During this past week leading up to the 2014 World Cup draw on Friday, there has been a lot written about the draw itself and about the teams that will be participating in next summer’s competition. I will be focusing on helping some of you out, whether you be a soccer fan or a casual fan, in debunking statements made about certain teams playing in the upcoming World Cup.
The first is that ‘x team will struggle because they have a core group of veteran players who will be on the team.’ Saying this shows a lack of insight. Let’s use Italy as an example. Some will say Italy won’t win because they have players like Gianluigi Buffon and Andrea Pirlo, who are north the age of 30 in the starting 11. Having a core group of players over the age of 30 complemented with younger players is actually a good formula to winning. Italy will always be a contender to win.
Along the same lines, another statement that needs to be doubted is ‘x team is being overlooked‘, especially when they are not being overlooked.
Such a statement can be applicable to a team like Germany, who might have been overlooked in some shape or form in the past three World Cups, whoever is trying to sell you this narrative for 2014 is selling you a mirage. The fact is that the Germans will be considered to be one of the favorites and if you look at any gambling website, they are one of the top five betting favorites to win the tournament.
Whether it be Germany or any team like the Germans, don’t buy the statement that they are being overlooked to win the tournament — because they are not.
To add something to this, just because a European team may not be the odds-on favorite to win, that is not an insult. Until the last World Cup when Spain won, a European country had not won a World Cup outside the European continent.
The last statement I want to debunk is ‘because x team was so good in World Cup Qualifying, they will do well during the World Cup.’ This is applicable to the fans who root for the United States. Just because the U.S. did well in CONCACAF, this does not mean it will equal to a good showing in the tournament. The 2002 Argentina squad, a far superior team than the U.S., was knocked out during the group stage. The World Cup is a different animal.