By Mike Woitalla
1. Will the USA get out of Group G?
Yes. Never has a U.S. team entered the World Cup with this kind of momentum. Within in the last two years: a record 12-game win streak, qualifying with two games to spare, a Gold Cup title, a sweep of its three send-off games. The USA ties or beats Ghana. Against Portugal, coming off a loss to Germany, the USA succeeds with counterattacks. The USA ties Germany, which has already clinched first place.
SA World Cup Previews:
Mike Woitalla: Group A
Ridge Mahoney:Group B
Mike Woitalla:Group C
Ridge Mahoney:Group D
Paul Kennedy:Group E
Mike Woitalla:Group F
Paul Kennedy: Group H
2. Who will win the World Cup?
Since it won its last, Argentina has entered the last five World Cups as a favorite but folded. But in neighboring Brazil it takes the role of spoiler -- and its talent is as impressive as ever. Its route to the final on the right side of the bracket is less arduous than that of Brazil, Spain or the Netherlands, Italy or England. And when it meets Brazil, the ghost of Maracanazo plays in its favor.
3. Who will be the World Cup MVP?
Even if we thought Cristiano Ronaldo was a 100 percent, Lionel Messi has the stronger supporting cast. Diego Costa, if healthy and Spain goes far, will score a lot of goals. But Messi is the most likely to lift the Golden Ball.
4. What will be the storyline of the World Cup?
The Brazilians' discontent with their government's handling of this event will legitimately linger long, but on July 14 the reports will read that the people of Brazil made sure the world's greatest soccer country delivered a wonderful World Cup.