The biggest sporting tournament is finally here, and just a few days off the first $170 Brazuca kicked in anger. Some will say the Olympics is bigger blah blah blah, but it’s a collection of sports not one sport, and a lot of those are rubbish. Years of qualification, months of preparation, endless press conferences with endless clichés, and millions of dollars of alleged bribing have passed and you can taste the first own goal.
A lot of questions loom and these have been answered by many, many experienced and well learned football journalists. Who will win? How will Australia go? Who will score the most goals? Who will surprise/disappoint? Which round will England lose on penalties? Can The Gurgler answer them? Of course we can. Will they be correct? Judging on our site’s previous season of tipping, most likely not.
So let us go through the groups giving our tips and rundown for the upcoming tournwa with less detail than a News Corp paper but more than a Quest paper.
Alongside who will win groups we’ll have some other tips for your consideration. Also included is our group ranking average to determine the real group of death. We’ve taken the latest Fifa ranking and averaged them out amongst the groups to get a feeling about whose group is hardest or easiest.
GROUP A – Ranking Average 24.25
Gurgler Tips – BRAZIL, CROATIA, Mexico, Cameroon.
Despite the overbearing expectation to deliver, Brazil looks the safest bet to top any group.
Some worries about whether hosting the tournament would affect the Brazilians were dispelled n last year’s Confederations Cup where they beat current holders Spain no less.
They’re up against two team that required a playoff to make this finals after indifferent qualification form. Croatia had the equal fewest points of any qualified European team, and both them and Mexico required playoff victories against powerhouse footballing nations of Iceland and New Zealand.
Then there’s Cameroon who are the lowest ranked African team in the Cup, and being an African team you just never know which team will turn up. As we know nothing, we’ll show our ignorance and say they will finish last with no authority.
GROUP B – Ranking Average 23
Gurgler Tips – SPAIN, CHILE, Australia, Holland
So, we come to Australia’s group. Dubbed a group of death for Australia, and it does look unlikely that Australia will progress, but whilst there’s sport, there’s hope. With the reduced expectations maybe the Socceroos will be one of the surprise packets.
Every World Cup there’s a big name that performs well below expectations, France in South Africa 2010 is a fine example. This year The Gurgler is plumping for the Dutch to be the dunces of Rio. Despite excellent qualifying for the tournament, we’re guessing the Van Gaal to Man Utd saga may prove a distraction and cause performance to drop and Robin van Persie won’t score. It will then be blamed on David Moyes for going so badly that the Dutch coach was required to fix things and Moyes can add a country to the red half of Manchester who aren’t his biggest fans.
Holders Spain looked a good thing to top the group, having conceded only 3 goals in qualifying, and looking no less of a side who has sampled Euro and World Cup victory the last 4 years.
So then it’s out of 15th ranked Chile and 63rd ranked Australia. Australia, who have a squad only the most studious football fans can tell you without looking who they are and where the y come from, and the lowest ranked team at the World Cup. Or Chile who have beaten England in a friendly alongside finishing third in South American qualifying. Heart says Australia, wallet and head says Chile.
GROUP C- Ranking Average 22.25
Gurgler Tips – COLUMBIA, JAPAN, Ivory Coast, Greece.
On paper, this is one of the least interesting groups. A middle of the range ranking average. No big name countries. And Greece whose game featured just 16 goals in 10 games in qualifying.
In the vein of not being very interesting, we’ll breeze through this group.
Columbia looked a dark horse before Falcao was ruled out. Although still a good chance with some excellent players, and our tip to top the group, it’s a matter of what could have been.
Best performed Asian qualifiers and Asian champions Japan should finish second, and could spring a surprise in the latter stages with their quality.
Ivory Coast have some big names, but big names sometimes clash and implode and given the bottom lip work of Yaya Toure after his birthday in post season celebrations we can’t see Ivory Coast going past the first round unless they find a good bakery in Rio.
