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.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Thursday, 22 May 2014

World Cup 2014, Round of 16 Predictions, Part II, incorporating Part I

So, now I've got round to finalising my predictions for the Group stages, here's the full Round Of 16 as I see it shaping up. A few surprises, maybe. No England, definitely. A lot of South American, naturally.


The winner of the tournament is somewhere among this 16. I'll be chopping them down in the run-up to the start of the World Cup and predicting my winner before kick off, so you know which team to avoid betting big on this time around.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

World Cup 2014 Who Will Qualify From Group H?

This Group contains potentially the most exciting and unpredictable team in the tournament.

No, not ALGERIA.

Not since the days of Scifo and Ceulemanns has BELGIUM had such a talented array of players, and the squad they have now has an embarrassment of riches that could eclipse anything the nation has ever achieved in a major tournament.

England does not expect anything in 2014, but I suspect Belgium does.

But will the pressure of expectation prove too much.

I don't think so, and I think this is their Group for the taking.

From where I'm sitting, I like SOUTH KOREA for second, with RUSSIA third and ALGERIA propping up everyone else.

But all eyes will be on the BELGIANS...

1: BELGIUM. 2. SOUTH KOREA. 3  Russia. 4. Algeria

Sunday, 18 May 2014

World Cup 2014, Round of 16 Predictions Part I

So, my Group predictions throw up the following clashes in the top half of the round of 16. And there's a strong South American theme to the first two ties. And no sign of England anywhere...





Who Will Qualify From World Cup Group G?

It's Ghana take a brave man to bet against GERMANY winning this Group, but who's gonna come second? That's the question, and if so, if so, who answers...?

The GERMANS always perform at the big tournaments and it would be ridiculous to think they won't here, no matter how hot or humid it gets, no matter how many airmiles they build up getting from game to game, they will be ready, and there will be no excuses.

But their Group is a toughie, and I'm going for the USA to finish runners-up. The team has Klinsmann at the helm, and he knows a thing or two about winning a World Cup, not to mention a thing or three about the German team. 

PORTUGAL are still too reliant on Ronaldo, a great player to rely on, but there will be questions over his fitness. Which is why I think GHANA will pip them to third.

GROUP G PREDICTIONS: 1: GERMANY  2: USA  3: Ghana  4: Portugal

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Who Will Win World Cup Group F?

Soothsayers, clairvoyants, astrologers, and other people who can read tea leaves and stuff. Your services are not required in order for the question posed in the title of this post to be answered.

If ever there was a Group in this World Cup where the winners were a foregone conclusion, then Group F, (for foregone conclusion) is that Group.

IRAN will walk it.


They have met their nearest challengers NIGERIA three times in World Cups and won all three (in 1994, 2002 and as I briefly reported on, in 2010. All three wins were in the Group stages.

BOSNIA remain the relative unknowns of the group, but I think they will battle it out for 3rd and 4th here with the IRANIANS. I remain fervently anti-Europe's chances in this World Cup (despite being European myself). Euro teams have never triumphed on South American soil and will be drained by the heat and humidity here.


Wednesday, 14 May 2014

Who Will Qualify From World Cup Group E?

Someone once sung, a little naughtily, that E's are good. He must have foreseen the draw for the 2014 World Cup Group E. Because it's the sort of group you'd want your nation to be drawn in.
The sort of group you'd take home and introduce to your parents. You wouldn't have to worry about them putting their feet on your father's best chair, or swearing within shot of your mother's tender ears. They'd say please and thank you, politely decline your father's offer of a beer and select mineral water.
What I'm saying here is that Group E has the potential to be a bit dull. You'll tire of it before the Group's decided, unless your nation's in it. And if any one of these sides makes it to the quarter finals, I'll stone a crow (I won't really, Mr RSPB man. I like crows).

FRANCE will probably cruise this group, although they've been generally rubbish in World Cups since they won it in 1998. In-fighting, tantrums are the cliches associated with Les Bleus, but if they can keep it together, they'll romp this.
ECUADOR qualified from their group the last time they were in the tournament (England's group in 2006) and I think they'll repeat that. I'm backing the south Americans big time in this tournament, just like I did the Africans last time, and we all know what happened to them.
HONDURAS are playing in their second straight finals, and will almost certainly go 3 and out and straight home unless they know something I don't.
And I don't like the look of SWITZERLAND this time around, yet they always seem to perform in the finals, so I may lift them into third in this group. In fact, I will. Look. Done it.

GROUP E PREDICTIONS: 1: FRANCE  2: ECUADOR  3: Switzerland  4: Honduras

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

England Squad Announcement. Take the best. Not the youngest.

England has been in a permanent state of rebuilding since 1970. Taking youngsters ahead of better and more experienced players doesn't work. It won't make us a better team come the next tournament because then there is likely to be an even younger player that people insist needs tournament experience.

Take the best players. Ignore their DOB you SOBs!

ASHLEY COLE should be in the squad.  No question. The best English left back in a generation is getting left back home.  What a waste.  Shaw's time will come. Cole's time is still now.

Who will qualify from World Cup 2014 Group D?

England does not expect.

For the first time in a lifetime, there's zero pressure on the team, almost an expectation that they won't make it through the group stage.

But will England really flop in the heat of Brazil?

URUGUAY had a successful 2010 World Cup and in a tournament so close to their home, expectations will be high that they can repeat and even go further. Expectations are always high for ITALY and it would take a fool to bet against them.  COSTA RICA is the unknown element, the team the other three will see as the easiest conquest.

And then there's ENGLAND. The squad does not excite. There are esome youngsters who could light up future tournaments. But not this one.

WORLD CUP GROUP D:  1. ITALY. 2. URUGUAY  3. England. 4. Costa Rica

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Who will qualify from World Cup Group C?

Group C.
That's C for Unpredictable. Tough to predict. Could be anyone's.
Seriously though, when it comes to predicting this one, your guess is as good as mine, probably better.
None of these teams have ever played each other at a major tournament, (unless you count the Confederations Cup) and that's a stat you can have on me.
But let's try and make sense of it.
COLOMBIA will start favourites. If Radamel Falcao plays, they will win the group. If not, I still think they will qualify.
The IVORY COAST have Toure, a guy the word 'immense presence' was created for. Yes, I know that's two words, but Ya Ya does the work of two men. So there. Drogba is captain and will want to marshall his nation into the World Cup Knockout stages for the first time before he hangs up his boots.
GREECE too have never tasted a World Cup Knockout game, and the ghost of the European Championship winning team of a decade ago hangs heavy over the nation.
And then there's JAPAN, in their fifth straight finals. They were the first nation to qualify for the 2014 competition and will be no pushover.

GROUP C:  1: COLOMBIA  2: IVORY COAST  3: Japan  4: Greece