25 Bold Predictions For 2014 World Cup

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25 Bold Predictions For 2014 World Cup

25 Bold Predictions For 2014 World Cup
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The 2014 World Cup in Brazil may still be a few months away, but it’s close enough that fans can begin counting down the days. This is actually the ideal time for fans; the World Cup Draw has come and gone and whether it was good or bad for their favorite team, the results have begun to sink in, and now it’s time to start dreaming big and expecting great things to happen, whether or not those hopes and dreams are ultimately realistic. As the start of the tournament draws closer, trepidation once again sets in at the realization that every team has world-class talent and will be a difficult opponent to play, with no guarantee of getting a positive result.

The point of all of this is that now is the perfect time to be making bold statements and predictions about what’s going to happen this summer in Brazil. You could say just about anything right now about any of the 32 teams and any of the 64 matches and find a way to rationalize; however, when the teams are lined up and coming out of the tunnel right before kickoff, all these bold predictions and optimistic statements can easily go right out the window when reality starts to set in.

Thus, we have come up with a list of 25 bold predictions for the 2014 World Cup. We’ve done a list of 25 bold predictions for the entire sports world in 2014, and some were World Cup related, but now it’s time to focus on the world’s greatest sporting event. Just know that you’ve been warned; these are quite bold.

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25. Ivory Coast Goes Home Winless

25. Ivory Coast Goes Home Winless
Presse Sports - USATODAY Sports

There is so much talent on the Ivory Coast roster, but they never seem to show up at major tournaments, and this tournament will be no different. The Elephants won't play terrible, but they will draw all three matches and be sent home following the group stage.

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24. Russia Wins Group H

24. Russia Wins Group H
facebook.com/russiafans

Belgium may be the dark horse for the tournament, but Russia is the dark horse of the group, and Fabio Capello will lead them to the top of the group in one of the most surprising results of the group stage.

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23. Tim Howard Wins Golden Glove Award For Best Goalkeeper

23. Tim Howard Wins Golden Glove Award For Best Goalkeeper
Denny Medley - USATODAY Sports

It's time for the world to find out what American and Everton fans already know, which is that Howard is one of the world's elite goalkeepers. If the U.S. is going to make a run it's going to happen on Howard's back and that will lead to him being named as the best goalkeeper in the tournament.

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22. Chile Has Positive Goal Differential But Gets Knocked Out in Group Stage

22. Chile Has Positive Goal Differential But Gets Knocked Out in Group Stage
Nick Turchiaro - USATODAY Sports

Chile will go wild with goals against Australia in their opener, which will push their goal differential way up, but things won't go their way against Spain and Holland, and they'll have to make the short trip back home after three matches.

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21. Mexico Has Negative Goal Differential But Advances To Knockout Stage

21. Mexico Has Negative Goal Differential But Advances To Knockout Stage
David Richard - USATODAY Sports

The Mexicans don't perform well in the group stage, as they get crushed by Brazil 4-0, but in a fairly weak group they make it through to the knockout stage despite being outscored by their opponents, continuing the string of poor play and good luck that got them through the qualifying process.

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20. Bosnia-Herzogovina Finishes Second in Group F

20. Bosnia-Herzogovina Finishes Second in Group F
Jasen Vinlove - USATODAY Sports

No one's going to be Argentina, so group F is all about finishing second, and in their World Cup debut, it'll be the Bosnians who find a way to advance, edging out Nigeria.

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19. Sepp Blatter Doesn't Attend Any Matches in Manaus

19. Sepp Blatter Doesn't Attend Any Matches in Manaus
Witters Sport - USATODAY Sports

Surely we've all heard of the Amazonian city of Manaus, and if you've ever looked at a map of Brazil you know how far away it is from every other venue for this year's tournament. Several teams will have to travel a long distance to get there for a match, but FIFA president Sepp Blatter will not follow, claiming he's too busy to make the long trip, as he's no doubt figuring out a way to play the 2026 World Cup in Afghanistan.

