Thursday, 12 June 2014


When I started with all of this blogging stuff I was Dreading 3 teams Honduras, Iran and Algeria. I know little about them and that is a nightmare for any blogger or football writer. However Algeria is one of the teams that you think you know nothing about but in fact its not that bad. I know a few of these players in fact i rate a few of these players. Don’t get me wrong im not saying they will be getting out of the group and im not even saying they will win or draw a game but they have  few players ive heard of.

The first one is a guy who I actually think would do a decent job in the championship or maybe higher and that is Madjid Bougherra. He was brilliant at Charlton and Rangers and then moved to Qatar. Ruined his career. I think this guy is class. He is 31 and could be back in France or England from what I hear on a free this year.

Also like a lad called Sofiane Feghouli (a cool name to say). He plays for Valencia. I have seen him a few times playing for them and he seems tricky almost works his way into trouble. But decent at what he does. I like the look of Boudebouz. I remember him being linked to Blackburn a few years ago. Playing in France with Bastia still but may be on for a move soon.

I don’t expect much from them but good luck to them. They are in a weak group. They have Russia, Belgium and South Korea and all 3 are better than them. A Draw would be a good result for them.

Star Man: Feghouli
One to watch: Boudebouz
Prediction: no points out at group stage.  


I cant help but feel like Portugal should have done better over the last 10 years. When Porto won the Champions league they had a base of fine Portuguese players who were all class and they lacked a centre forward. Then Ronaldo came along and moved from wide to up front and now they are fine in that area (but still only because of him) but the supporting cast they had is no longer there. The championship winning Porto team is no more and now Portugal is mainly used by South Americans to develop before moving elsewhere in Europe. Benfica have been in a few Europa League finals in the last few years but only 2  of the Benfica squad made the cut to the World Cup and they are back ups not star players. 

Portugal are set up to counter attack and they will look more impressive against bigger teams that will want to play than the smaller teams that will look to defend and play on set pieces i actually think Portugal will get quite far because of this. The group is a tough one and that works in Portugals hands. I was actually in Portugal last week. They believe they will win the World Cup. Mainly because of Ronaldo but also they love Joao Moutinho and they think William Carvalho is going to be a star for them. I have to agree. I looked up some stats yesterday. Moutinho assisted to more goals in qualifying than any other player. Ronaldo is Ronaldo and Carvalho is being rumoured to Manchester United and many other major European teams.

This is Ronaldo’s time to Shine. At 29 this is the World cup when he is his Prime. He is the current world Player of the year and has just won the champions league and is on FIRE!!!! I actually think that Messi is the best footballer in the world but i completely agree that Ronaldo won it this year. My worry for CR is that he doesn’t have the players around him that he has at Madrid. Nani is ok but he is not Di Maria. They are not blessed with the talent that Madrid has to offer so how much will that effect Ronaldo. Don’t get me wrong, If Portugal set up just to counter then they may well win the World cup but if they have to break a team down they will struggle. With Ronaldo they are a contender. If you play him out of the game they are not much better than Greece.

Portugal may well win this group but i think Germany will win the group. It all comes down to who does better in the game between them. I expect them to get out of the group but if they in that will need to be at their best at all times in the tournament. Its going to be a tough road but 8 good games and they may well win it. they wont win it for the record.

Star man: um well they are a bit of a one man team so im going with RONALDO
One to Watch: Carvalho
Predction: 2nd round/ Quarter finals 


Ghana have the youngest squad in the World cup. The Defence is weak and inexperienced. Against Portugal and Germany there will be goals and I expect them to fall at the first hurdle in the group and that is purely because of the weak inexperienced defence. However I actually think they are very good in midfield and not bad up front. Kevin-Prince Boatang, Sulley Muntari and Michael Essien are all well known for playing both England and Italy.

The guy im most looking forward to watching is Kwadwo Asamoah. The Juventus Midfield player can play central or wide left and I think this is hi world cup to show off what he can do. I also like Emmanuel Agymang-Babu who plays for Udinese. I saw him play a few times this year and I really like him as a footballer. Loads of energy. They have the Ayew brothers Jordan and Andre who play in France for Marseille.  If your a Fifa computer game player you may know Abedi Pele who is always in the Fifa legends squads well his real surname is Ayew and his is the father of both Jordan and Andre.

You may remember Asamoah Gyan for nothing more than his Penalty 4 years ago that crashed off the crossbar and effectively put Uruguay through after Suarez handballed it on the line.  Well you may be surprised to find out that he is still only 28 years old and is about to compete in his 3rd world cup. Ghana have got out of the group on the last to occasions knocking out USA both times (either in the group or in the 2nd round) they also play Germany again after being in the same group as them 4 years ago and joining them out of the group in the knockout stages and facing the USA who they beat. No African team has got closer to the semi finals than Ghana but don’t expect that to change this world cup.

The Group is tough. I expect Portugal and Germany to go through. Defensively they are just better than the USA and Ghana. Im not saying that Ghana or the USA cannot cause a shock and go through but I just don’t think they will. But there is a shock every year so maybe this year it will be Germany or Portugal going out group stage.

Star man: Kevin Prince Boatang
One to watch: Kwadwo Asamoah
Prediction: Group Stage 


4 years ago Germany took a really young side to south Africa and not a lot expected of them. Now the weight of the world is on them. The likes of Ozil, Hummels, Kroos and Muller are all world class players now. Bayern Munich have dominated World football for a few years and they have German players the whole way through the squad. Pound for Pound this is the best team in the tournament. There is not a weakness throughout the team with the maybe exception of a centre forward. They have Klose and Podolski but I think they may start with Muller as a false 9. But with Gotze, Kroos, Draxler, Muller, Schurrle, Ozil and Schweinsteiger they are not short of midfield players who can weigh in with a goal or 2. At the back they are strong. Right back may be questionable but they have the best keeper in the world right now, Hummels, Meresacker and Lahm in front of him and the highly rated Howedes and Boateng to come in if needed. Germany will be a force this world cup for sure.

I actually think they are similar to Spain. I guess thats not a bad thing. The foundations in place for German football are brilliant. They are used to making organised solid defences and building on that. They struggled recently to make as many full backs and midfield players but the full backs worldwide are not that strong at the minute. In terms of individuals Klose deserves one more shot at the top ever scorer at the world cup. He needs 2 to overtake Ronaldo (the Brazilian one) at the top ever goal scorer at the world cup (set in 2006). Podolski is a great goal scorer as well and Im a big fan of Andre Schurrle. Its a shame that Marco Reus got his injury but they have enough cover in this squad.

The Sub goalkeeper in the squad is a chap called Ron-Robert Zieler who was at Manchester United as a young player and had a loan spell for a few months at Little Northampton Town (This is where is am from and watch a lot of football at). He played 2 games in 93 days and was mainly behind a chap called Frank Fielding who is currently playing in the championship. If you had told me that 6 years later he would be in the German squad for the World cup even as a back up I simply wouldn’t have believed you. I am really pleased for him.  

Tough Group, Germany are joined by Portugal, Ghana and the USA. I think the USA will be bottom of the group. Don’t get me wrong i don’t think they are bad but they don’t tend to win against teams better than them and Ghana tend to turn up to these kind of games. If you don’t know the Boatangs in both the Germany Squad (Jerome) and Ghana’s Kevin Prince are bothers who chose to play for different national squads. They are both German with Ghana roots. Both played for Germany at youth levels and both play in Germany now but Kevin Prince made his name a little later than Jerome (in terms of age) and Ghana were able to snap him up. 4 years ago they played each other at the world cup and again they have done again this year.  Portugal have the world player of the year in Ronaldo and will be a counter attacking force make no mistake. They could beat Germany but I actually think they wont. Germany to top this group but they wont win all 3 games. If they do, put your money on them to win the cup.

