of them all.

Luka Modric
There is nothing little about this Real Madrid midfielder, especially when he gets the ball. He has an eye for that perfectly calculated pass and will see openings that not a lot of other players will. He has been a constant figure in the Madrid lineup this season and that is a testament to his incredible ability. Modric played in eleven of his country’s qualification games and was a huge factor in his country making it to the World Cup.

World Cup History:

Total Appearances: 4
Best Finish: Third Place in 1998

Prediction for the Group: Runner Up

Croatia have talent in their ranks and it will be interesting to see how they measure up against the likes of Brazil, Mexico and Cameroon in the group stages. They have enough in their squad to move ahead of Mexico and Cameroon in the pecking order and make it to the next round. Modric and Mandzukic, I feel will make the difference.

Interesting Fact:

Croatia’s coach Niko Kovac is one of their greatest ever player who was also the captain of his country’s national squad.

Team: Mexico

Manager: Miguel Herrera

Path to Qualification (Wins, Losses, Draws)

Mexico made it to the World Cup after a not so impressive qualification campaign. They finished their fourth round of qualification in the fifth spot with two wins, three losses and five draws in ten games. In the Intercontinental playoffs, they came up against New Zealand where the Mexicans racked up a 9-3 aggregate score once again.

The Game Changers:

Javier Hernandez and Giovani dos Santos are Mexico’s two biggest players and they need to do some serious damage for the Mexicans to make it out of the group.

World Cup History:

Total Appearances: 14
Best Finish: Quarterfinals in 1970 and 1986

Prediction for the Group: 3rd Runner Up

Mexico will have to post a win against either Croatia or Cameroon and draw another game to even sniff a chance to go to the next round. Apologies Mexico fans but I don’t see enough in the team to top both Croatia and Cameroon and join Brazil in the next round. Yes, soccer is a funny game but the odds are stacked against Mexico. They have some young talented players in their line-up but I think this World Cup is too early for them to make their mark.

Interesting Fact:

Mexico won the FIFA Confederations Cup in 1995 and became the only team representing the CONCACAF region to lift a FIFA title.

Team: Cameroon

Manager: Volker Finke

Path to Qualification (Wins, Losses, Draws)

Up against the likes of Libya, Congo DR and Togo in Group I in the qualification rounds, Cameroon won four games, lost one and drew one to advance to the final playoffs. Tunisia were their opponents at the stage and after drawing 0-0 away, they swatted their African counterparts aside 4-1 in the return leg to join 31 other teams in the World Cup.

The Game Changers:

Samuel Eto’o
Any team that has Samuel Eto’o is a serious threat. Unfortunately his best form is behind him. Make no mistake about it – Eto’o is still an exceptionally gifted player but he isn’t the player he was a few years back. He has lost his pace and a succession of niggling injuries has certainly hampered him. His experience on the big stage can certainly help his side so it will be fascinating to see how Eto’o turns up for what will surely be an amazing play.

Stephane Mbia, Jean Makoun and Alex Song
These three players will be integral when it comes to controlling the tempo of the game. All three have quite a lot of experience and if Cameroon are to make it to the next round they will have to control games in the middle of the pitch. The trio is a good mixture of pace, power and technical ability so their role will be absolutely critical when The Indomitable Lions step on to the field.

World Cup History

Total Appearances: 7
Best Finish: Quarterfinals in 1990

Prediction for the Group: 2nd Runner Up (Behind Croatia but only just)

Cameroon can make it to the next round but in my opinion Croatia will beat them to it. It is a close call for sure and the European’s firepower upfront tilts the balance in their favor. I think Croatia and Cameroon will both come unstuck against Brazil and will both beat Mexico which means the game between these two teams will be of extra significance. I won’t be surprised if Cameroon prove me wrong though.

Interesting Fact:

In 1990, Cameroon became the first team from Africa to make it to the quarterfinals of the World Cup.

Brazil should top Group A and that too quite comfortably. Croatia have the best squad out of the other three sides and I think they will make it to the Round of 16 as well behind the hosts. That is what it looks like on paper but then soccer isn’t played on paper and upsets do happen so it will be intriguing to see how the group shapes up.

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Ivy Oscar is a professional writer and blogger from Magnolia, Delaware. She likes to write about music, sports, celebrities and all the good things in life.
Categories: Soccer, Sports

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