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18. All 5 African Nations Are Knocked Out in the Group Stage

18. All 5 African Nations Are Knocked Out in the Group Stage
facebook.com/GhanaFootballAssociation

African football is on a never ending quest for respect on the world stage, but this will not be their tournament. Ghana, Nigeria, and the Ivory Coast are all in good shape to advance out of their group, while Algeria and Cameroon could be sleepers in their group. But in the end, all five squads will play three matches and then head home.

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17. Netherlands Beats Spain in Group Play

17. Netherlands Beats Spain in Group Play
Witters Sport - USATODAY Sports

Spain lost to Switzerland in their World Cup opener four years ago, and it's going to happen again this time around. The Dutch are hungry after losing in the finals in 2010, and they're going to start this tournament in better form than the Spaniards.

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16. Germany Loses in Final Match

16. Germany Loses in Final Match
Steve Mitchell - USATODAY Sports

The Germans have been to the semi-finals in the last three World Cups, so they've been close to taking home a world championship, but have not quite gotten there since they reunited as one nation. It'll be the same old story this year for yet another talented German side, as they will ultimately lose in the final match, falling short after another great tournament.

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15. 7 of 10 Western Hemisphere Teams Will Advance To Knockout Stage

15. 7 of 10 Western Hemisphere Teams Will Advance To Knockout Stage
Evan Habeeb - USATODAY Sports

Not since 1994 has a World Cup been held in the Western Hemisphere, and the teams from this part of the world are ready to take advantage of that fact. The teams from North, Central, and South America should all be ready to compete against the visitors from Europe, and a majority of them will end up advancing past the group stage.

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14. Mario Balotelli Gets 2nd Yellow Card For Taking Shirt Off After Goal

14. Mario Balotelli Gets 2nd Yellow Card For Taking Shirt Off After Goal
Kirby Lee - USATODAY Sports

This is bound to become one of the more humorous moments in World Cup history, at least outside of Italy. Balotelli is known for his great passion and intensity, and at some point it will get the better of him. At some point, Balotelli will pick up a yellow card early in a match, only to forget he has it. He'll then score a key goal later in the game and take his shirt off to celebrate, at which point he'll be handed his second yellow card of the match, sending him off. Yes, it seems far fetched, but if it's going to happen to anybody, it's Balotelli.

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13. Robin van Persie Wins Golden Boot

13. Robin van Persie Wins Golden Boot
Witters Sports - USATODAY Sports

There are a lot of great players and a lot of great goal scorers in this tournament, but van Persie is going to prove himself to be one of the best. The Dutch are going to go a long way in this tournament, and van Persie is going to score a lot of goals along the way.

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12. Mexico Makes A Coaching Change Before Knockout Stage

12. Mexico Makes A Coaching Change Before Knockout Stage
Christopher Hanewinckel - USATODAY Sports

El Tri has already made so many coaching changes, why not make one more? Mexico will play poorly in the group stage but find a way to advance, and that will lead them to bring in the miracle worker himself Bora Milutinovic to step in as head coach between the end of the group stage and the start of the knockout stage, not that it will make a difference.

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11. Luis Suarez Scores Four Goals Against England

11. Luis Suarez Scores Four Goals Against England
Liverpool Football Club's Official Facebook Page

Suarez has been scoring goals all over England in the EPL this season, and this summer he's going to be scoring goals against England while wearing the blue and white of Uruguay. Suarez will complete the hat trick by the 55th minute, leaving him plenty of time to seek a fourth goal that will officially end any hope of England advancing.

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10. Lionel Messi Scores 10 Goals... in the Group Stage

10. Lionel Messi Scores 10 Goals... in the Group Stage
Anthony Gruppuso - USATODAY Sports

Does anybody really think that Iran, Bosnia-Herzogovinia, and Nigeria are going to keep Messi from scoring. Messi is going to go wild against these teams in the group stage, as Argentina dominates.

