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2014 FIFA World Cup Preview and Initial thoughts

Electric.. Pulsating.. Emotional.. Enthralling.. Drama.. are great words to describe the atmosphere of the majority of sporting events worldwide. This lucky scribe is fortunate enough to have the chance to experience this atmosphere at its highest possible level by attending the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

From a young child I have always watched the World Cups on TV, and said to myself “One day I’m going to go, One Day!”. This “One Day” is now upon me, as in a little over 4 days i’ll be in Brazil experiencing all the sights and sounds a World Cup has to offer. The decision to go to this World Cup was made in my mind while watching the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In particular during Australia’s First Match in that tournament against Germany. I like many others across Australia, stayed up late with a group of friends to watch the match on TV. Whilst we lost the game 4-0 to the Germans and played fairly abysmally, i knew in that moment that I must attend the next World Cup to show my colours and support for our national team.

After a rather exhausting and long application process for tickets, i’m ecstatic to be in attendance at all the group games Australia play.

From that point in time in 2010, its been a topsy turvy ride for many Socceroos fans due to our road of qualification to Brazil and the departure of Holger Osieck. I could go into the journey of the qualification for the Socceroos qualification, but i wont. Its just best to say, we made it and deserve/earned the right to be there.

Lets have a look at our group and the matches ahead of the Socceroos.

(The Days and Kick Off times below are based on Adelaide times,)

Saturday 14th June - Kick Off 7am @ Arena Pantanal (Cuiaba)
Chile vs Australia
Odds: Chile - $1.50, Draw - $4.00, Australia - $7.50

Thursday 19th June - Kick Off 1am @ Estadio Beira-Rio (Porto Alegre)
Australia vs Netherlands
Odds: Australia - $10.00, Draw - $4.60, Netherlands - $1.36

Tuesday 24th June - Kick Off 1am @ Arena da Baixada (Curitiba)
Australia vs Spain
Odds: Australia - $15.00, Draw - $6.00, Spain - $1.22

As you can see Australia have their work cut out for them! Three tough games. For those who don’t know much about football and may be thinking Chile! we should be able to beat Chile.....! Sorry to burst your bubble... Chile is a very strong side and clear favourites to beat the Socceroos. The first game will be the big one for the Socceroos. If they can manage a result in their first game it will place emmence pressure on the Netherlands in the second game. The Dutch play Spain in their first game of the Tournament (a rematch of the final of 2010 World Cup) and i’m expecting Spain to win that game. This makes the game against the Socceroos as their crucial game to progress out of the group. Australia have a good recent record against the Dutch and i honestly believe there is a good chance of a Draw in that match. Australia’s last game against Spain..... expect goals. You can read into that what you will..

lets have a look at the squads for Group B. (Players club side are in brackets)

Coach: Jorge Sampaoli

Colours: White/Red/Blue

23 Man Squad
Goalkeepers: Claudio Bravo (Real Sociedad), Johnny Herrera (Universidad de Chile), Cristopher Toselli (Universidad Catolica)

Defenders: Gary Medel (Cardiff City), Jose Rojas (Universidad de Chile), Eugenio Mena (Santos), Gonzalo Jara (Nottingham Forest)

Midfielders: Arturo Vidal (Juventus), Mauricio Isla (Juventus), Marcelo Diaz (Basel), Francisco Silva (Osasuna), Felipe Gutierrez (FC Twente), Jose Pedro Fuenzalida (Colo Colo), Carlos Carmona (Atalanta), Jean Beausejour (Wigan), Charles Aranguiz (Internacional), Miiko Albornoz (Malmo).

Forwards: Alexis Sanchez (Barcelona), Eduardo Vargas (Valencia), Jorge Valdivia (Palmeiras), Mauricio Pinilla (Cagliari), Esteban Paredes (Colo Colo), Fabian Orellana (Celta Vigo)
Players to Watch out for: Arturo Vidal, Alexis Sanchez, Claudio Bravo

Surprise selection: Miiko Albornoz

Unlucky to Miss Out: Humberto Suazo & David Pizarro

My predicted Top goal Scorer: Eduardo Vargas

Talking Point: The major talking point for Chile is the fitness of Arturo Vidal. The Juventus Midfielder is a key cog in the Chilean midfield due to his excellent passing and creative presence. He has been named in the 23 man squad, however Vidal only had surgery on his right knee two weeks ago so there must be some doubts over is fitness.


