Here’s a roundup of all our Group A previews of the day. You can check those and our group prediction out below, and talk about how you see things shaping up in the comments.
There was once a time when China were one of the biggest names in women’s soccer. A time when, come a World Cup, you could pencil the then-giants of Asia into the knockout rounds and rightly expect them to make a run. That time has passed. Now, no one really knows what to expect from this team.
If ever there was a poster child for the dangers of weak competition, it’s New Zealand. Here are the results of their three most recent competitive matches, coming in the OFC Women’s Nations Cup:
One of the most enjoyable things about international soccer is the way you can notice various stylistic through-lines. Each nation has its particular soccer heritage—sometimes a broad affinity for a certain type of athlete, other times a specific formation or tactical ideology—and how this in turn manifests itself…
In the World Cup food chain, Mexico falls somewhere in the middle towards the bottom, not as low as plankton but easily devoured by the predators. It’s scary down there.
Last night, we showed you what needed to happen for the USMNT to advance to the next round of the World Cup. Now we have a similar chart showing how things shake out depending on the results of this afternoon's Group A matches.
Let's stop ourselves for a second. A Brazilian coronation is the most likely outcome. Those masters of the universe over at Goldman Sachs say so. And they're never wrong. But what if, for just a moment, we think skeptically about this opening match of the World Cup 2014?
Here's your Group B hub and open thread, where you'll find our previews and predictions.
Here's your World Cup Group A hub and open thread, where you'll find our previews and predictions.
Cameroon are Africa's darlings and have qualified for the World Cup seven times, more than any other nation on their continent. This year, they'll be sending a familiar squad of hardened veterans with some young upstarts sprinkled in to Brazil. But this summer is also different, because it'll likely be the last time…
El Tri: the pride of Mexico, the class of CONCACAF (at least historically). In Brazil, they will look to continue their impressive streak of making it out of the group stage in five straight tournaments, despite recent turbulence in the team.
Croatia are a team stuck in the middle—physically, tactically and in overall proficiency. They aren't fast. They grind and plod their way to victories. They're often caught with holes deep in midfield against elite competition. The side lacks any real width.
Brazil is widely thought of as the greatest soccer nation in the world, not just because it's dominated the sport, but because it's perfected it.
The World Cup is almost here! So that you aren't caught flat-footed, we're previewing each group, in no particular order, to explain why your team has no chance to win (you'll thank us later). Today: Group A! If you have any thoughts on a particular group, send them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Operators are standing by.