GROUP D – Ranking Average 13.50
Gurgler Tips – ENGLAND, URUGUAY, Italy, Costa Rica
By our averaging of the rankings, this is group gets the dreaded Group of Death tag. It will give England an excuse in advance if they don’t make It through.
The Gurglers thinks it won’t be a problem and have tipped them to top the group no less. But we don’t think it will be by much. Possibly on goal difference with one or two other teams.
Both England and Uruguay seems to have the most goals in them so, so on that basis we’ll plump for England and Uruguay to make it through at the expense of previous winners in 2006 Italy and Costa Rica despite their 2ns CONCACAF qualifying finish.
GROUP E – Ranking Average 20.5
Gurgler Tips – FRANCE, ECUADOR, Switzerland, Honduras.
This group features a lot of unknowns. Who knew that Switzerland were ranked so highly and how do they do it? Who knows what French side will turn up to this cup after the shambles of last time’s last place exit led by player rebellion? How will the lowest ranked South American and North/Central American team fare?
Well, without going into it too much we think France will turn last tournament’s effort around and top the group just as they turned around the 2-0 loss against Ukraine in the playoffs to make the World Cup finals.
Behind the French Ecuador is our pick based purely on the fact that being a South American nation should help. We’re staying neutral on Switzerland and calling it third for them and someone will be hiding in Honduras after they finish last looking for lawyers guns and money.
GROUP F – Ranking Average 28.25
Gurgler Tips – ARGENTINA, NIGERIA, Bosnia & H, Iran
This group has the biggest average of any group despite Argentina occupying the group meaning it is the easiest group according to world ranking. Although some of the teams in this group won their qualifying pool, they were done in the weakest pools of their qualifying, and expect no trouble for Argentina.
Nigeria are an African Nations Cup winner in 2013, and are our tip for best of the rest. Bosnia to enjoy their first world cup in third, and Iran be lucky last.
GROUP G – Ranking Average 14
Gurgler Tips – GERMANY, PORTUGAL, Ghana, USA
The other “Group of Death” according to us. Claims can be made for any side to make it through to the knockout stages.
Germany with their quality team and previous record appear the safe bet for first in the group, but may not get everything their way. They currently win 2 of every three games under manager Leow, and we think that will be the casd in this group.
The other spot is open to teams that have very strong claims. USA topped their qualifying region, Ghana who have fared well at previous World Cups and breezed through the final stages of qualifying in Africa, and Portugal have the current best player in the world. Although they needed a battle of the super-egos against Zlatan’s Sweden to make it through.
We’ve gone for Portugal in second, who we think can beat Germany in the first game of the group. Ghana and USA to follow.
GROUP H – Ranking Average 27.25
Gurgler Tips – BELGIUM, SOUTH KOREA, Russia, Algeria
Another of the easier group according to the ranking average, and certainly a hard one to pick outside of Belgium.
Belgium are the dark horses, the hipsters favourite to do well and possibly win the tournament. It’s hard to argue about doing well after an excellent qualifying and a side full of young stars. They should make easy work of this group and top it.
Behind them it gets a lot harder. Russia appears the obvious choice given they topped their group ahead of Prtugal and have ex-England manager Capello at the helm. But The Gurgler doesn’t do obvious, and doesn’t trust the Russian. It all harps back to the movie Ronin.
Instead we’ve gone for South Korea to finish second despite barely outqualifying Uzbekistan in the lead up. Algeria appear to be the whipping boys, someone’s gotta be, and a team who can barely get past Burkina Faso will more than likely struggle against bigger nation.
Multi with our Group winners – $70
Multi for our tips to finish last – $273
Multi for our second placed picks to qualify out of group – $183
Leading Goal Scorer – Neymar – $12 or Benzema $26
Upset Multi – $88
Australia to beat Chile
Ecuador to beat Switzerland
Portugal to beat Germany
Our Favourite Draws Multi – $1388
Croatia v Cameroon
Spain v Chile
Japan v Columbia
Uruguay v England
Ecuador v France
Portugal v Ghana