Star Man: Ozil
One to watch: Gotze
Prediction: Semi finals/ Final

Wednesday, 11 June 2014


Why don’t the Americans get Football. I just don’t understand how its the only truly whole world based tournament and they don’t care about it. it shocks me. the Americans love themselves. They show more national pride than pretty much any other country. This is the only single sport sporting event that they could actually show the world that they make better athletes in the world than any other and they just don’t. The year that they invest in football property they will win the world cup 10-15 years later. The athletes they produce for Basketball and NFL they would change football. Imagine if LeBron James was a footballer. A quick, strong and huge guy, Even as a goalkeeper would be amazing.

This USA squad has been clouded by the Non selection of Landon Donovan. If Klinsmann thinks they are better without him then they should back this but I don’t think it was the right call. i don’t see a  lot of quality in this squad. Im actually a fan of Jozy Altidore dispite the fact that he never scores against anybody I think he has a presence and I think he needs someone to show his how to be a proper target man. But at the moment at 24 he has 70 caps and still looks a raw talent. Time for Jozy to push on. Clint Dempsey still stars in this team even playing back in the USA he is still a very very good player. Tim Howard is the first choice keeper, Americans have always been able to make a good goalkeeper and in Brad Guzan they have a back up that they can call on if need be.

The one to watch may not play but they have selected a young man making waves at Bayern Munich. I have heard a few rumblings that Julian Green would be a German international but he has chosen to be an international for USA. Can play as a forward or a wide player been compared to Gotze. I have never actually seen him play so I cannot say much about him but I hear that he will be a class act.

A little story that makes me giggle. At the last World Cup is South Africa the USA scored a goal against Slovenia and the Ref disallowed the goal. Bars in America went silent. No outrage nothing. They were waiting for the Ref to tell them why he hadn’t given the goal. In American sports they explain everything. Even if its just hand signals they explain why they give a foul. In football we have to work it out.   

Group G is a tough group for the USA. Portugal, Germany and the team everybody was talking about 4 years ago Ghana. USA have the weakest 11 but the 2nd weakest squad ahead of Ghana. I don’t expect anything. I don’t think they will get out of the group and i don’t think they will win a game. Prove me wrong America!!

Star Man: Clint Dempsey
One to Watch: Jozy Alidore
Prediction: Group Stage


Argentina are a lot of teams pick to win the World Cup. Its close to home. They have one of the best players to have ever played the game as well as many players who are the in the World Class bracket. But they have a weak link. If they win the World Cup this year they will be the team with the worst defence to have ever won the World Cup. American Football has a saying that I love “offense wins you games, Defence Wins you championships” a world class offence can win you a game but can it win when it matters. A world class defence gives your offence a chance to score 1 or 2 and win. This is what champions are made of. Look at the best teams in the world they all have great defenders. Argentina have 1 world class defender (Zabaleta) but the rest of the defenders are average or Poor. Demichelis isn’t and has never been an international standard defender. If he was English he would be Curtis Davies (no caps 1 call up and that was with a new manager) yet at 33 and 38 caps he is in this squad. Actually their best centre back is Mascherano and they play him centre midfield.

Attacking talent they are the best in the world. If you put the forward from with team in the Belgium defence they would be unbeaten for years. Di Maria, Messi, Aguero, Higuain and Levezzi are all top class forward players. And they would have played together hundreds of times even if Higuain only has 36 caps. They are all 26 years old (except Levezzi) so they will know each other better (I would think) than any other team at the world cup.

Please understand that im not saying Argentina will not win the World Cup because they don’t have a good enough Defence but looking back on history the winners have had top class defenders and thats something that Argentina just don’t have. The youngest player in the squad is 24 years old. So this team has been built for this tournament. They need Messi to perform at the big time and so far he hasnt done that but he was 22 last world cup this year he is 26. He is primed to make a big impression this year. In my opinion he is the greatest football to have ever played the game. Pele, Maradona and Zidane are all up there make no mistake but they are known as the best because they have won the World cup. The only thing that people say against Messi is that he hasnt done it at the world cup. I think he will be the Top scorer at this years world cup. With the group they have he could have 5 or 6 before the 2nd round. Last world cup Forlan and Muller shared the top scorer with 5 goals. This is Messi’s year. if he doesn’t win this World cup I actually don’t expect him to win it in Russia in 4 years unless Argentina develop some world class talent in the next few years. The fact that not 1 player is under 23 years old doesn’t look good for them.

Aguero is also one to watch he is for my money the best footballer in the Premier League when fit but his fitness is a problem. If Argentina have him fit for the whole month they have one hell of a player. His fitness is frustrating because he is a World player of the year player if he is fit. He is never fit.

The group is easy for them. Nigeria, Bosnia and Iran. They couldn’t have a easier group if they had rigged it not saying they did rig it themselves but if they did they would have this group. The toughest thing about this group is that they wont know much about Bosnia, the Nigerians either turn up and play well or are tripe and Iran........ok i have nothing good to say about Iran. If Argentina don’t win this group with 9 points (in the words of Brian Clough) they want bloody shooting.

Star Man: Messi
One to watch: Di Maria is in sizzling form
Prediction: Semi Finals (beaten by Spain) or Final (beaten by Brazil) wow i love the World Cup

Saturday, 31 May 2014


Bosnia are the only team in their first World Cup this year. I for one welcome them. They are starting to have a few players who are making into the big clubs. They have Dzeko of Man City, they have Pjanic of Roma and Begovic of Stoke who is known as one of the Premier Leagues best keepers. I know little about any other players in the team. A lot of the players play their football outside of Bosnia in fact only 1 person (the 2nd choice Keeper) actually plays for in Bosnia.

In Dzeko they have a goal scorer but more than that they have a world class striker who has won the league in both England and Germany. He is really dangerous and scores important goals.

In Pjanic they have a center midfielder who the world is chasing. This guy at 24 years old is about to make a big move if you ask me. already made his name in France and Italy a move to one of the big teams in Spain or England is due im sure. A classy midfield player who is on the verge of being world class. He is a massive player for this team.

The defence isn’t great but in Begovic they have a keeper who is proven and solid. He even scored a goal this year. I think its a matter of time before he moves on from Stoke and moves to a much larger team. The question for me is where does he go? Manchester United, Man City, Arsenal, Liverpool and Chelsea all have World Class Goalkeepers so a move outside the UK seems to make sense.

I think it comes down to Bosnia or Nigeria to get the 2nd spot in this group (Argentina will top the group for sure). The game between them is huge so a good result for Bosnia could see them in the 2nd stage. However I think Nigeria will qualify.

Star Man: Dzeko
One to watch: Pjanic
Prediction: Group Stage 


Did you know that 1 in 3 Africans are Nigerian? Thats actually true. They should be the best team in Africa. They are not. The Ivory Coast is the best team in Africa at the moment. Nigeria has had some great squads mainly in the 1990’s and early 2000’s. Now they don’t have a bad squad but they lack the gifted players like Jay-Jay Okocha who was so good they named him twice. Now they create really strong athletic players. At the back they don’t look that good. especially at full back this may be a weakness. But i really like one of the defenders. A young lad called Kenneth Omeruo who is on loan at Middlesbrough from Chelsea. This lad is 20 and is being tipped as a future first teamer. Apparently he is a really good defender.

There are a few names that fans of the premier league will know. Joseph Yobo, John Obi Mikel, Victor Moses and Peter Odemwingie are all in the squad as well as free agent Shola Ameobi who had a great record for the England Under 21’s previously but never stepped it up beyond that.

A lot of the squad is between 21 and 25 and thats a good sign for the future of this team. I remember a few years ago they banned themselves from playing football (they reversed the ban a few weeks later). That may have cost them a lot but ended up not effecting them at all. I think the likes of Sunday Mba, Victor Moses and Joel Obi will end up being the stars of African football.

