With having the advantage of being able to guage the first round of gmes from the group stages, we give you our predictions for the World Cup.
5) Messi’s Argentina will fall short again
Argentina, the bookmakers second favourites, ended their opening game with more questions than answers. Sabella’s change in formation at half-time against Bosnia led to the trio of Higuain, Messi and Aguero being used as the attacking trident for the second period. That half illustrated perefectly why you cannot have a devastating attack with three players who all want to do nothing but score. There was too much eg and not enough selfless sacrfice on show. The addition of Lavezzi or Palacio instead of one of Aguero or Higuain would go a long way to alleviate this. Whatever Sabella does though, he will only be re-arranging the deckchairs on the titanic as his midfield lacks enough quality to support the attack and his defence bleeds mistakes. Not even Lionel Messi can save this Argentina.
4) The current Ivory Coast is Africa’s greatest ever hope
The Ivory Coast’s golden generation have been unlucky in that they drew two very difficult groups in previous World Cups. Although some of the stars of that time are now no longer at their peak, they still have a significant role in this current squad (DRogba versus Japan being a prime example) and with the unwanted weight of expectation off them, they could be a dark horse in the knockout stages if they get past Greece in the final group game. And with stars like Yaya Toure, Wilfred Bony and a wildcard in a rejuvenated Gervinho, they represent great value for a deep run in the tournament.
3) USA will reach at least the Quarter-Finals
Things couldn’t have gone better for the US in the Germany-Portugal match. The incidents in that match will leave Portugal without Fabio Coentrao, Pepe and possibly even Cristiano Ronaldo, Rui Patricio and Hugo Almeida for the crunch game of Group G. In the other match Germany will almost certainly steamroll Ghana and we could see a repeat of the standings in Group B. The USA are gathering momentum under Klinsmann and the togetherness of that squad is as clear as day.
2) Jorge Sampaoli’s Chile will surpass Marcelo Bielsa’s Chile
Chile find themselves in a very similiar position to the one they had in the World Cup in South Africa, winning the hearts of neutrals but the failure to top the group will almost definitely mean they face Brazil in the last 16. The Brazilians bulldozed Bielsa’s team 3-0 in 2010. Sampaoli knows Scolari’s Brazil are hand-carved to thrive against teams like his Chile and as a result they will beat the Netherlands in the final game of Group B and top the group. As the winner of group B, a matchup against Croatia or Mexico would be ideal and would pave the way for a strong chance of reaching the semi-finals.
1) Thomas Muller will win the Golden Boot and will be the player to surpass Ronaldo Luis Nazario de Lima’s World Cup scoring record.
Muller’s hat-trick in the opening match against Portugal has already made him the stand-out favourite to win the tournament’s Golden Boot. He is currently still valued at 5/2 with Betbright. Muller is also well on his way to becoming the greatest ever goalscorer in World Cup history. Brazilian legend Ronaldo currently tops the list with 15 goals in 19 matches, a goal-to-game ratio of 0.79. Twenty four year old Muller is entering his second tournament with 8 goals in 7 matches, a goal-to-game ratio of 1.14. And with time still well and truly on his side, and the coming generations of German football looking very strong, expect Muller to be the man to set the new record.