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Paul Kennedy's World Cup Predictions
by Paul Kennedy, June 11th, 2014 8:16PM
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TAGS:  men's national team, world cup 2014


By Paul Kennedy

1. Will the USA get out of Group G?

No. I agree with my Soccer America colleague Mike Woitalla that the USA has been looking good, playing the most confidently at any time of the Jurgen Klinsmann era, but it is hard to imagine the USA gets past Ghana, Portugal and Germany. Yes, the draw stinks. Put the USA in at least three other groups, and it would likely advance. No problem. But with the possible exception of Brazil in 2012, the USA has not faced a team like Ghana, Portugal or Germany in the Klinsmann era. The USA goes out after three games but plays well enough that Klinsmann keeps his job.

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?

I'm torn between Brazil and Argentina. A Brazil title will make a happy end to what has been a tortured build-up to the finals for a country that deserves better, but there is something about an Argentina championship that sounds right. For one, the Argentines have a slightly easier path to the final than Brazil. And they have in Lionel Messi, the best player in the world.

3. Who will be the World Cup MVP?

If Messi can have an off year with Barcelona and still score 41 goals, imagine what he can do if he is in form. Everything has been done to set up Messi for this World Cup with Argentina, and he will deliver.

4. What will be the storyline of the World Cup?

As each day passes, the talk of all the organizational problems will dissipate, and everyone will revel in the spectacle of Brazil 2014. Will it be the best World Cup in history, as Brazil President Dilma Rousseff suggested? Perhaps. But it won't prevent her from going down in defeat in her re-election bid in the fall. And it won't prevent Sepp Blatter's FIFA house of cards from finally collapsing. He'll be gone by next year.

    commented on: June 12, 2014 at 10:12 a.m.
    A very even field at the top...Brasil in same position as 1980 US hockey team, or Japan's women post Fukashima, but will the pressure help? Euro players much better conditioned, 2010 also saw wide climate differences.....hate it for Reus, but addition by subtraction, adding a defender shores up DFB's biggest hole, the back line, but does anyone know what is going on with the Kiessling thing?
  1. Clear the Ball
    commented on: June 12, 2014 at 10:20 a.m.
    Lowe and Kiessling don't get along, never have. When Kiessling started coming into his own, Lowe still never gave him a call up. At one point Kiessling said he wasn't going to worry about it anymore and just put everything into his club team.
  1. Clear the Ball
    commented on: June 12, 2014 at 10:22 a.m.
    Also, I don't understand your comment. In 1980, US were HUGE underdogs, Brazil is the favorite.
  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: June 12, 2014 at 10:48 a.m.
    R.B. your analysis is between apples and oranges; and while Euro-players may be better conditioned, they are also fatigued after a grueling season. And how in the world can u compare hockey to soccer, line shifts v 3-subs and the physicality which is a dominating factor?
  1. Kent James
    commented on: June 12, 2014 at 11:05 a.m.
    Paul, I agree with your prognosis; quite reasonable (and I hope you're right about FIFA). On the other hand, as realistic as your prognosis is, I'm going to make a prognosis of my own; it won't be accurate. The future is notoriously difficult to predict. On the other hand, does that apply to my own prognosis, which means ... oh never mind, on with the games!
    commented on: June 12, 2014 at 2:13 p.m.
    in both cases, wins were a huge lift for national morale, which sports of any kind basically serve as the only real purpose for having-losing this Copa will probably cost the Brasilian president his job in a country that still has not gotten over 1950. Loew should lose his job if Germany does not get out of group because Klose does not get the job done & we should get someone who can get along with Germany's only decent striker....believe conditioning designed to prevent fatigue, & apples & oranges are both fruits...
    commented on: June 13, 2014 at 2:08 p.m.
    Croats did not look fatigued end of match, only player down with cramps wore blue&yellow....

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