The lad I am looking forward to watching is a chap called Emmanuel Emenike. This guy has speed and power. Looking like a brilliant player. He had a great record in Russia and now he is doing the same in Turkey. I think this guy will score a few goals and may be the man to help them into the 2nd stage of the World Cup

Argentina will top the group and with Bosnia and Iran as the other 2 in the group Nigeria will fancy that 2nd place finish. I think they will do it. I think they will go out in the 2nd round but they are capable to cause a shock I Guess.

Star Man: Emeike
One to watch: Omeruo
Prediction: 2nd Round 

Friday, 30 May 2014


I didnt think I knew a single thing about the Iranian football team. So i thought ill do some research............most of the players either play for really small teams or they play in IRAN (for small teams). This blog is going to be short and sweet.

I know 4 players and 1 of them well. ill start with the ones ive seen a little of. Javad Nekounam the Iran captain. He is a central Midfield player. has a wicked shot, Decent passer of the ball. He played in Spain for a while I cant remember what team but I  want to say Osasuna. He has a lot of caps to his name and at 34 he seems to old but Stevie Gerrard is 34 and he is playing really well. Giggs just retired at 41 so I guess as long as he is fit he should be ok. Then we have Andranik Teymourian who had a spell in England with Bolton. I remember being impress by him and I wandered (i know thats spelt wrong but i linked it to Bolton Wanderers...........see what I did? no oh you see they are called Wanderers and i put the word Wonder but i spelt it with.......forget it).  obviously nobody agreed that he should get more playing time because he is no 31 and back playing in Iran. From what I remember of him he reminded me of Beneyoun.

The other 2 currently play in England. I don’t think Charlton fans have seen the best of Reza Ghoochannejhad and i doubt many can say his name (if he gets a chant i want to hear it). in his 12 games for Charlton he has 1 goals not that impressive but for Iran he has 9 goals in 12 games. Thats impressive even if you are playing Jordan and Qatar........ oh wait no its not. The fact that Iran mainly play against teams where their main job is not football they don’t do well enough. if you a professional playing against nothing but amateurs all the time you should score a load of goals.

The other player I know is likely to be the star of this team and could actually cause some problems. Ashjkan Dejagah and be the bright light for a poor season for Fulham. If nobody picks this guy up after Fulham’s relegation id be shocked. I think he is class. He is direct Quick and dangerous. Has a German league title with Wolfsburg. I think he is class this may be because he was raised In Germany from the Age of 1 and played for the German national side all the way through youth levels.

The last thing i wanna touch on is something ive not written about yet and thats the manager. As a Manchester United fan I think Carlos Queiroz is a brilliant manager.... well brilliant football man and great assistant. Hasnt really showing the same ability at manager level yet. I don’t think he will do much for Iran in this world cup but if anybody can get their tactics right its him.

The group is Argentina, Nigeria  and Bosnia. The team that finishes 2nd in this group will go out in the 2nd knockout stage im sure. I don’t think they would have got out of any other group. I think it will be Nigeria. Its shocking really that Spain, Holland and Chile are in one group and this is another. Messi should score a bunch in the group stage. This could actually be the most interesting group. Bosnia, Nigeria and Iran are all at the same kind of level. Argentina should go through top with 9 points. But the other 3 may get a win on any given day. Its hard to pick a runner up in this group. In some of the other groups they have to be careful not to lose but these 3 will know the importance of a win.

Star man:  Dejagah
One to watch: Dejagah
Preditction: group stage

Thursday, 29 May 2014


Does anybody else say Eduador like the 1997 hit song from SASH! EC-WA-DOR dum dum just me. ok ON WITH THE BLOG!

Ecuador may win a game at this World cup but that’s because they play Honduras. This is not a great team. Id go as far as saying they are one of the poorer teams in the tournament. They do have Antonio Valencia or as I call him “one foot Tony” who I rate but he cannot carry a team. He is supposed to be the fastest player in the world but he doesn’t use it as well as he should. He is Hench but doesn’t use it,  he has a left foot but doesn’t use it. He doest use his Right foot and to good effect. I think he is a brilliant squad player just don’t think he can carry a nation or a team.

The only other player I really know is Felipe Caicedo who used to play for Manchester City before they had any money. He is a big and strong lad and i don’t think they gave him enough time but he didnt look like a World beater.  He will get a goal or 2 against Honduras.

It would be wrong to do a blog about Ecuador without mentioning Christian Benitez who was the star of Ecuadorian football. Benitez is possibly best known for his time in England with Birmingham City but also had a fine career in Mexico before moving to Qatar at the age of 27. He went to a Hospital complaining of a strong pain in the Abdomen and a few hours later Died. You wont see a player wearing 11 for Ecuador as they have retired the number in his honour.

Group E is not a strong group France and Switzerland will qualify and Ecuador should beat Honduras. I don’t see them getting any other joy.

Star Man: Valencia
One to watch: Valencia- One man team

Preditction: 3 points. Group stage elimination 


The French left our NASRI!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHH do you know what I actually think this is a good move. After what happened last year if Deschamps  thinks that Nasri is going to the world cup is going to disrupt the squad then don’t take him. The Surprise for me is the inclusion of Evra. As a United fan I like Evra as a player and as a person I think he is funny and seems a good chap. But he was the ring leader 4 years ago. He was the guy who was suspended for 10 games. Im shocked that Deschamps has selected him over Clichy who had a better season than Evra as well.

Anyway the French have a good squad. Im a big fan of the young players they have coming through especially Varane and Pogba who are in this squad. For a little while now France have made the same kind of player Cabaye, Nasri, Valbuena, Gourcuff ect but they also make defensive midfield players like Matuidi and Mavuba. Pogba is an different type of midfield player. I wonder what would have happened if he had stayed at Manchester United. No doubt in my mind he is the same kind of player to Yaya Toure. I really like this guy and I promise you this, He will score one of the goals of the Tournament because thats what he does. He scores amazing goals. Doesn’t bother scoring rubbish ones just the ones that stand the test of time.

Varane is every inch a World Class Defender now and at the age of 21. He has won the Champions league this year. I think he is better than Pepe I don’t understand why he is the back up to Pepe because he is in a different league. This guy is SOLID and he will be the Worlds best soon.

The French is strong everywhere. Goalkeeper they have Lloris, in defence they have Koscielny, Varene, Evra, Sagna, Debuchy and Sakho. In Midfield they have Ribery, Cabaye, Pogba and Matuidi and Up front they have Benzema, Remy and Giroud. This is one of the strongest squads of them all. The fact that they left out 2 top class players and they are still this strong shows the depth that France has at this time.

The only other thing im going to write about with France is Antoine Greizmann. This guy is going to be a very handy player for France. A short quick tricky winger with a goal or 2 in him. I think the Real Sociedad winger could be a big player for them and that may get him a move to one of the big clubs in Europe. I think his time in Sociedad is coming to an end anyway but at the moment he may get a Liverpool or Wolfburg. A good World cup and Barcelona or Real Madrid may come calling for him.

If you have Read my Swiss blog you will know that I see easy work for France and the Swiss. I see France topping Group E.

Star Man: Franck Ribery
One to Watch: Paul Pogba

Prediction: Quarter Final/ Semi Final 



m pretty sure that the Swiss are one great forward away from being a world beater. I Rate them very highly. They have a proven manager, some very good defenders and a really strong midfield. They just have no good forwards. Im guessing that there may be some people reading this not understanding the treat the Swiss hold but it shouldn’t surprise you. Remember 4 years ago when they beat Spain in the first game of the world cup? And Basel (the best team in Switzerland) have beaten Chelsea last season and knocked Manchester United out at the group stage a few years ago. They are an impressive team and a lot of the Swiss national team either plays for them now or recently left for a stronger country (mainly Germany).

