Here at Sat In Row Z we are lucky to have a team of writers who are passionate about the game. Whilst our team is predominately based in England we are also have a talented Belgian team member named Annelies, we thought we would get her view on the group draw for Belgium as well as Elijah’s view on England’s.
The Brazil World Cup 2014 draw held some big surprises as far as qualification went, but the groups are just typical, although due to increased quality in International teams, there are now several groups of death.
England have been lucky really, they fell into a group with Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica, this is in no way an easy group, but it’s far from the worst. Uruguay seem the most likely to progress with home environment advantage and a very strong team including Suarez leading the line (this is relevant now, it might not be at the end of the current season), but it will be tough between them and Italy. Italy have been one the world’s best teams for a long time and are still producing quality in their youngsters and their senior members of the team still pulling the line. Costa Rica could cause an upset in this group, they are easily the outsiders/underdogs (but they wouldn’t be in the competition if they weren’t a strong team) but if this means that they get underestimated then they could grab a few essential points to make it through, but I can’t see them getting any further than that.
England, well they seem destined to fail next year (especially if a team that seems so strong on the outside, keeps underperforming) but then again, England are a team that do better when they are ruled out (much alike Costa Rica in this group), if they can get a decent result against either Uruguay or Italy, then they might be able to take it through to the knockout phase and cause some upsets.
After four years, the World Cup is back! And one of the qualified countries who wrote history in South America before, are back: Belgium! Let’s take a look at their chances in Brazil.
Belgium are seeded in Group H. So are Algeria, South Korea and Russia. Not one of the most impressive groups, but maybe a group with a surprising end. How do the Belgians look at their chances in Group H?
Road to Brazil: Algeria were seeded in Group H in the CAF (Confederation of African Football) Qualifiers. They got 15 points out of 18, which made them make it to the play-offs. ‘Les Fennecs’ hope to get further than group stages in Brazil.
We are happy because Belgium can talk about an unbeaten record against Algeria. Their final meeting was a friendly, which ended in a 0-0 draw. But one year after that, the Red Devils won 1-3!
It’s a risk because Algeria still have something to deal with in the world of football. We refer to the World Cup in 1982 in Spain. Algeria beat Chile and West Germany. Algeria would continue to the next round if Austria didn’t lose against Germany. Unlucky Algeria, because West Germany won 1-0. Algerian fans believed the match was fixed and threw money on the pitch. ‘Les Fennecs’ could put the name of justice in football on the map after 22 years.
Road to Brazil: The Qualifiers haven’t been easy for South Korea. It was on the penultimate matchday when the Asian Tigers got their ticket to Brazil. The South Korean squad hope for their stars at Bayern Leverkusen (Ji Dong-Won and Son Heung-Min) to perform better in the future, because South Korea finished the Qualifiers with 14 points out of 24.
We are happy because Belgium haven’t lost against South Korea yet. At the 1990 World Cup, Belgium beat the Koreans 2-0 in Group Stages. Eight years later, the Asian Tigers drew 1-1 against Belgium. In 1999, Belgium beat South Korea 1-2 on an away friendly.
It’s a risk because regularity gets rewarded. The 2014 World Cup will be the 8th time in the finals for South Korea, a very impressive number for a country who always had trouble getting out of the group stages. Their last legendary World Cup was on home soil in 2002 and the question is if the tropical weather will inspire the Asian Tigers to write history.
Road to Brazil: Russia surprised Europe after keeping Portugal away from a group victory in Group F. The Russians finished the Qualifiers with 22 points out of 30. Aleksandr Kherzhakov lead Fabio Capello and his team to a group victory with five goals.
We are happy because Belgium never lost an international against Russia before. Their first meeting was a friendly in 1996, ending on a 0-0 draw. At the 200 World Cup in Japan, the Russians lost 3-2, which made Belgium continue to the next round. In 2010, Belgium beat Russia 0-2 in a friendly.
It’s a risk because the Russians are capable of surviving the first round of a big tournament. At the Euros in 2008, Russia reached the semi finals. It was Spain who kicked them out of the tournament. It might be good for Russia to perform at Brazil 2014 if they want to earn the name of a worthy host for the 2018 World Cup.
In general, the Belgians believe we can survive the Group Stages. But there’s more than only group stages in this World Cup Campaign. All we know for sure is that it will be another unforgettable month full of emotions and passion!
Who do you think will go further? The Three Lions or The Red Devils?