World Cup Preview

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We regularly receive great feedback from people about the quality of our blog and the fantastic insights provided by our search geeks on the latest digital marketing trends and happenings. You’ve heard a lot about all things digital, but seeing as football fever is spreading and trending across the globe we thought it would be appropriate to hear from our own resident and expert football geek Nigel Mannering on the World Cup, which begins in Brazil on Thursday…

Copacabana Beach, the Christ the Redeemer Statue, the Amazon river and Sugar Loaf mountain all add up to make Brazil the most romantic of locations for this summer’s 2014 World Cup. For football fans all over the globe there can be nothing more salivating than the prospect of a World Cup in Brazil, a country famous for its love of the beautiful game.

For the hosts, there is only one target: WIN! The sight of any player other than Brazil captain Thiago Silva lifting the trophy on July 13th will be galling for the hosts. With Neymar offering both goals and creativity, he is one player that will be looking to light up this tournament. The presence of Thiago Silva, David Luiz and Paulinho means the spine of the side is strong and coach Luiz Felipe Scolari insists his side will go all the way.

Europe

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Outside of the hosts the real threat will come from the traditional sides. Holland enter the tournament looking to make amends for defeat to Spain in the 2010 final. Spain, the reigning champions, will meet Holland in the group stage in one of the round’s showpiece matches. England and Italy are both in Group D and chances are that only one of these two teams will make it through to the knockout stages. Italy have had a horrible time in the run-up to the tournament, losing influential midfielder Riccardo Montolivo to injury and being held to a 1-1 draw by minnows Luxembourg. As for England, we all know the story – we’ll probably go out on penalties in the second round.

In terms of other European contenders, France, Germany and Portugal will all fancy their chances of getting out of the group and getting past the quarter-finals. Do not underestimate any of them, especially Portugal.

South America

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The real dangers for the European teams in this tournament are the South American teams. Argentina, Chile and Uruguay will all pose a massive test for any of the teams they face, and unlike their European counterparts the weather and humidity will not prove an issue for them. Argentina are an obvious danger with Lionel Messi leading the line, and Chile are a team to watch as well. They have a tough group with Spain, Holland and Australia but on South American soil will give any of those teams a real scare. Ecuador will also believe they can make the second round following some good performances in the warm up games, including a 2-2 draw with England. Colombia will be looking to put the disastrous campaigns of 1998 and 1994 behind them, but they will have to do it without key player Radamel Falcao, who was injured playing for his club side, AS Monaco. However, with James Rodriguez and Porto’s Jackson Martinez they will still pose a serious threat on goal. Expect Colombia to win a group including Greece, Japan and the Ivory Coast and make it to the second round.

Africa

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Africa’s best hope will be an ageing Ivory Coast side led by Yaya Toure and Didier Drogba. A place in the second round would represent a side widely regarded as the best in Africa. Cameroon have a tough group and are really just making up the numbers. Nigeria will have a better chance of going further – the reigning African Cup of Nations Champions could well surprise a few teams.

Middle East

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The Middle East is well represented by Iran, whose top scorer in qualifying was Charlton Athletic forward Reza Ghoochannejhad. They are in Group F with Argentina, Bosnia and Nigeria with a place in the second round not beyond the realms of possibility. One team to keep an eye on is Algeria. Whilst on paper their group is tough, featuring Belgium, Russia and South Korea, they have a solid squad with creativity bristling throughout the team. Inter Milan’s Taider and Valencia’s Sofanie Feghouli make for two of the most creative players in the tournament, and with Napoli’s Ghoulam marshalling a well-drilled back three, Algeria could not only make the second round but also turn some heads doing it.

Written by Nigel Mannering 

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