Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Let the fun begin ! Group A preview

The first game of the world cup used to be between the holders and A N Other, since 2006, it is the host nation and A N Other, who this time round is Croatia (kick off 20.00 GMT) however, before we get into the football, let’s play a game of word association. 
What is the first thing that pops into your mind when you hear the word Brazil?
I really would like to read your answers, please use the comments option below before you read on.

Brazil are the most successful team in the history of football, they have won the world cup on 5 occasions, the last time being in 2002 in S Korea, the pressure on them is tremendous, a nation expects. More to the point is that Brazil as a nation is not united behind this world cup, the country has economic woes and there has been rioting all over the country in the lead up to the tournament. If Brazil doesn’t win, the happy place we all envisage as Brazil might turn very ugly.

Despite this Brazil is the land of the Samba (one of the most popular answers I had when I played the word association in my office) and this is reflected in the way they dance around the football field with the ball at their feet, poetry in motion. Brazil is also known for its nuts (another popular choice) and this also comes out in the way they can sometimes melt down on the field and start playing in a crazy manner.

Croatia has only been in existence as an independent nation since the breakup of Yugoslavia in 1991. In their first world cup in 1998 they finished 3rd and had the tournament top scorer in Davor Suker, and have only missed one world cup since them. It is always much easier to play when you are expected to lose but are actually rather good. Now to the part I hate, prediction time. Brazil to win this one.

The other 2 teams in the group are Mexico and Cameroon who face each other on Friday (kick off 16.00 GMT)

Cameroon, burst onto the world scene in 1990, when they beat the then holders, Argentina 1-0 in the opening game of the tournament, and only went out in the Quarter-finals losing 3-2 in extra time to England. Their star player at that tournament was Roger Milla, who was then aged 38 or so. He scored 4 goals and had one of the best celebrations when he ran to the corner flag and danced. Here is a link enjoy, 

Cameroon also caused controversy in 2002 with their skin tight kit.

This year, they almost didn’t get on their flight to Brazil as they were in dispute over the amount of bonuses they were due to be paid. To sum up, it is never dull when Cameroon is around.

The last team in the group is Mexico, probably the luckiest team to be in Brazil, as they only scraped through their qualifying group in injury time. They have twice made it through to the Quarter-Finals, the 2 times that they hosted the tournament.

Prediction, I like Cameroon, they add extra spice so Cameroon to win

Tomorrow, we will look at Groups B and C

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