For me the Star player is Xherdan Shaqiri. I expect a big world cup from this guy. The funny thing is he is at Bayern Munich and doesn’t play. He knew Robben and Ribery were there why would he go to Bayern? Mental. But don’t let the fact he isn’t as good as the Wingers at one of the best clubs in the world make you think this lad is not class. He would walk into any team in the Premier league and most of the teams in Spain or Germany (obviously not Bayern). A tricky left footed Winger who is able to beat a man and has a dangerous long shot on him. The first time I watched him was in a game between England and the Swiss when it looked peachy for England a comfortable away win. Then Shaqiri shot from 30 yards and scored and it was game on. England Won but still it was a great goal.

But its not just about him you also have Stocker who has impressed for Basel in the champions league nearly every time ive watched him, Inler of Napoli and Barnetta who never really reached his promise has moments of pure brilliance, Xhaka who I really like, Senderos who has rebuilt his career at Valencia and Djourou who Arsenal fans will also remember, Lichtsteiner who is a star in Turin for Juventus and Benaglio who has been a rock for both Switzerland and Wolfsburg.

There is a lot of buzz about for Ricardo Rodriquez. This guy is meant to be the next big full back and has impressed in Germany this year (also plays for Wolfsburg). 19 caps at just 21 would say that the Swiss knew about him for a while but i don’t think most of Europe know him even with him playing in a big league for a large club in that league and being a international. Him and Xhaka are the ones ill be tuning in to watch Switzerland for Oh and Shaqiri. This side could go far but I think will go out 2nd round or Quarter Finals.

Group E is a strange one. The non European teams don’t look strong. I think its the most Cut and Dry group of them all. If France and Switzerland don’t qualify it would a major Shock. They are just better than Ecuador and Honduras and should win comfortably but football isn’t always that easy i guess. Maybe Ecuador are better than I think. Maybe they turn up pumped up for the World cup. I don’t see it myself. I see the Swiss and the French going through. Either it will be both teams on 7 points or one of 9 and the other on 6. But both with go through. The big thing for the swiss is who goes through Top and who goes through 2nd.

Star Man: Shakiri
One to watch: Rodriquez

Preditction: 2nd round. 

Wednesday, 28 May 2014


I fear for the Aussies. I don’t see quality in this team. The days of Harry Kewell, Mark Viduka, Mark Schwarzer and Tim Cahill are pretty much over. Tim Cahill is the only survivor of a good time for the Roo’s. They announced the 30 man squad and I recognised about 5 players on the list. I know a fair amount about football. I don’t claim to know it all but the A-League is a league I know very little about. Pedj Bojic played for Northampton, Liam Miller played for Man Utd, we all know Heskey and Del Piero from the fine careers they had and thats about it for my knowledge of the A League. Pedj Bojic is the only one able to play for the Australian national side and he wasn’t called up.

The did keep Tim Cahill, Tim Bresciano and Luke Wilkshire were all in the squad in South Aftica 4 years ago. I actually think all 3 were in the 2006 World cup as well. they have Mile Jedinak who had a brilliant season at Crystal Palace. I know the name James Troisi and Ryan McGowan from computer games but have never seen them play and ive heard of Joshua Kennedy but I don’t know why.

Thats about it. thats all the players I knew of before doing any research and the thing is even after my research im not impressed. It seems that they are picking their team based on being able to play in the world cup in Russia in 4 years time. I have no problem with that. I like the fact they are doing this. Building a team is important. I just don’t think the players are good enough. a few years ago Australia had some really good players in some really good squads in Europe, Now the don’t. The biggest club anybody plays for is Dortmund and Langerak who I haven’t really heard of but has played 10 times for Dortmund in 3 years.  Nothing wrong with being the back up for a side like Dortmund but lets face it Weidenfeller (Dortmund’s number 1) isn’t that good so im not expecting anything. The next biggest club is Crystal Palace.  

Dont expect anything from this team. They wont win. I don’t think they will draw. They are going to be beaten and beaten well. I just don’t see them scoring. This would have been a hard group for an Australian All star team made up of the best players in Australian history. Chile should beat them, Spain will beat them and Holland will beat them.

Star Man: Tim Cahill
One to Watch: Jedinak
Prediction: in for a beating- group stage. Id be impressed if they scored. 

Tuesday, 27 May 2014


I don’t like the word Netherlands. Ive always know The Netherlands as Holland and I think I always will. I don’t know why it seems to have changed. What was wrong with Holland? Nothing. So why did we change it? did we change it because thats what they want to be called. If so I want the French and  Spanish and everybody else  to refer to England as England not Angleterre or anything else.........ok so that wasn’t supposed to be a rant but turned out to be one. I only mentioned it to say I will refer to Holland as Holland not The Netherlands.

The Dutch have a good squad. They have a mix of Cracking Young players like De Vrij, Memphis Depay and Jordy Clasie with experienced world class players like Robin Van Persie and Arjen Robben.

The Dutch have never won the world cup they have come close a few times including the final 4 years ago but never crossed the line to winning the cup. I like this Dutch team. So much Class running through them and the Future Manchester United Manager in charge of them. The worry I have for them is at the back. They have Ron Vlaar and a bunch of kids at the back. I don’t rate Vlaar so if he is your Rock at the back then your in trouble. In Midfield they are fine. A lot of class going forward mixed with some steel at the defensive positions.

Up Front is the strength of this Dutch team. RVP (Van Persie), Robben, Huntelaar, Depay and Lens are all about scoring goals. Im impress by Depay. The speed of the guy is unreal. He is going to be a star so is Wijnaldum who has a very hard to spell name. But I think Clasie may be the one to watch. He is a central midfield player who has exceptional passing ability. I think he is like Xabi Alonso. Not the fastest but a great passer of the ball. I do like De Vrij and Bruno Martins Indi who play at the back (that i don’t rate) as exceptional young defenders but thats what they are they are both 22 and have 22 caps between them.

The Group is tough. Ive written this a few times now. But The Holland v Chile Game will decide both teams fate. I Think Holland will go through because im convinced they are going to draw with Spain in game 1 of the 3. Spain will beat Chile (it will be close but i think Spain will be Chile) and then i think all teams with beat the Aussies. So a draw for Holland and they will be on 5 points and Chile 4. A Chile win puts them on 6 points and Holland on 4 and Chile would go through 2nd.

Star Man: Arjen Robben
One to Watch: Jordy Clasie
Prediction: Quarter Final maybe Semi Final. To weak at the back to win it all. 


About 5 years ago Chile did something that not a lot of teams do. They looked at their squad and instead of looking at the formation they wanted to play and then look at the players they had to fit that formation they put their best 11 players on a piece of paper and came up with a brand new formation. They are not symmetrical they sometimes don’t play that many defenders they know their strength is in the Centre of midfield and playing through Alexis Sanchez. Its this that not only makes Chile hard to play against but also they have started to get recognised for the players they are bringing through. The players im going to talk about in today’s blogs you will have heard of if your into your footballers and maybe one or 2 you may not have heard of.

Chile destroyed England a few months back. The went to Germany a few weeks later and controlled them and lost by a really small margin and the Germans booed their own team. The formation thing is an odd thing but the important thing about the formation is how they get the best out of their best players. Sanchez, Vidal, Medel, Isla and Vargas.