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9. Andrea Pirlo Doesn't Play Past Group Stage Due To Fatigue

9. Andrea Pirlo Doesn't Play Past Group Stage Due To Fatigue
Offside Sports - USATOAY Sports

Pirlo will be 35 by the time the tournament starts, which is quite old for an international footballer, and that age along with the heat in Brazil and a lot of traveling is going to take its toll on Pirlo. He'll play in the first three group games, but after that he'll be too tired and worn down to be in Italy's lineup for any of their knockout stage games.

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8. Argentina Wins World Championship on Brazilian Soil

8. Argentina Wins World Championship on Brazilian Soil
Joe Camporeale - USATODAY Sports

Here's our bold pick for the championship. Not only do the hosts not claim the trophy, but they have to sit and watch as their neighbors and rivals win it on Brazilian soil, as Argentina will be the team that outlasts all others and takes home the World Championship in 2014.

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7. Nigeria Fires Coach Three Days Before Tournament and Hires Bob Bradley

7. Nigeria Fires Coach Three Days Before Tournament and Hires Bob Bradley
Greg M. Cooper - USATODAY Sports

Obviously, this is incredibly far fetched, but the Nigerian government did try to shut down their soccer federation following their disappointing performance at the last World Cup, so if the team isn't in good form heading into the tournament this summer, the Nigerians will get desperate and make a coaching change to help save them at the last minute, and so they'll ask former American coach Bob Bradley to take a month-long hiatus from his Norwegian club team and coach Nigeria in Brazil this summer.

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6. Costa Rica Beats England in Group Stage

6. Costa Rica Beats England in Group Stage
Kirby Lee - USATODAY Sports

England is so focused on Italy and Uruguay that they forget to prepare for Costa Rica, and ultimately pay the price. The Ticos won't advance, but they'll go home brimming with pride after pulling off the biggest shock of the group stage by upsetting England.

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5. Japan Pulls Off An Upset in Round of 16

5. Japan Pulls Off An Upset in Round of 16
Matt Kryger - USATODAY Sports

Nobody seems to be talking about Japan heading into the World Cup, but they could be a team to be reckoned with this summer, and they're in a group that will allow them to advance to the knockout stage, putting them in position to take down a world power that may be taking them lightly. Japan didn't get good results during the 2013 Confederations Cup last summer, but they played well and that experience in Brazil should serve them well in this tournament and put them in position to surprise the world this summer.

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4. United States Beats Germany in Group Stage

4. United States Beats Germany in Group Stage
Dave Richard - USATODAY Sports

Who better to beat the German team than the short, blond German himself: Jurgen Klinsmann. The Americans should have beat Germany in the quarterfinals back in 2002 and now they get some redemption for that loss, which is enough to push them through to the knockout stage. In Germany's defense, they will win their first two games and will have already booked their ticket for the knockout stage, so their motivation level isn't that high heading into the match.

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3. Cristiano Ronaldo Goes Home Scoreless

3. Cristiano Ronaldo Goes Home Scoreless
Witters Sport - USATODAY Sports

He may have won the Ballon d'Or, but this is not going to be his tournament. Portugal is going to struggle in the Group of Death, and three quality opponents will find a way to keep one of the best players in the world off the scoresheet.

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2. Brazil Goes Out in Round of 16

2. Brazil Goes Out in Round of 16
Joe Camporeale - USATODAY Sports

This will be one of the biggest shocks of the tournament. Brazil has relatively easy group in the first round, but either Spain or Holland is looming for them in the second round, and the Brazilians won't be prepared to play either of the finalists from the last World Cup, and they will get knocked out early in front of the home fans.

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1. United States Advances To Semi-Finals

1. United States Advances To Semi-Finals
Rick Osentoski - USATODAY Sports

Few are expecting the Americans to get out of the group, but they had an amazing year in 2013 under Jurgen Klinsmann and they're ready to shock the world this summer. The U.S. has had glimpses of brilliance in previous World Cups, but under Klinsmann they're ready to put it all together and make a serious run all the way to the semi-finals.

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