Soccer World Cup

5 Teams Set To Shine During The 2014 World Cup

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2014 World Cup: 5 Teams Expected to Shine

World Cup
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 World Cup in Brazil is nearing, and countries are starting to claim their spot in the competition. Many are looking for redemption for their last World Cup in 2010 in South Africa. The Spaniards are the former champions of the competition, having defeated Holland in overtime with a lone goal by midfielder Andres Iniesta. Germany came in third place after defeating Uruguay 3-2.

Spain is looking to repeat their performance from last year, while other countries are preparing to take the title away from them. It will begin on June 12 and go until July 13. The opening ceremony will take place in the capital, Rio De Janero, and this is the second time Brazil will host the World Cup, the first time being in 1950. After the opening ceremony, 32 national teams will face off in a grueling competition throughout 12 different cities.

The first part of the competition is group stage. Every team will be randomly assigned into a group with three other teams. Each team will compete against the other group teams once, and the top two teams with the most points will move on to the single elimination bracket. There, the countries will battle it out to reach the championship game.

So far, 14 teams have already qualified for the World Cup. Countries such as Germany, Colombia, Italy, Argentina, Netherlands and the United States have made their statements in the qualifying stages, and are now preparing for the competition.

There are five teams who are expected to shine during this World Cup, due to the depth of their roster and the players that represent their countries.

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Italy's Mario Balotelli

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Italy has a solid history in international competition, as they have won the World Cup four times and gotten gold in the Olympics. They have a good mixture of old veterans and young talent, and they are always a favorite for most match ups. Their last finals was in 2006 when they actually won the World Cup.

Their returning captain and veteran defender Giorgio Chiellini is a world class player, because he really knows how to take command of the defense. They also have veteran Andrea Pirlo on the roster, who is fantastic in the midfield and really has a knack for finding an open teammate. The key player on the roster, however, is the young striker Mario Balotelli. He has some attitude issues and tends to be a rebel, but he is a fantastic bright star and can really make a difference in the game; he is known for scoring goals and frightening defenses.

Expect Italy to make it through the group stage and compete well.

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Argentina's Lionel Messi

Anthony Gruppuso-USA TODAY Sports

The next team to watch for is Argentina, who has also been quite successful in international play. The team is filled with star players who play all over the world, and Argentina has won the World Cup twice. Argentina has been criticized for having a weak defense, but they have really stepped it up this year. Lionel Messi is considered the best player in the world, even though he has been left off the starting roster for now. Argentina still has amazing players to watch, such as Sergio Aguero and Angel di Maria.

If Argentina can keep the opposing teams out of their own goal, expect them to have great success in the 2014 World Cup.

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Spain's Andres Iniesta

Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

The next team you must consider is the reigning champions, Spain, as they are always very difficult to beat. They consistently find ways to control possession of the ball and the pace of the game. Over half of the team plays together either on club teams Real Madrid or Barcelona. The Spaniards are very smart and patient with the ball, and they very rarely give up possession in a bad spot. They are always looking to thread the ball through the defense and look for an easy shot on goal.

Spain hasn’t punched their ticket to the World Cup just yet, but don’t expect the competition to begin without them. Their primary weakness is in defense, but they are very rarely out-played in the midfield. Even though they have world class players, such as Iniesta and Xavi, I wouldn’t bet on them repeating their success from the last World Cup. However, I do expect them to reach the quarterfinals and even possibly the semifinals.

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Germany's Thomas Muller and Bastian Schweinsteiger

Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Germany is a team that looks better and stronger than ever; they have such great depth on a roster that has so many talented players. The Germans have always played well internationally, and have gone undefeated in their qualifying matches. They have won the World Cup three different times and have come in third in the last two. The German Bundesliga has recently been considered one of the toughest leagues, considering this past year’s UEFA Champions competition finished with two German club teams at the top. The players are comfortable playing with each other, and are always on the same page. The German national team is led by captain Philipp Lahm and veteran Bastian Schweinsteiger.

Expect the Germans to have the best betting odds of going to the finals and taking home the title.

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Brazil's Team

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Completing this list of potential winners is the host country, Brazil. This team is full of young players who also have the talent of world class players. Neymar is a rising star with some fancy footwork, and Hulk has a rocket left foot that usually puts the ball in the back of the net. Brazil’s defense has also been enhanced, with players such as David Luiz and Marcelo. Brazil has already won the World Cup five times, and they expect to be very successful in their home country. Not too many teams can match up against the Brazilians, because they play with the precision of Spain with a faster pace. Furthermore, they aren’t afraid to take chances, run at the defense, or take shots from a distance.

Brazil has the best overall package for a championship team next year. Expect them to play well through the stages and make a solid run for the finals.