The most important player to Chile is Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez. I think he is class. He is 25 years old and he is a direct strong winger who plays wide for Barcelona but more central (sort of a free role) for Chile. I love his Directness its fantastic to watch. I think Direct football should be used more often anyway as its very effective. That’s why Bale and Ronaldo are getting so much joy at footballers. They are so direct.  No messing about “im going to score” bang “see I told you” style of players and Sanchez is one of them. I actually think Barcelona is the wrong team for him. I think he would be better in the Premier League. its built for players like Alexis. Manchester United would be an incredible fit. Ive wanted him at United since I first saw him play for Udinese in Italy about 5 year ago. Im actually surprised more wingers are not getting stronger because it seems to be really effective. Ronaldo, Bale and Sanchez are 3 of the best wingers in the world and they are all strong, Quick and athletic. Seems obvious to me.

Im a big fan as well of the 2 lad  that play for Juventus. Isla and Vidal. Isla is a full back but can play defensive midfield as well. think Lahm of Bayern. Very good full back, Wing back or Defensive centre midfield. Vidal is the perfect Centre midfield player. This lad is world class. Good goal scorer, good passer, can tackle and cross ect. I actually think he is the best player in Italy at the moment.

It may surprise you to hear that one of their best players plays for a championship club. He plays for Wigan and his name is Jean Beausejour. This guy confuses me. for Wigan he seems average at best. For Chile he transforms. He seems to pick the right pass a lot more for Chile. Ive seen it before where some players just play better for their country but Beausejour shows a bigger improvement that anybody ive seen in recent time. maybe its just playing against better players, i don’t know.

The group is interesting. If you have read the Spain blog then you will know that I think Spain will top this group. But Chile or Holland will be runner up. The match between Holland and Chile is going to Vital to the progression of them. I do think Chile may do it and qualify. It would be interesting if they Drew because then it would come down to who didn’t lose to Spain or beat Australia by the most amount of goals. I get the feeling that the way the games fall Holland have an advantage by playing Spain first and i think that will be a draw. Meaning if they draw with Chile they will have 5 points (they will beat the Aussies). Chile wont beat Spain and i also think Spain will  win that game so Chile with a draw to Holland would only have 4 points. But Chile beat Holland and they will qualify. This is going to be a really good group

Star player Alexis Sanchez
One to watch: Vidal
Prediction: unfortunately I think they will go out group stage


Group B is know as the Group of Death. With Spain, Holland, Australia and Chile in it you can see why. This is a tough group. Spain are the current World cup and European Champions. They are the only European team to win the World Cup outside of Europe. They are (in my opinion) the best international team to have ever played football. This team is no different. Yeah Xavi is getting on a little, Torres and Villa are not what they were all that was true 2 years ago and they still couldn’t be stopped. Normally what I do in these blogs is rave about 1 or 2 players that I am really looking forward to watching but Spain have far to many. A True football fan will know nearly all of the Spain squad. Their 3 choice goalkeeper is David De Gea who was Manchester United’s Player of the season. This is a team that doesn’t really play a striker and they have Torres, Villa, Llorente and Negredo all called up as well as the controversial choice of Diego Costa.

I do9nt actually think Diego Costa is as good as everybody says he is. Atletico are a brilliant team regardless of if he plays for them or not. They are being made out as a bit of a one man team but not for me. they have a lot of players who work really hard and are top class players. Costa is a good player don’t get me wrong but people are putting him in the £50m price bracket. He is not worth that. Hes good maybe £25m-£30m at most but not £50m. Last year because he wasn’t selected by Brazil for the Confederations cup he chose to play for Spain instead. Thats very mature of you Diego. Abandon you country and play for another because you weren’t deemed good enough to play at that point. He would have been a dead cert to play for them this World Cup. If I was a Brazil fan id be happy without him. No doubt he would have helped them but a poison no doubt. Just wouldn’t want him around the squad. Im shocked that with all the options Spain have they are selecting him. I get the feeling that they are just making sure Brazil don’t have him. They are better than stealing players from other countries. I think if you move somewhere for your job (playing football) you shouldn’t be calling that place you country. Fair enough if you were born somewhere else and you moved to be happier or not die and you happen to find out your a world class footballer thats fair but nothing should be better than wearing the colours of your home nation.  Sorry but it annoys me.

Spain are not just about forwards. They have 9 midfield players who would be in every single countries world cup squad if they were from any other nation and some would argue 10 or 11. They pass the ball better than any other team. Defence isn’t that strong but they do have world class players in Pique and Ramos and top top class players like Azpilcueta, Alba and Martinez. Im a big fan of Spain. I do think they will be in the Final and they could well be the first Back to Back World Cup winners.

The group is good as I said at the top. Spain should top this group though. Chile and Holland will fight it out for the runner up spot of group B in my eyes. I don’t think Spain will win all of their games but they may well win 2 and draw the other (maybe Holland). They start with Holland and I think both teams will not want to lose. I just think in this situation the games are a little boring because they both know that a draw is a good result..  I actually feel bad for Australia because they are in for 3 beatings. Chile and Holland are both brilliant teams and its a shame they are in the same group. I want to see 3 of the teams in this group more than 3 times but it adds some spice to the group stage. Holland v Chile is one of the games im looking forward to the most.

Star man: Hard to say who the star man is but I love watching Iniesta
One to watch: Koke is class but may not get much game time.
Prediction: what Spain do best. Winner.   

Friday, 23 May 2014


Today blog is Japan. Im actually not expecting much from Japan. I know they work hard as a football team (every Japan team has). I know that they will be organised. I know they will have some flair and speed. In Kagawa, Honda and Okazaki they have 3 really good players. They have more players in Europe than ever. Most play in Germany who seem to have really embraced Asia players as a lot of the South Korean squad play in Germany as well.

I want to write about Kagawa to start off with. He plays well for Japan and less so for Manchester United but people forget that he is a 2 time Germany league winner and player of the season. Im a Manchester United fan and I like Kagawa. I think a lot of the time he gets compared to Park or Mata. That’s unfair he sits somewhere in the middle. He works hard he has great talent but for me he is not world class. Same really as Honda (who was born on the same day as me by the way). He finally moved to a big club in AC Milan after years of floating around Europe’s lesser leagues in Russia and Holland. I am pleased for him as it looked like he has been ready for this move for a few years not but has only just got it but again he is not world class.  We are yet to see the Real Deal come out of Japan or any other Asia team. That may not last very long. 1998 Japan qualified for their first world cup and they have been to them all since. The youngest player in the tournament is 18 and born 2 years before this. They will have a culture of football from not only 1998 when they were beaten but the 2002 World cup they hosted and made and impression on. Its a matter of time before either Japan or South Korea win World Cup but i think we are looking beyond the Qatar World Cup in 8 years. We may be talking 20 years but the fact that they are coming to Europe shows that they are getting better and better.

I think its interesting that Japan have no players under the age of 23. They haven’t called anybody under the age of 21 all the qualifying campaign. I cant find anything about any restrictions they put in but it seems to me like the under 20’s play till they are over 20 and then they play for the under 23’s until they are to old for them. This isn’t the best way of doing things for me.

Star Man: Kagawa
One to watch: Honda

Prediction: Group stage. 

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Ivory Coast

Africa’s best hope of winning the World Cup. I don’t think they will win it but this is clearly the best team in Africa. They have a lot of players are well known in football. Yaya Toure is the star of the team but Drogba and Kolo Toure have both starred in the Premier League previously but are getting on and are not the stars they were. Then you have Kalou (former Chelsea), Gervinho (former Arsenal) and Zokora (former spurs) who also played for big teams in the premier league. The likes of Tiote, Traore and Bony all played in the premier league last year.

Yaya Toure’s form at the end of the season for City was amazing. The guy has so much power and strength but is also really good with his feet, really quite and  a great finisher. For my money he is the complete midfield player. people are starting to say he is one of the Premier Leagues best ever midfield players and is hard to say he is not. Its no like he has only just started playing well. He has been a rock for City for years now.

