Brazil, you say? They know how to play football over there, don't they? But it's a long way for one so middle aged as I to travel.

So instead, I shall slouch into my leather armchair and view the tournament from this side of the Atlantic. I shall try and watch every game and will definitely make wildly inaccurate predictions too.

I do solemnly vow to give you a real sense of what it's like to not be at the World Cup. This is the blog where all the colour and atmosphere and passion of watching the world's greatest sporting tournament on a wall mounted widescreen really comes to life.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

WORLD CUP 2014 GROUP B Who will qualify?

The 2010 finalists are drawn in this group and it would take a fool to bet against both qualifying.
I'm a fool.
I'm tempted to plump for SPAIN to do a FRANCE 2002 and fail to make it through the group stages as cup holders, but I really can't see it. They're still too good a team to make a mess of it.
But something tells me the DUTCH have had their day and are on the wane, unlike Spain, which rhymes nicely.
CHILE qualified third in the CONMEBOL (this could do with a few more letters to make it snappier) and are ranked 12th in the world. Which all equals no pushovers.
And with the tournament based in their sort of climes, I can see them running Spain closer than Holland for first place in this group.
I haven't mentioned AUSTRALIA yet, the fourth of this group. Always plucky performers, capable of pulling a surprise which they certainly did in 2006, but their best players are ageing and no longer playing at the very highest level, so I'm confident that the team will be holding up the rest of the sides, much like their nation does with the rest of the world on the old map.

GROUP B: 1: SPAIN  2: CHILE  3: Holland  4: Australia

Thursday, 24 April 2014

PREDICTIONS: Who will qualify from World Cup Group A?

Let's get straight to the nub of the matter: The hosts have the mostest skills and the bestest chance of winning this group.

It's inconceivable that BRAZIL won't waltz Group A (isn't the waltz Argentinian?). The five-times winners will regard anything less than three out of three wins as a failure, and I can see them doing it. Pride, passion, skill and Scolari will see them safely negotiate a fairly tame group.

There's not much to split the other three teams, with each having a case for staking a claim to the runner's up spot.

But I'm plumping for CAMEROON to take it. The African nations failed to impress when the tournament made its first visit to their continent four years ago, and I think they will be out to make amends, big time.

MEXICO will push them close but will just miss out. Although star Manchester United man Javier Hernandez hasn't exactly had a busy season at Old Trafford, he's likely to be rusty and that might count against him and his nation.

I think all the European nations are going to struggle in the heat of Brazil. It's a fact you're going to hear a lot of over the next few months, but it's still worth repeating here: no European nation has ever won a World Cup held in South America, which is why I'm putting CROATIA last here. There may be as little as a point separating them and runners-up Cameroon, but it'll be enough to send them home early.

GROUP A: 1: BRAZIL;  2: CAMEROON;  3: Mexico;  4: Croatia.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

ITV v BBC. Who will win the battle of the World Cup Theme Tunes?

Maracas? Tick.  A bossa nova beat? Tick. Some generic, celebratory chanting? Tick.

If the composers who won the pitch to provide us with the soundtracks for this summer's festival of football don't tick the above boxes, I'll be shocked.

But maybe one of the channels will decide to surprise us with something modern and less cliched?

Who knows? All I know is it won't be long until we find out.

ITV won in 2010. The Beeb won't want to lose again...

50 days to go to The World Cup. 1950 and all that...

Fifty, fifty.

Like a market stall holder beckoning you toward his stall, tempting you with his reasonably priced fruit 'fifty, fifty, your banana, fifty, fifty' I'm marking the fact that there are only 50 days to go until The World Cup with this post.

I'm not the only football blogger to draw a parallel between this landmark and the last time the greatest show on turf was held in Brazil, in 1950, in case you hadn't guessed.

And what you also might not have guessed is that Brazil failed to win that tournament. The multi-World Cup winners failed to do the business on their own patch.

Will the pressure of expectation create another potential banana skin that will see the hosts slip up in their own back yard?

We'll begin to get a better idea in fifty, fifty days...

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Four years? It seems like only 1460 days

It's back.
The World Cup Blog that's like no other.
Only because no two World Cup blogs can be alike.
But this one is the real deal.
Its writer (me) is going nowhere near Brazil.
I'm staying right here, thank you very much, and watching the tournament on me telly.
Not for me all those air miles and humidity and carnivalesque pre-match atmospheres.
Just a quiet can or four of cooking lager will suffice, along with a comfy chair with an uninterrupted view of my wall-mounted widescreen (we are all allowed an extravagance, are we not?).
It promises to be irreverent and certainly irrelevant, so why not bookmark me and check back regularly for some opinions, facts, fictions, reports and wildly inaccurate predictions.
Until then...