Wednesday, January 23, 2013

5 Biggest Nations Who Might Miss Out - Brazil 2014

The 2014 World Cup is now just 18 months away, with 31 places remaining to join host nation Brazil at world football's biggest and most prestigious competition.
In some continents' qualifying competitions, it is simply too early to cast judgement on the possible winners and losers. However, in Europe and South America we are reaching the halfway stage and starting to gain an idea of which countries are set to qualify.
While I must stress that this is still guesswork, to some extent, let's take a look at five well-respected footballing nations who face challenges to qualifying for the 2014 World Cup.

The South American qualifying section is a long, drawn-out affair with all the continent's sides playing out what is effectively a nine-team league campaign.

Now, with nine of 16 rounds already completed, we are starting to get an idea of how the competition is finally shaping up, with Argentina, Colombia and Ecuador currently flying high.
However, for Copa America champions Uruguay, the picture is not so bright.
La Celeste currently lie fifth, in a playoff position, level on points with both Chile and Venezuela. In their next four games, Uruguay face difficult away trips to both their major rivals for qualification, as well as a visit to Lima to face Peru.
First up for Uruguay is a fixture at home to Paraguay which is now a must-win encounter ahead of the three long journeys.
Fail to win the game in Montevideo, or lose to both their major rivals, and Uruguay could be cast adrift in the race for Brazil 2014 with games to spare.

Portugal are already facing a massive challenge to qualify for Brazil 2014, finding themselves lying in third place in their group with four of 10 fixtures already played.
Five points behind leaders Russia, it already looks a major challenge for the Iberians to qualify automatically. However, level with Israel on seven points, it will be far from straightforward to even ensure a playoff spot.
Portugal have recent history of qualifying for major tournaments through the playoff process, but they face six gruelling matches, including visits to some of Europe's more distant outposts, before they even reach that stage.
Should they reach that point, there are always risks attached with relying on a knockout tie to progress to the finals.

It seems very harsh to describe a side who are currently unbeaten in their qualification campaign as candidates to miss out on the World Cup.
Unfortunately for France, though, they are in the same group as reigning champions Spain, with only one side progressing automatically to the finals.
France may have drawn away to their major rivals. However, in spite of that result, recent years would suggest that the Spaniards remain favourite for progression.
Should that be the case, then France will have to deal with the potentially difficult process of the playoffs and whatever opposition that entails.
Didier Deschamps appears to have got a decent balance to his side and is moving in the right direction. Their second seed status, though, could come back to haunt them if they fail in the playoff stages.

To date, Paraguay have qualified for four consecutive World Cup tournaments. However, with the country languishing at the bottom of the pile in qualifying for 2014, they look unlikely to make a fifth. 
After nine games Paraguay lie five points off qualification, while their upcoming trips to Uruguay and Ecuador are not promising in terms of gathering a fruitful points return.
Paraguay's qualification hopes currently look bleak at best. 
Scoring goals has been the Albirroja's biggest downfall, with just six in nine matches a sure recipe for disaster.
To stand any chance, new coach Gerardo Pelusso must get them scoring and look to improve a record of no points from five away games.

Serbia were handed a tough task to qualify for Brazil 2014, with strong Croatia and Belgium sides also within their group. The two favourites have justified their status and currently lead the group by a six-point margin.
In four group stage games so far, the Serbian side have managed just one win—a 6-1 victory at home to Wales. However, that triumph was followed by disappointing defeats at home to Belgium and away to Macedonia.
In their remaining fixtures, Serbia must navigate difficult away fixtures against both favourites for the group, as well as a trip to Cardiff to face Wales.
Their chances of progression already look minimal, without qualifying even having reached its midway point.



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

World Cup Trivia

  • World Cup Winners (total number by country)
    • Brazil 5 
    • Italy 4 
    • Germany (West) 3 
    • Uruguay 2 
    • Argentina 2 
    • England 1 
    • France 1

  • Who says there is no such thing as home advantage? Out of the 19 World Cups so far, six have been won by the host country.
  • Bora Milutinovic coached in every tournament between 1986 and 2002 - but for different teams: Mexico, Costa Rica, USA, Nigeria and China.
  • No European team has won a World Cup played outside of Europe.
  • Five teams have been unbeaten but not the champions in the same finals. Those unbeaten teams are: Scotland in 1974 (1 win, 2 draws), Brazil in 1978 (4 wins, 3 draws), England in 1982 (3 wins, 2 draws), Cameroon in 1982 (3 draws), Belgium in 1998 (3 draws).
  • The only person to have played both World Cup Football and World Cup Cricket is Viv Richards - playing for Antigua in football and West Indies in cricket.
  • Cameroon's Roger Milla is the oldest player to have played at the World Cup - he was 42 years and 39 days old when he played his last match against Russia in 1994. Northern Ireland's Norman Whiteside is the youngest ever finals player, being just 17 years and 41 days when he took the field against Yugoslavia in 1982.
  • Shirt swapping was once officially prohibited in 1986 because FIFA did not want players to 'bare their chests' on the field.
  • The highest attendance at a World Cup match was 199,854 at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janerio for the 1950 decider between Uraguay and Brazil.
  • In the 1950 finals, where there was only a final pool to determine the winner, without a knock-out Final as has been held in other Finals series.
  • The most common surname of World Cup players is Gonzalez or Gonzales. The most common score in a World Cup finals match is 1-0.
  • Brazil are the only country to have appeared in every finals, 19 finals tournaments from 1930 to 2010. And they have automatically qualified for the 2014 tournament as hosts.
  • The 2010 World Cup is the first with no debutant associations, although two of the qualifiers (Slovakia and Serbia) have previously appeared only as parts of former competing nations.
  • No host country had ever been eliminated in the first round - until South Africa in 2010.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Brazil 2014 World Cup - Who is the favorite? Latest Odds

Brazil 2014 World Cup

Brazil will be hosting the World Cup in 2014. FIFA's rotation system means the World Cup was due to be held in South America and Brazil were the only nation to submit a bid.
Brazil have won the World Cup a record five times and are favorites in the World Cup odds to make it six.
Brazil have hosted the World Cup before, in 1950, but they lost in the final to Uruguay. They are likely to be very strong favorites in the World Cup 2014 with home advantage.

World Cup 2014
Win Tournament
Ivory Coast

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Brazil open second stadium - FIFA World Cup 2014

Just few days after Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff opened the Castelao Arena in Fortaleza, the second stadium to be used at Brazil 2014 was opened as preparations gather pace.
President Rousseff was on hand to officially inaugurate the Mineiro stadium in Belo Horizonte which is expected to welcome thousands of football fans during the month-long finals in June and July 2014.

The Mineiro will seat more than 62,000 fans, will host 3 games during next year's Confederations Cup and a total of six games at the 2014 Brazil World Cup, including one of the semi-finals.
Redevelopments made to the stadium took three years and was said to have cost more than 211 million.
The Mineiro was delivered on time and within the budget despite concerns about Brazil's readiness to host the 2014 finals.
The same cannot be said for the remainder of the stadia that are coming in at 2.035 billion over budget.
"This is as good as Wembley, as good as [the Allianz Arena in] Munich, it's up there with the best stadiums in the world," Carlos Alberto Parreira said.
"A stadium like this is great news for both players and fans."

From Guest Reporter.