I wanna talk about 2 players you may not know about. Everton Fans will know Lacina Traore but I doubt even Everton much of him. He is like a African Peter Crouch. 6 ft 8 tall. Skinny. He scored goals in Russia for fun. I think he could be a big player some day. Monaco Saw enough of him to buy him in Jan but clearly didnt think he was ready for them just yet as they Loaned him straight to Everton.  It hard to mark a guy who is that tall if they are really strong.

The other player who is interesting me is  the full back Serge Aurier who is a huge prospect in France. He is a right back and has been compared to the guy he has replaced in the Ivory Coast squad Eboue, From what ive heard he is better defensively than Eboue. He is rumoured to be leaving Toulouse this summer and  a move to a big Prem team seems to be on the cards. Im hearing Arsenal is his preferred choice. We will see I guess.

This is not a young team. Most of the players are in their late 20’s/ early 30s be interested where the future of Ivory Coast is. But Traore and Bony will have a big say on that. By the way I was seriously impressed with Bony this season. Im always a little suspect of great goals scorers in Holland. They don’t tend to do that much in the Premier League when they move there (Kezman and Alves the main 2), But Bony really impressed.

The Group isn’t that tough. Japan, Greece and Colombia. I think Colombia and Ivory Coast will have a really good game against each other. I think Japan would have to cause a shock to get out of the group and Greece should get beaten 3 times. This hasnt been spoken about much but I actually think the group is the closest of them all. No clear winner and no Clear Runner up.

Star Man: Yaya Toure
One to watch: Serge Aurier

Prediction: last African team standing. Quarter Finals 

Wednesday, 21 May 2014


Ive been looking forward to this blog since before I started doing the first blog. Colombia are seen by many as a dark horse. I don’t think so. I don’t think they are a dark horse. Same as Belgium they are not dark horses they are just a good team. Colombia are in the top 10 consistently nowadays and they have some truly world class players. Mainly Falcao and James Rodriguez but some would argue that Jackson Martinez and Fredy Guarin are as well (not for me).

I like their young players especially Luis Muriel who is a Rapid striker (and I MEAN RAPID). He plays in Italy for Udinese but I don’t expect  him to be there long. I think a move to the premier league would suit him better. Arsenal or Chelsea ideal. He is 23 and doesn’t have many caps but this guy is class and he may well play what with the injury troubles with Falcao. Im shocked Falcao is back. In January he was rules out with a Cruciat Ligiment knee injury and i though that was that but he is at 60% at the moment and only getting stronger. He may well make it. Jackson Martinez and Carlos Bacca (who just won the Europa League) also play up front so may be hard to get him involved.

Defensivly they may not be that strong. They do have Zuniga  of Napoli and Zapata of Milan who are really good players but Armero struggled to make an impression at West ham this season and the next biggest name is former Milan player Mario Yepes who is retiring after the world cup. I do like the keeper Ospina who plays in France for Nice. From what ive seen he is a good young keeper.

Just want to mention that they have the oldest player in the world cup playing for Colombia. A chap by the name of Mondragon who is 42 and will be 43 during the world cup. He is a back up keeper and has been playing first team football since 1995. The average age of this squad is probably very high as they have Yepes (38) and Perea (35) Mosquara (32), Ramirez (33) and Soto (33) all over the age of 30.  

Star Man: Falcao if he makes it Rodriguez if he doesn’t
One to watch: Muriel or Rodriguez
Prediction: Quarter Finals. 

Tuesday, 20 May 2014


When I committed to writing a blog on every time in the build up to the world cup I expected to have a few Blogs i wasn’t looking forward too. Greece, Iran, Honduras (that’s why i did it first), Costa Rica and Algeria. I’ve done Costa Rica and Honduras and actually enjoyed them. Greece less so. Ive not enjoyed the research but here goes.

Greece in 2004 rocked the world with the win in Portugal. They won without playing well. it was a fluke and wont be repeated in Brazil. They have to go down (in my eyes) as the worst team to win a major competition. 2 years ago I wrote that I would be shocked if Greece got out of their group and they did I looked foolish. They were comfortably beaten in the 2nd round but they got out of the group. This time around id be shocked if they got out the group again.

Do they have bad players? Not really. Do they have Great players? No not one. They are an organised team and they play well together but they are not a good group of players. There is an argument that they have left their best player at home in Kyriakos Papdopoulos of Schalke 04 in Germany. They reason for this is he is injury prone but he only has to be fit for 1 month. Even Abu Diaby could manage that (actually he couldn’t).

They do have some decent players. Sakratis Papstathopoulos (yeah i copied the spelling over from google) is  good defender who plays for Dortmund. Miroglou had a brilliant record for Olympiacos before moving to Fulham where he never played. Sotiris Ninis had a spell in England before going back to Greece but I rate his as a decent winger. I don’t rate Samaras of Celtic. I think Karagounis is passed his best. That’s about it. I don’t have anything else to say about Greece and that is their problem. Ive written and researched a lot of teams I didn’t think were going to do anything this World Cup ie Honduras and Costa Rica but they both had a star player and Greece has a squad of average players. 1 playing club football for a team that is considered a top team and that’s Sakratis of Dortmund again. They bored me in the last tournament and I expect the same this time.

Group c is made up of Japan, Ivory Coast and Columbia. All 3 are better than Greece. I expect them to lose all 3. I kind of want them to lose all 3 so that they don’t qualify. 3 games of boredom is enough for me. they may Draw to Japan but i think Columbia and Ivory Coast will have to much for them.

Star player: um................... maybe k........ im going to go for Sokratis Papastathopoulos
One to Watch: um Kastas Mitroglou...... he cant be that bad can he?
Prediction: 1 point maybe. Defiantly out in group stage. 

Monday, 19 May 2014


Ok so im an England fan. I am English and I love England. I want and believe that England can win the world cup. I don’t see why not. Do they have world class players? Yes (Rooney, Gerrard and Hart are all world class). Do they have a weakness? Maybe at Right back. Secret Weapons? Not really because the premier league is the most watch league in the world, but Sterling, Barkley, Lallana and Shaw may be underestimated.

The Squad has a good balance between youth and experience, they have grafters and flair players. They have a good organised defence and attacking Full backs. My worry for England is Defensive midfielders. They don’t have a midfield stopper a guy who is just there to stop people playing and move the ball to the better players. Henderson, Gerrard, Wilshire, Lampard and Barkley are the centre midfield players. Personally I would have taken Carrick over Lampard. Lampard hasnt had a good year but nor has Carrick. Carrick though is England’s best passing midfield player and he also intercepts play better than any other England player. he is on stand by so he may get the call but id play him in a 3 man midfield. I suspect they will play Gerrard in that position and maybe try to ustilise Wilshire more. I quite like Ox playing in centre midfield. He played there a few times for Arsenal and I was impressed.

Up front they have some class. Rooney is due a good tournament. Some people say he has underperformed for England but he will end up England top ever goalscorer and has been a star for 10 years for them. He was amazing in his first tournament Euro 2004 but got sent off against Portugal in 2006, England didnt make 2008’s Euro, was injured right up to the first game of the world cup 4 years ago and got himself suspended for 2 games in the last tournament 2 years ago. He is due a good tournament and has played well in a poor Manchester United team. They have Sturridge who is a greedy, selfish little bugger but he scores goals and has brilliant ability. I think you need a selfish player up front. Nobody says Ronaldo is Selfish but he is.

I think people outside England may seen Jagielka and Cahill as weaknesses but I actually think they are brilliant. I watched England beat Spain a few years back. The centre backs in that game were Jagielka and Lesscott and they were brilliant. They defended nearly all game and Spain couldn’t get passed him. Jags especially was amazing. Joe Hart has the ability to make amazing saves he showed that previously.

