Skip to content

Three big story lines for the 2014 World Cup

Dec 6, 2013, 1:13 PM EDT

A caveat: They’re all big story lines when it comes to the World Cup, and it’s hard to move your mind past karmic blowback for England and the United States draw in the 2010 edition (from E.A.S.Y. to terribly difficult). Yet the world at-large will be salivating at a number of prospects.

1) Surviving this Group of Death brings a clear path to glory

Make no mistake about it: Fans of Germany, Ghana and Portugal are just as bummed about their draw as United States supporters. Only two teams come out of this group which, as commenter tridecagon pointed out, has a combined FIFA rankings rating of 45 (by far the lowest in the tournament).

Yet those who advance get the opponents from the highest-rated group (H) before facing the second-highest and fourth-highest. Advancing past Group G brings you a match-up with one of Algeria, Belgium, Russia or Korea Republic. Win that and it’s on to one of: Switzerland, Ecuador, Honduras, France, Argentina, Nigeria, Iran or Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Group G teams can play their own governor.

2) England. Versus. Italy.

Nevermind the Soccernomics behind the English as a soccer power; The arguably over-performing Three Lions will see all bets off against rival Italy.

The Italians sent England packing from the 2012 Euro quarterfinals after a scoreless game went to kicks. Steven Gerrard and Wayne Rooney delivered, while the Ashleys, Cole and Young, could not beat Gigi Buffon.

That match is just the tip of the iceberg. England has won its international final berths by beating or drawing Italy in past qualifying matches, while the Italians also gave goalkeeper Peter Shilton nightmares in 1980 and 1985, not to mention the third place game at the 1990 World Cup. From Keegan/Brooking in 1977  to David Beckhams debut as England captain and beyond, this pairing has brought plenty of fun to international competition.

3) Can El Tri find three points twice?

Mexico looked borderline almighty in dispatching New Zealand after a CONCACAF qualifying campaign that was anything but tidy. Now they’ll face a group that features one free-wheeling power and two teams who can defend rather well.

Will El Tri perform well or be the dogs of the group? Neither scenario is hard to believe as the Mexicans will put their roaring offensive talent against host nation Brazil, but also try to break Cameroon and Croatia squads that certainly know how to shutdown firepower.

  1. talgrath - Dec 6, 2013 at 1:30 PM

    I didn’t even consider what happens after getting out of Group G, that’s a very interesting point. If team USA can pull out some huge wins, this could be an amazing run for them.

  2. eo22 - Dec 6, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    Oh c’mon – Group B is worse. Sure Australia is easy, but I’d hate to be grouped with Chile, the Netherlands, and Spain. One of those teams is going home early – I like our odds better.

    • wandmdave - Dec 6, 2013 at 3:01 PM

      I saw B too and thought that was tough but if you rank the USA as a strong contender to get out of the group in an average group and you don’t rank Australia to do so then B has 1 “gimmie” team and G has 0. B is just a little more top heavy.

      • wandmdave - Dec 6, 2013 at 3:04 PM

        Either way we’ll be able to see if we’ve truly made progress this cycle. I just hope our key players stay healthy so we can make an honest assessment.

  3. Carl Berndash Omniart - Dec 6, 2013 at 2:55 PM

    On the bright side, Americans fans get their pity party: “Woe is us, we have it so hard, we have to face Portugal and Ghana!”

    Personally, I don’t feel sorry for the U.S. I do feel sorry for Chile, a strong and exciting team that will have to get past Spain and/or Netherlands—only to likely face Brazil in the second round.

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to leave a comment. Not a member? Register now!

Featured video

Week 6: Premier League recap