Coach: Louis Van Gaal

Colours: Orange/Blue

23 Man Squad
Goalkeepers: Jasper Cillessen (Ajax), Tim Krul (Newcaste United), Michel Vorm (Swansea City)

Defenders: Daley Blind (Ajax), Daryl Janmaat (Feyenoord), Terence Kongolo (Feyenoord), Bruno Martins Indi (Feyenoord), Joel Veltman (Ajax), Paul Verhaegh (FC Augsburg), Ron Vlaar (Aston Villa), Stefan de Vrij (Feyenoord)

Midfielders: Jordy Clasie (Feyenoord), Leroy Fer (Norwich City), Jonathan De Guzman (Swansea City), Nigel de Jong (AC Milan), Wesley Sneijder (Galatasaray), Georginio Wijnaldum (PSV Eindhoven)

Forwards: Memphis Depay (PSV Eindhoven), Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke 04), Dirk Kuyt (Fenerbahce), Jeremain Lens (Dynamo Kiev), Robin van Persie (Manchester United), Arjen Robben (Bayern Munich)
Players to Watch out for: Arjen Robben, Robin van Persie, Wesley Sneijder

Surprise Selection: Dirk Kuyt

Unlucky to Miss out: Kevin Strootman - Injured

My Predicted Top Goal Scorer: Robin van Persie.

Talking Point: Can Wesley Sneijder re-capture the form of the previous world cup? Since his move to Galatasaray in the Turkish league his career has stalled in my opinion. There has been glimpses of his previous form, but at his best is devastating with his passing game. If he can provide service to RVP and Robben... look out!


Coach: Vicente del Bosque

Colours: Red

23 Man Squad
Goalkeepers: Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Pepe Reina (Napoli), David de Gea (Manchester United)

Defenders: Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Gerard Pique (Barcelona), Jordi Alba (Barcelona), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Javi Martinez (Bayern Munich), Raul Albiol (Napoli), Juanfran Torres (Atletico Madrid).

Midfielders: Sergio Busquets (Barcelona), Xavi Hernandez (Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Cesc Fabregas (Barcelona), Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid), Koke Resurreccion (Atletico Madrid), David Silva (Manchester City), Juan Mata (Manchester United), Santi Cazorla (Arsenal).

Forwards: Pedro Rodriguez (Barcelona), Diego Costa (Atletico Madrid), David Villa (Atletico Madrid), Fernando Torres (Chelsea).
Players to Watch Out for: Diego Costa

Surprise Selection: Fernando Torres

Unlucky to Miss: Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo

My Predicted Top Goal Scorer: David Villa

Talking Point: The Selection of Fernando Torres and the omission of Alvaro Negredo. Torres looked very unlikely to score for most of the year at Chelsea, where he only scored 11 Goals in all competitions. Compare that to Negredo’s 9 goals in all competitions for Manchester City in less games makes for interesting reading.. The other talking point is the inclusion of Diego Costa, under an injured cloud.


Coach: Ange Postecoglou

Colours: Green/Gold/Blue

23 Man Squad

Goalkeepers: Mat Ryan (Club Brugge), Mitchell Langerak (Borussia Dortmund), Eugene Galekovic (Adelaide United).

Defenders: Ivan Franjic (Brisbane Roar), Jason Davidson (Heracles Almelo), Matthew Spiranovic (Western Sydney Wanderers), Bailey Wright (Preston North End), Alex Wilkinson (Jeonbuk Motors), Ryan McGowan (Shandong Luneng)

Midfielders: Mile Jedinak (Crystal Palace), Mark Milligan (Melbourne Victory), James Holland (Austria Vienna), Massimo Luongo (Swindon Town), Oliver Bozanic (Luzern), Matt McKay (Brisbane Roar), Mark Bresciano (Al-Gharafa)

Forwards: Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Dario Vidosic (Sion), Tommy Oar (FC Utrecht), James Troisi (Melbourne Victory), Ben Halloran (Fortuna Dusseldorf), Adam Taggart (Newcastle Jets), Mathew Leckie (FSV Frankfurt)

Players to Watch: Tommy Oar, James Troisi, Mathew Leckie

Surprise Selection: Bailey Wright

Unlucky to Miss: Josh Kennedy

My Predicted Top Goal Scorer: Mathew Leckie

Talking Point: Where to Start? This will be a very youthful side with lightning quick forwards. May struggle for scoring opportunities and will definitely need to take every chance they get. If we know anything about Ange’s Sides its that they play an attractive brand of Football. The big test... will it stand up against the likes of Spain, Netherlands and Chile... time will tell.

My further thoughts will follow along the tour of Brazil with the Fanatics. Stay tuned throughout Australia’s Campaign where i’ll be sharing some highlights of the tour and thoughts on the games.
Bye for Now.

Thu 05/06/2014 Russell Cochrane 0 views

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