As always, the World Cup starts with expectations that after a few games are largely disregarded or completely reversed. Not surprisingly, a few weeks ago, we proposed a survey with the thirteen teams that bookmakers gave as favorites, asking for your opinion on which was the most credible candidate for the title: you started to orient right away your vote on Brazil. but you have also given good preferences to Spain as the holder and someone has even ventured to vote for Roy Hodgson’s England.
However, everything has turned upside down in the last few days, when the games began to be played and some of the forecasts have been sensationally disregarded: the flop of Spain against the Netherlands is there for all to see, but also the missteps of England and Uruguay – which have proved less substantial than expected – have made your votes turn towards other teams in particular, the Netherlands has grown enormously. which from outsider undergoing renovation has transformed into a battleship led by Robben, Van Persie, and Van Gaal, coming to undermine the very first positions. But let’s see in detail which are in your opinion the five favorite teams at the 2014 World Cup.
The collective of Prandelli
With the 2006 World title, our national team crowned a long history of good and sometimes excellent formations but they had collected much less than necessary: between 1988 (the Europeans in West Germany) and the triumph of Berlin we presented teams with champions such as Buffon, Baresi, Maldini, Bergomi, Zambrotta, Ferrara, Cannavaro, Nesta, Ancelotti, Pirlo, Donadoni, Mancini, Vialli, Baggio, Totti, Del Piero, Schillaci, bringing home up to a certain point probably far fewer trophies than we would have deserved.
After the 2010 World Bankruptcy and the arrival on the blue bench of Cesare Prandelli, the squad has been considerably aged and, at least in terms of names, weakened nevertheless, the results were still more than good, with a final at the European Championships two years ago and now a good start to the World Cup thanks to the convincing victory over England, which also led many of you to give the Azzurri a few chances. More than the value of the individuals – judging from what you wrote us through the appropriate form – you seem to have confidence in the value of the collective, a collective in which eternal promises such as Mario Balotelli and Antonio Cassano, players at the first experience of thickness can appear like Matteo Darmian and Gabriel Paletta but also veterans like Gigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo.
Waiting for Leo Messi
Paradoxically, Argentina’s problem in recent years is also its main resource: Leo Messi. Winner of four consecutive Golden Balls between 2009 and 2012 as well as countless titles won both individually and with his club team, the Argentine champion has never managed to fully express himself at his levels with the National team: after a great experience in the Under-20, he made his debut in the major representative at only 18 years old, in 2005, but since then he has only won Olympic gold in Beijing, having been eliminated twice in the quarterfinals of the World Cup from Germany (both in 2006 on penalties, both – more clearly – in 2010) and losing the 2007 America’s Cup in the final with Brazil (in addition to elimination in the quarterfinals with Uruguay in 2011). In conclusion, in four international competitions Messi has not yet managed to make his mark, sometimes due to his too young age, more often due to a non-optimal physical condition and a sort of psychological block that does not allow him to express himself as he could with the shirt.
However, many of you give good hopes to Argentina: on an offensive level the South American formation can also count on stars such as Zabaleta, Di Maria, Agüero, Higuain, Palacio, and Lavezzi, probably the most disruptive attack in the World Cup, and this according to some of you it should be enough to keep it going in a competition that this year does not seem to show great defenses. if then, as seen at the debut against Bosnia, Messi should also start playing for at least a few minutes, the progress of the team should be assured.
The battleship that wants to finally win
The Germans will debut this afternoon in an expected match against Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, but even before seeing them take to the field many of our readers are convinced that the players coached by Joachim Löw can repeat the excellent performances shown in the last international competitions and maybe, now that they have a little more experience and maturity, they can also conquer the coveted trophy.
Currently second in the FIFA ranking, the Germans come from three consecutive semifinals at the World Cup (in 2002 they reached the final, losing with Brazil in 2006 we eliminated them in extra time. while four years ago they had to surrender to Spain) [source]. while even in the most recent European Championships they can boast a second place (against rivals of Spain) and a semifinal lost again against us because of a super Mario Balotelli. Obviously, after many races interrupted almost at the last breath, the Germans now want to win something, perhaps taking advantage of Spain’s decline at last: they have championed such as Neuer, Hummels, Lahm, Müller, Özil, Schweinsteiger and Klose on their side. usual solidity that always makes it a more than fearful opponent. Many of you, in the comments, have insisted on the impenetrability of the defense which, although not composed of very great individualities, works in excellent synchrony and on the renewed fantasy of the midfield, where a swarm of young hopes (Gotze, Kroos, Schurrle, Draxler,
The perfect blend of Louis Van Gaal
As we anticipated at the beginning, our survey has undergone a sharp turnaround since the start of the World Championship: if before, in fact, the preferences were mainly distributed over Brazil, Spain, and Argentina, while the Dutch team had been completely ignored, after the first few races played your vote abandoned certain protagonists and embraced new ones, leading them, as in this case, to even end up in second place in our ranking.
In front of Italy, Argentina and Germany, in your opinion, now the Netherlands figure, a team that even the bookmakers did not list among the favorites but that suddenly recovered thanks to the 5-1 sound inflicted on the outgoing champions of Spain. After the good World Cup four years ago, when the Oranje reached the final, in fact, the Netherlands team quickly fell into the FIFA ranking: only at the Europeans of 2012 had it been kicked in the teeth by everyone, losing with Germany and Portugal but also with a Denmark that was not at all irresistible. If they had gone better in the qualifying round (where she had found rather weak teams like Romania, Hungary, Estonia, Andorra and Turkey at an all-time low), little confidence was placed in the formation of Louis Van Gaal, also made up of many young players from the Dutch league, as twenty-two-year-olds De Vrij and Indi, twenty-four-year-olds Blind and Janmaat and twenty-five-year-old Cillessen took the field against Spain. Van Gaal’s formula, however, seems to work great for now and many of our readers have fallen in love with the game of the Dutch,
A triumph already established in advance?
They were the favorites on the eve, they are still the favorites today after that controversial game against Croatia that we will talk about: according to our readers, Brazil is the real team to beat at this twentieth edition of the World Cup. The reasons why the Verdeoro national team is at the top of our ranking are many: on the one hand, the strength of tradition, given that the Seleção is the most titled team and has always been a sure pretender to any international title on the other, the fact of playing at home, which loads the players enormously but also guarantees a series of aids that are not indifferent.
Proof of this is the inaugural match of the tournament, which saw the home team opposed to the beautiful Croatia of Niko Kovac, able to take the lead and then to worry several times the goal defended by Julio César, before having to surrender first to a penalty completely invented by the Japanese referee Nishimura (thanks to Fred’s sensational dip) and then to a goal on the counterattack of the good Oscar. In the middle, a goal canceled by the Croats for a very dubious foul and many recriminations for an arbitrage that was really inadequate to the situation.
Paradoxically, however, the poor show of strength of the Brazilians has been hailed by our readers as an even stronger incentive to see in them the sure winners of the tournament: «That rigor has shown that there is a team that must win, and it is Brazil – one of the voters commented in particular -: everything is already written and FIFA does not want to repeat what happened in 1950 [when the World Cup organized by Brazil saw the hosts overtaken in the last game by Uruguay, in what became a mournful page in Brazilian history] ». Time a few weeks, and we will know if everything is really already written.