The stage is set. World Cup Brazil ÔÇô 2014 is nearing kickoff. The groups have been drawn. LetÔÇÖs take a look at one of the potentially closer groups, Group C.
Group A: Columbia, Greece, Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Japan
Columbia has the chance to walk right into the round of 16 by being placed in a group with no real opposing threat. In recent months, Columbia has shown they need to be taken seriously as an opponent which is shown in their flurry of positive results against the likes of: Belgium, Serbia and Ecuador. It is obvious that the strength of this Colombian side resides in their youth and their ability to create goals seemingly out of nothing. Pacey direct attacks are a threat to any team that may underestimate the Colombians; but this south american team may be caught out by well planned counter attacks as their defense seem to be the weak point. Superstars, Radamel Falcao and Jackson Mart├¡nez will look to see this promising side to the top of the Group C table.
Prediction: Winners of Group C (Advances)
The Greeks are no push over when it comes to international competition. They have been known to cause an upset or two with an extremely experienced team. It would seem that the defensive style of play will not cause opponents much trouble as they will be able to push forwards knowing there is no imminent counter attacking threat, but in a group such as this, it may only take 1 positive result to see the Greeks go though to the next round. A result against Japan could mean a draw with Ivory Coast may be enough to advance as Colombia look to dominate this group. If the Greeks fail to gain any ground in this group there will be an imminent opportunity for the young members of this side to prove their worth. Look to see tough defensive displays with a high foul count.
Prediction: Third in Group C
Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast)
The Ivorians have been a strong team when it comes to competitions in Africa. Reaching the quarter finals in the 2013 African Cup of Nations shows that they still have what it takes to be considered a serious opponent. Being placed in a much easier group for 2014 (as opposed to 2010’s group containing Brazil and Portugal) will be a good chance to advance this year. On paper it would seem that Les Elephants contain the perfect formula for success: strength, speed, flair and a knack for scoring goals are all apparent on an individual level when looking that the player make up for this African team. The real test will come to show if they can get it together as a cohesive squad. Powerful players Yaya Toure, Cheick Tiot├® and Didier Drogba should show their world class ability and easily boss around the field in this weaker group. A second or first place finish is expected of this side if they are able to find their flow as a squad.
Prediction: Second in Group C (Advances)
Japan has been fortunate for World Cup Brazil in the sense that their group draw is undoubtedly more favourable than others. Within the 4 team composition of Group C they are without a doubt the underdog when it comes to international competition. The Japanese tend to play more of a midfield game which may be beneficial against heavy attacking or defending teams. Shinji Kagawa, Keisuke Honda and Yuto Nagatomo will likely bring their pace and flair to contribute to the constant attacks Japan brings to Brazil 2014. If you like to root for the unlikely, place your bets on Japan. Thier modest group may allow for an unset and a sneaky advancement for the Japaneese but it would not be likely.
Prediction: Fourth in Group C
Predicted Group C Finish:
2. Cote d’Ivoire
Players to watch: Radamel Falcao (Colombia), Jackson Mart├¡nez (Colombia), James Rodiguez (Colombia), Fredy Guarin (Colombia), Georgios Samaras (Greece), Ioannis Fetfatzidis (Greece), Dimitris Papadopoulos (Greece), Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast), Seydou Doumbia (Ivory Coast), Didier Drogba (Ivory Coast), Lacina Traore (Ivory Coast), Keisuke Honda (Japan), Maya Yoshida (Japan), Shinji Kagawa (Japan), Shinji Okazaki (Japan)
Article By : Lanre Banjoko