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Soccer World Cup

5 Reasons Why Russia Will Hoist the 2014 World Cup

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Russia Looks to Make a Surprise Run and Win the 2014 World Cup

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The 2014 World Cup is now less than 100 days away, and as a result much of the hype surrounding the world soccer stage is shifting to Brazil. One of the teams that will be a major dark horse at the tournament is Russia, who quietly won a World Cup Qualifying Group that included Portugal and currently sit 19th in the world rankings. These five reasons will prove to you why the Russians will ride this momentum to win the 2014 World Cup.

5. Veteran Core Group of Players

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5. Veteran Core Group of Players

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Nearly every player that will be starting for Russia has played a big role in this World Cup cycle, and the team has great chemistry because of it. Igor Akinfeev, Sergei Ignashevic, Vasili Berezutski, Yuri Zhirkov, Roman Shirokov, Igor Denisov and Alan Dzagoev form a core that is tenured, plays their club soccer in Russia and is willing to give everything for the national team. This will only be a positive in the toughest matches.

4. Relatively Easy Group Stage Opponents

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4. Relatively Easy Group Stage Opponents

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Russia has been drawn into Group H alongside South Korea, Belgium and Algeria, who all have some talent but certainly are not overwhelming to face. Considering that this is the first major tournament for Belgium since 2002, Algeria hasn't won a World Cup match since 1982 and that Russia recently beat South Korea 2-1 in a friendly, getting to the knockout stages should be easy.

3. Great Defensive Prowess

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3. Great Defensive Prowess

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When Russia does get to the knockout stages, they will be aided by the fact that they have one of the best defenses in international soccer. During World Cup Qualifying, Russia only allowed five goals in 10 games played, including only one in two games against a high-powered Portugal offense. With Igor Akinfeev in net no easy goals will be let in, and they will not be overwhelmed by any side late in the tournament.

2. Impact of Fabio Capello

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2. Impact of Fabio Capello

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Since taking over as manager of Russia in 2012, Fabio Capello has instilled a disciplined and defensive-minded style of play that has the team ready to take on opponents who are more talented. As one of the best coaches in world soccer, Capello will not be overwhelmed by any stage, will certainly keep Russia in check emotionally as the stakes rise and will likely out-coach any opposing manager.

1. Strong Nationalistic Fervor

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1. Strong Nationalistic Fervor

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As teams get to the late stages of the knockout round, little things tend to swing games from one team to another, and the utter determination and will to win will be this factor for Russia. The players know that they have an entire nation putting its hopes in the team, and their will to play a disciplined, counter-attacking game will give them an edge as they take on the likes of Germany, Italy, Brazil, Argentina and Spain.