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Soccer World Cup

5 Easiest Paths to the 2014 World Cup Final

2014 World Cup Path to the Final

2014 World Cup Path to the Final
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Ultimately, once teams get into the Round of 16, there is no easy path to the final. However, not being tested in group play or having a good matchup is always helpful as the tournament winds down. Leave the dark horse teams out of this discussion as it is the powerhouse teams in World Cup history or recent on-form nations that have the best outlook. Here are the five easiest paths to the final:

5 - Italy

Italy
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5 - Italy

Italy
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Italy does have a bit of a tricky group and are actually ranked behind opponent Uruguay in the FIFA World Rankings. However, those two teams should be heavily favored to advance into the Round of 16. This could set up a match with Spain in the quarterfinals, where every matchup is sure to be tight.

4 - Germany

Thomas Mueller
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4 - Germany

Thomas Mueller
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Despite being in the group of death by FIFA rankings, Germany should advance by winning the group. This would set up a rather easy Round of 16 matchup and possibly a date with France in the quarters. They would most likely have to go through Brazil to get to the final.

3 - Spain

Spain
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3 - Spain

Spain2
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Spain is the best team in Europe if you go strictly on recent results in major competitions. The matchup with Italy looms in the quarters, but winning their group on the way there should be a breeze. They will most likely face Mexico or Croatia in the knockouts.

2 - Argentina

Argentina Lionel Messi
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2 - Argentina

Argentina Lionel Messi
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Argentina should have little trouble getting out of their group. It would be surprising if they are tested in group play. France, Switzerland or Ecuador await in the Round of 16 and Argentina would be favored in any of those matches. They could get Belgium in the quarters, which would be new territory for the dark horse. It is a good path for Messi and Argentina.

1 - Brazil

Brazil
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1 - Brazil

Brazil
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They are the host nation and they get the easiest path. They should also not be tested in group play. The Round of 16 could pit them against a tricky Chile side or an aging Netherlands team. Brazil should use the pressure of being at home as fuel and validate those picking them as the champions.