The FIFA World Cup is the greatest international competition in all of football and the most watched sporting event in the world. FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association) is the sports global sporting authority and organiser of the tournament. Held every four years (two years after the last Olympic Summer Games) in the European Football Leagues’ summer off-seasons (historically, at least), the Brazilian event this year is the 20th iteration of the competition. This will be the second time Brazil has hosted the competition having previously done so in 1950. Since the controversy over Germany’s bid winning the rights to host the 2006 tournament over that of South Africa FIFA decided to cycle the hosts between continents (or more precisely between each of the continental football federations) for at least the next two events in 2010 and 2014. This meant that the hosts of this year’s competition would definitely be in South America. CONMEBOL, the governing body of football in South America voted unanimously to choose Brazil as they were the only candidate with a formal bid submitted after some cursory bids from Colombia and Argentina were withdrawn. The teams compete to win the FIFA World Cup Trophy.
32 nations from a total of 207 FIFA recognised states across the world qualified for the Finals competition. The number of nations coming from each Continental Confederation varies depending upon the overall strength and number of competitors from each of those regions:
– Africa (CAF): 5
– Asia (including Australia) (AFC): 4
– Europe (UEFA): 13
– North and Central America (CONCACAF): 4
– Oceania (OFC): 0
– South America (CONMEBOL): 6
If you haven’t signed up for a World Cup fantasy football league yet, you’re welcome to join:
Search for the league ‘BrazilNuts2014‘
Here’s a video of John Oliver ripping on FIFA and their rampant corruption
Brazil, Croatia, Mexico, Cameroon
Notes: Mexico finished fourth in the North American qualifying group (I can’t even name three good North American football teams) winning just two games out of ten. This was enough to enter a play off against Wellington Phoenix to qualify for the World Cup. That seems totally unfair 🙁
Anyway, this seems like it should be a cakewalk for Brazil.
To Advance: Brazil, Croatia
Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia
Notes: Why couldn’t we have gotten Group E honestly. This is the GROUP OF DEATH of the tournament. Spain and Netherlands are obvious favourites but Chile are no slouches either and could spring a surprise.
To Advance: Socceroos and Spain (Socceroos finish top)
Columbia, Greece, Ivory Coast, Japan
Notes: Its pretty sweet how far Japan have come since they first qualified in 1998. Almost their entire squad plays in Europe now! Still, this is a tough group and I expect every South American team to be a real chance to advance from the group stage. I read that Ivory Coast have pay disputes so hopefully they will be utter rubbish.
To Advance: Japan, Columbia
Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy
Notes: This group will be playing in Manaus which is the multi million dollar 40,000 seat stadium they built in a tiny inaccessible part of Brazil that has the population of Adelaide. I hope Italy advance because Balotelli. And I hope England aren’t as dull as the last World Cup. Remember the Algeria game. Goddamn. So boring. I couldn’t believe it.
To Advance: Italy, Uruguay
Switzerland, Ecuador, France, Honduras
Notes: The most rubbish group ever.
To Advance: Paul Pogba, Honduras
Argentina, Bosnia Herzagovina, Iran, Nigeria
Notes: All of these countries are filled with angry dudes with guns. Except Argentina which has llamas and Messi.
To Advance: Argentina, Bosnia Herzagovina
Germany, Portugal, Ghana, United States
Notes: Landon Donovan didn’t make the squad 🙁 Maybe Ronaldo won’t be totally rubbish on the World Stage for once.
To Advance: Germany, Portugal
Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea
Notes: I like Belgium. They awarded Australian goal keeper Matthew Ryan with the Keeper of the Year award in his debut season. Also, they are responsible for Tintin.
Apparently South Korea are terrible nowadays.
To Advance: Belgium, Russia
We drew a stupidly hard group and we’re going to get absolutely smashed. Everyone knows this. Our team has really suffered since 2006 as the next two national coaches after Gus Van Hiddink both had incredibly short sighted mandates to qualify for the next tournament without any incentive to blood young talent. In the last World Cup we had the oldest team in the competition. Now we come into this tournament the lowest ranked team.
The squad is managed by Brisbane Roar’s former coach Ange Postecoglou who was brought in after we lost 6-0 in two consecutive games against Brazil and France. He has had 3 friendly games to rebuild the squad. The Golden Generation (Kewell, Schwarzer, Neill) have retired. Some of our best young players are injured (Rogic, Kruse). Ange has not been dealt a good hand. Fortunately, the FFA will give him time to develop the team long after this World Cup is over.
I gotta say, it is absolutely awesome to see Roar defender Ivan Franjic get selected and have an opportunity to play on the world stage against the best players in the world.
Our game plan appears to be knocking it out to the wing and then Halloran and Oar will get it in the mixer and hopefully Timmy will head it in. Rinse and repeat.
I’d be happy if we got a goal.