The group is tough for England. Ive written that I expect England will qualify out of the group. This is because I expect them to draw against Italy and Uruguay and beat Costa Rica. I Expect Costa Rica to lose to Italy and Uruguay and I expect Italy and Uruguay to draw in their game. As England play Costa Rica last. This means that they will know how much they have to beat Costa Rica by. I don’t see Italy scoring to many against Costa Rica.

The problem would be what happens after that. England haven’t beaten a decent team in a knockout game since 1996 when they beat Spain in the Quarter Final of the Euro in England (they won that on Pens). Lost to Portugal and Argentina on pens as well as being battered by Germany and beaten by Brazil in the world cup in 02. They have beaten Ecuador and Denmark in recent time. I worry about playing a big team because I don’t think they know how to win against them.

In 1966 England won the world cup, Atletico Madrid won the Spanish League, Real Madrid won the Champions League, Austria won the Eurovision and the in the FA cup Final the team that won it went 2-0 down to pull it back and win it.  If Real Madrid win this weekend im putting my money on England to repeat history in Brazil.

Star Player: Wayne Rooney
One to Watch: Ross Barkley
Prediction: Hope Winners, Realistic Quarter finals 

Costa Rica

Im not going to pretend I know a lot about Costa Rica. Ill know a lot more by the time that Uruguay have played them in the World Cup but I know little of them know. Ive only seen 3 of them play football before, Kaylor Navas (Goalkeeper for Levante), Bryan Ruiz (number 10 who is now at PSV used to play for Fulham) and Joel Campbell (Olympiacos winger on loan from Arsenal).  I have heard of Celso Borges but i think this is just through playing computer games like Football manager. Ive looked at him a little and his goal scoring record from midfield is very good (although all in Sweden).

Navas shouldn’t be under estimated. I remember seeing the Barcelona v Levante game this season and Navas was very very good. He is the kind of keeper who will make a wonder-save and then lose concentration for a second and cost his team. I don’t think he will be given the chance to lose concentration at the world cup as they should be on defence most of all 3 games they will play.

Joel Campbell is going to be vital for them. His speed and skill will be very useful for counter attacking. He showed in the Olympiacos v Manchester United game that he can take on and beat a player and he has a good shot on him as well.  Campbell is an odd one. Id heard of him before Arsenal signed him but I cannot remember why. He must have played in a game I watched a few years ago but I just don’t remember it. Good player though. I expect that he will be their best player.

Bryan Ruiz is a tricky player who is a classic number 10. Didnt work for Fulham but seems to have impressed since going back to Holland where he made his name. I actually rate Ruiz I just don’t think he will be useful to a team like Costa Rica. They don’t need a player who is going to put in a clever pass behind the defence. They need really quick players who will be good on the counter attack. but more important than that they need Defenders who are organised and disciplined. I know nothing about any of the defenders but they got to the World Cup, How bad can they be?

Any group would be tough for Costa Rica. 3 games, 3 defeats. The impact they will make on the tournament is one team is going to go out because they didnt score enough goals against Costa Rica. I can see them playing on the back foot and trying to counter on the break though Joel Campbell and that is there best chance of getting something. I wont rule out a draw in one of the games but personally I don’t think they will.

Star Man: Bryan Ruiz
One to Watch: Joel Campbell
Prediction: 3 Defeats and home. Id actually be surprised if they scored. 

Saturday, 17 May 2014


This is not a young team. Its an experienced reaching their peak as a footballer team. The best players will be no surprise to anybody Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez are exceptional footballers and they are both 27 years old this is the world cup that they should be in their peak for.

Diego Godin, Martin Caceres, Fernando Muslera and Alvaro Pereira and Maxi Pereira are also a peak ages and they all have many caps. This side has won Copa America they are a brilliant squad and in South America to they shouldn’t be underestimated. They have been building to this world cup and im sure they think they can win it.

My worry for them is defensively as they are not very good. Diego Godin (Atletico Madrid centre back) aside they struggle. Caceres a defender for Juventus but he is not a great footballer. Fucile is a cracking full back but can be exploited. They lack Centre Midfield defensive players  they actually lack midfielder completely. A stealth of both England and Italy who are in the same group. They may well be one of the teams to watch. Suarez scored all kind of goals and so does Cavani. They both have great records at both club and country level and I expect them to be brilliant. Muslera is a good keeper and will make amazing saves but also will make a mistake or 2 every so often but mainly when under used. 

I expect this team to get out of the group. They could go quite far. They are a very good team. They may win it. I don’t think they will. I think they will end up in the quarters. It wouldn’t shock me if they went out group stage because they have a tough group with England, Italy and Costa Rica in it. England and Italy wouldn’t be a shock. It would be expected a little I guess. I think this team has the ability to go far but there is always one team that does badly and I can also see that being Italy. I know i’m an England fan i think the fixture order works well for England and I do expect them to go through. It could come down to a shoot out between Italy and Uruguay. I expect Uruguay to beat Costa Rica by more goals than Italy will. That for me means that its up to Italy to beat Uruguay to go through. I cant pick that result.

Star Man: Luis Suarez
One to watch: Jorge Fucile
Prediction: Quarter Finals 

Friday, 16 May 2014


The Italian football team is a product of the Italian football league. they are not very good anymore. They have some obvious class because they always will but previously they would have a Totti supporting an Insaghi they now have a Balotelli supporting himself.

They Dont have a bad spine they have one of the best Goalkeepers to play the game in Buffon and at 36 he still has a bit left in the tank. They have Chiellini and Barzagli at centre backs and the option of going 3 at the back with Bonucci they play together all the time and are pretty solid. They have Pirlo and De Rossi in Centre Midfield with Montolivo there as well and then Balotelli up front with people who never really did it at international level Cassano and Rossi. At full back they look weak. I like the looks of De Sciglio of Milan who is a young fullback but he is that. He hasnt established himself and could be exposed. At winger they look worse i think they will play wing backs because they don’t have any wide midfielders.

If Balotelli doesn’t score i don’t see them scoring. I don’t see them letting in a lot but scoring could be set pieces and thats fine if your West Ham but to be Real Madrid you need more than that. Only 3 of this squad played outside of Serie A this year and they all played for PSG (Motta, Verratti and Sirigu) who may not even play. I don’t see Italy getting far at all.

The group is England, Uruguay and Costa Rica. They play England First the Costa Rica and then Urugauy. I think they wil draw against England and beat Costa Rica. And i expect England and Uruguay to draw aswell. This means that England would go through with a better win against Costa Rica than Italy or Uruguay who would have already played them. So if that happens i can see the Uruguay v Italy game could be huge for both of them. I believe England will get out of this group but will who will join them im not sure. The other thing Italy have not done well is placement. They base is thousands of miles away from game they play and in the higher altitude areas and the hotter areas. Im not saying Italy is a cold place but Surely Costa Rica and Uruguay will be better suited to the heat. I really see them struggling and i don’t see enough class to get them out of this.

Ive been quite negative about them but some positives. They got to the final of Euro 2012 they played well in that. Balotelli starred and will be their best player again I feel. De Sciglio shows that they can still produce some class with Verratti as well they have some ok young players.

Star man: Mario Balotelli
One to Watch: Daniele De Rossi (has got to turn up at some point for Italy)
Prediction: going to put my neck on the line and say Group Stage 5 points scoring less goals than England and Uraguay who also have 5 points but go through 

Thursday, 15 May 2014


Like Mexico I think Croatia may be a Dark Horse. They have been a bit of a dark horse team for a while. I remember them knocking England out of Euro 2004 qualifying and then going on to have a good tournament. Like Mexico I don’t expect to see Croatia win it but either them or Mexico could make an impression.

