The final group of the 2014 World Cup will be interesting. Rising starlets Belgium are joined by Algeria, Korea Republic and Russia to form a group that could go many ways.
Top seed Belgium is led by a number of talented players that could easily see them progress out of the group and much further into the latter stages of the tournament. Competing in their first World Cup since 2002, the Red Devils will be looking to showcase the plethora of talent they possess. Led by Romelu Lukaku, Christian Benteke and Kevin Mirallas up top, goals should not be something that the Belgians have to worry about.
Pair that with a stacked midfield with options such as Eden Hazard, Marouane Fellaini, Axel Witsel, Mousa Dembele, Kevin De Bruyne and Nacer Chadli, and creativity shouldn’t be much of an issue either. In defense, Thomas Vermaelen, Vincent Kompany, Toby Alderweireld, Jan Vertonghen and veteran Daniel Van Buyten continue the trend of an overabundance of talent in this squad.
Capped off with the best young goalkeeper in the world, Thibaut Courtois, Belgium has what it takes to give the more traditional world powerhouses a run for their money in the knockout stage.
Algeria has not made it out of the group stage in three previous appearances, most recently in 2010 where it lost to the United States on a last-minute thriller to finish fourth in the group. Lacking a true goal scorer and a reliable goalkeeper, the Foxes will be lucky to earn a point in Brazil.
The Taegeuk Warriors are the most successful team in Asian history after making their eighth consecutive World Cup appearance and ninth overall. Ki Sung-Yueng, Lee Chung-Yong and Ji Dong-Won all ply their trade in England, so they will be the players the rest of the team look to for big performances. Toss in rising Bundesliga starlet Son Heung-Min, and Korea Republic has a chance of sneaking out of the group.
After the memorable fourth-place finish in the 2002 World Cup they co-hosted, anything past the group stage will be a good showing by the Reds.
Russia rounds out the last group. Competing in their first World Cup since 2002, the Russians will be hoping to escape the group stage for the first time since competing as Russia (as opposed to competing as the Soviet Union). Aleksandr Kerzhakov is the man to lead Russia up top.
Supported by Igor Denisov, Roman Shirokov and starlet Alan Dzagoev in the midfield should see Russia score a handful of goals. Whether it’s enough to advance out of the group stage will fall on the shoulders of the aging defense and goalie Igor Akinfeev.