Fifa World Cup 2014 - A view from the Fence
With the Brazil World Cup 2014 fast approaching, we as the proud nation of England have collectively the lowest expectation level since I can remember. There seems to be an overwhelming knowledge throughout this once prominent footballing nation that we are simply not fit to grace the same pitch with some of the current best.
The likes of which include the obvious favourites like Spain and Brazil – at the 2013 Confederations Cup Brazil made a remarkable statement by dispatching a stunned Spanish side 3-0 in in the final. I have to admit, I certainly didn't see that coming, they were outstanding. Not least of all Neymar, who I didn't particularly rate before this tournament, he absolutely stole the show – can he put in another display like that this year though?
As if the above were not intimidating enough for opposition, there are a hat full of Nations that seem to be getting more and more daunting on paper every year. The Dutch and Italians are of course amongst those, with Portugal a potential wildcard, especially in the astonishing form of Cristiano Ronaldo this season – who knows what can happen if he is up to his best?!
What about Belgium?
The real wildcard in my opinion from the European nations has to be Belgium. They have a little bit about them what the England World Cup Squad had a few years back when Gerrard and Lampard were peaking, where we had massive names on paper but it just didn't come together. Some of the world’s greatest talents emerging such as Eden Hazard, Lukaku and Axel Witsel, collectively with the renowned experience of players such as Vincent Kompany, and many other household names, if Belgium can gather some momentum and generate a bit of team cohesion I believe they will certainly pose a difficult obstacle.
Then you come to the South American contenders, Argentina, of course stick out like a sore thumb and will be hoping Lionel Messi can recapture his best form in time for the big stage – despite being ‘not at his best’ he currently still has 25 league goals this year, and some of his season has been spent on the injury table! With some phenomenal talent playing alongside Messi such as Pastore (PSG) and Aguero (Man City) it would take a brave individual to write them off. The other South American outsider is Uruguay, and frankly they are outsiders but with a front-line like Suarez, Cavani and Forlan – they may just test a few defence's resolve.
The heat in Brazil (and with any luck England may even get some!) will undoubtedly be scorching, and the atmosphere is likely to be just as fiery. The nations that herald from a warm climate will be odds on favourites against any of the colder countries, but with any World Cup...the beauty is you just don’t know!
Despite the sense of imminent disappointment in the air, we will surely dust off our old England shirts (or buy a new one if you have £90 to splash out!) and get behind our country like we always do! Who knows, maybe Rooney will finally live up to his name or his 300k per week salary!?
Get in the Spirit!
Whatever happens, it is always something magical about the World Cup and we love it! Where will you be watching the big games? Why not plan ahead and build yourself the perfect garden decking for the ideal place to invite some friends over, get a BBQ on the go and share a few drinks! Maybe even make it even more guest-friendly with some home made sleeper furniture, but be careful, they might never leave!