They have some obvious class with the like of Modric and Rakitic in midfield and they have a defender I rate very highly in Dejan Lovren who plays in the premier league for Southampton. You may remember they also have former Arsenal player Eduardo and for Spurs players Kranjcar (now of QPR) and Corluka but I think a lot of people forget they also have Hull Striker Kelavic and Bayern Munich Mario Mandzukic who was amazing against Manchester United in the Champions league this year.  add to that the experience of Pletikosa (34 year old goalkeeper who has 109 caps), Darijo Srna (who has 111 caps and plays for Donetsk) and Ivica Olic (of Wolfsburg and formally of Bayern Munich and has 90 caps) this side has been about. The next generation looks good for Croatia as well. the like of Badelj (25 playing for Hamburg), Mateo Kovacic who plays in Italy for Inter Milan and Ante Rebic who is also in Italy with Fiorentina. The only surprise may be the fact they left out Alen Halilovic who has just signed for Barcelona after impressing in Croatia and is rated as the European Messi. Im sure that if he was Niko Kovac wouldn't have left him at home.

They are missing Josip Simunic who has been banned for the cup due to comments he made on a loud speaker after they qualified. I have looked at the squad I think they are better without Simunic as i don’t rate him anyway.

They have a tough group of Brazil, Mexico and Cameroon. Its not an easy group. Ive done blogs on all 4 now and what in my head started off as an easy ride to for Brazil actually looks harder than it seems. Id be Shocked if Brazil didnt go through and id expect it to be either Mexico or Croatia to join them in the knock out stages. I do feel Croatia are slightly stronger but im really looking forward to the Mexico v Croatia game as that will decide to me who will go through. Don’t rule Cameroon out but its a hard ask for them. They look on paper the weakest side in the group.

Star Man: Luca Modric
One to watch: Ivan Rakitic
Prediction: maybe Quarter Finals but could also go out in the group

Wednesday, 14 May 2014


Mexico may well be a Dark Horse you know. A lot of this team won the youth world cup a while ago. A lot of this squad won the Olympics in London in 2012. They don’t have many stars the biggest name is Javier Hernandez (Chicharito) the little pea of Manchester United. They also have a couple of others you may have heard of such as Rafael Marquez formally of Barcelona (now 35 years old) and Carlos Salcido formally of West Ham United who is 33 and both of these guys are back playing in Mexico. Dos Santos formally of Spurs who has started to show he is able to live up to the potential he showed in Barcelona. Andres Guardado is a cracking player at 27 he has 100 caps for Mexico he plays in Germany for Bayer Leverkusen and has played for Deportivo in Spain. He can play Left Back, Left Full back or Left Winger and is comfortable in all of these.

Im really excited about this team. I didnt know a lot about them before the squad was announced but since doing my research on them I now cannot wait to see them. They have a few players I really want to watch. The first is Hector Herrera he is a 24 year old centre midfield player who plays box to box. His club team is Porto in Portugal and he was part of the team that won a gold medal in London. Ive heard his name linked to the likes of Man Utd, Chelsea, Arsenal and even Real Madrid. This could be a fine player. then there is the lesser known Marco Fabian, He has also won a gold medal at the Olympics in London. He was the top scorer for Mexico and also in the 2012 Toulon tournament he was the top scorer of the whole tournament you may think from what I have just written that Fabian is a forward but he is a midfield player. ive not been able to find out if he is a number 10 or a central midfielder but either way he scores goals. Im surprised he isn’t playing in Europe. I wouldn’t be shocked if he was by the end of the summer. Very impressive stats wise. Has had a bit of a problem in the passed as he was one of the 7 Mexican players banned for 6 months due to post match partying but seems to be a little of an overreaction on the part of Mexico and it seems to have cost them one of their best players. Carlos Vela isn’t in the squad. He was one of the ones suspended and has chosen not to play for Mexico until mentally ready. Meaning no world cup for Vela who has been brilliant since going to Spain from Arsenal.

They have a tough group. Brazil, Croatia and Cameroon. Cameroon first. I think this could play in their favour. Croatia will lose to Brazil unless something really special happens. I expect Mexico to beat Cameroon. A win against Croatia sees them through and who knows from their. Im not saying they will win the world cup but i do think they have a touch of the unknowns about them and they have a group of players who have won for Mexico. That could be vital to a run at the World Cup.

Star player: Javier Hernandez
One to watch: Hector Herrera
Prediction: round of 16 or group stage.... but a few players to move Europe’s big boys.  


Cameroon are not a team I expect to get very far. They are not the best team in Africa anymore they are still reliant on Eto’o who has shown this year at Chelsea that he is still a good player. I do think that this team is less reliant on Eto’o on previous years. Playes like Aboubakar who has started making a name for themselves in France and Maxim Choupo-Moting who is doing the same in Germany are starting to show that they are capable of playing at International level. I think they have one of the best young Centre backs playing in Europe in Marseille’s Nicolas N’Koulou who could star. I rate all 3 Centre Midfielders that they will be likely to use in Alex Song, Jean Makoun and Stephane Mbia.

A lot of these players are playing in Europe. Turkey mainly as always a lot of French based players. 2 English based and a few Spanish and German based players as well. They also have the Youngest player selected at the moment. He has 5 caps so he may well make the cut. His name is Fabrice Olinga and you should remember the name. He has already played for Malaga and has been on loan in Belgium this year. He turned 18 on the 12th May 2014 and is the only player selected born in 1996...........1996????? I remember 1996 like it was yesterday how is it possible that a player born in 1966 is going to the World Cup. Mental.

People remember Cameroon as the national side that break the mould. They had a kit that was attached to the shorts and were made to change it. they had a sleeveless shirt/vest kit. They were the first time to use a shaded picture in the national shirt (I actually own a Cameroon shirt). I hope they do well as id like to see and African team do well but I expect that to be Ivory Coast not Cameroon.

The Group is tough they have Brazil, Croatia and they start by playing Mexico on day 2 of the world cup. I don’t expect them to get out of the group but that doesn’t mean they wont. Any of Croatia, Mexico and Cameroon could make it out of the group but personally I see that being Croatia.

Star Man: Samuel Eto’o
One to Watch: Nicolas N’Koulou
Prediction: Group stage no further 

Tuesday, 13 May 2014


Hands up who knows about Honduras??? No.... over there........ no ............fair enough. i don’t know that much about them and I don’t expect them to do very well. The only players I really know are Wilson Palacios (Stoke City player who played for Spurs and Wigan), Maynor Figueroa (Hull and former Wigan), Roger Espinoza and Jaun Carlos Garcia (both current Wigan).

The rest of them playing in the USA, Honduras, China or Costa Rica with the exception of 21 year old Andy Najar who plays for Anderlecht in Belgium. I don’t know much about him but at 21 he has 15 caps and a goal he is playing for a club who signs young players with talent and develop them. The team is experienced and they have played together a lot.

They went to the world cup 4 years ago and a lot of the players are in the squad again. They likes of Palacios is a good player and so is Figueroa but i know very little about anybody else. Carlo Costly is has very good stats for international team. He has 30 goals in 68 games for Honduras and the 31 year old has a little experience of football in England. Birmingham City fans may remember him from a brief spell at St Andrews 8 games 0 goals back in 2009. His Club form has never been good some would say that he has been quite “costly”..................... ill get my coat.

Honduras is in a group with France, Ecuador and Switzerland. I see them getting a might 0 goals and 0 points. I don’t expect much. Ecuador are their best chance but I think they are to strong for Honduras.

They fit in the “Happy to be there” section of the world cup. It seems that North America seems to do this a lot. They send 2 decent teams in USA and Mexico but 2 poor teams that wont be up to much. Honduras fit in the latter part . best of luck to them. They will need it.

Prediction: bottom of Group E

Player to Watch: Maynor Figueroa