The 2014 World Cup is finally set to begin later today and the anticipation ahead of the tournament’s first game is palpable.
But, what can we expect from the 20th World Cup finals? England losing on penalties is almost a formality at this stage, but can Spain continue their dominance? Will Brazil deliver for their devoted faithful? Or have injuries to key players already dampened your pre-tournament buzz?
As with any World Cup, the beauty of the upcoming melee of matches is that it’s impossible to know for sure what’s going to happen. But that doesn’t stop people from guessing, so here are 5 things we can expect to see in Brazil over the next few weeks that probably won’t actually happen.
Lionel Messi To Star
Widely regarded as one of the best players to ever grace the field, Lionel Messi needs to dominate the World Cup in order to sit alongside Pele and Maradona on the upper echelon of soccer greats. And all signs suggest that this year is his year to do so.
He’s had a relatively quiet season with Barcelona, so he once again needs to prove himself. Messi is at the prime age to perform in the tournament and has World Cup experience. For the icing on Lionel’s World Cup cake, he is surrounded by a great Argentinian side and the tournament is being held on his home continent. No wonder Argentina is one of the favorites.
After Frank Lampard’s ghost-goal against Germany in 2010 at South Africa, Fifa decided to bring in goal-line technology for 2014. Fifa president Sepp Blatter insisted the devices not hinder the game at all, so keep your fingers crossed the system works without a hitch and soccer finally enter the modern age.
Chile, Belgium, Croatia, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Russia are hardly titanic soccer nations, but they have amalgamated impressive sides who are more than capable of springing a surprise. Yes, they’re probably not good enough to win the tournament, but they have enough talent to easily turn up in the semi-final.
With each group game being played in a different stadium, it’s going to be an absolute nightmare for fans to travel across Brazil in order to reach their nation’s next match. In fact, some unlucky supporters are actually going to travel 2,000 km between games in order to see their team. The fact that Brazil’s transport links are pretty woeful will make traveling even more interesting, and social media will probably explode with tales of transportation nightmares.
Expect dancing, bikini-clad beauties, thousands of fans screaming “Gooooooooooooaaaaaaaaaallllllllllll” until they’re close to having a cardiac arrest and tears if Brazil fails to win the trophy.
[Images via Bing]