On Friday, FIFA drew the playoff groups for the World Cup for the 2014 tournament in Brazil and the results were…well, that depends on who you’re rooting for. Argentina will practically sleepwalk through its group, Colombia should fare well, Mexico is a wild card because no one knows who will play on the squad, much less how they’ll play and the U.S. has been placed in a “put-up-or-shut-up” group. As they say: Así es el fútbol.
I decided to have some fun and pulled out my Magic 8-Chimbomba to make a few predictions (re: wild guesses based on nothing but the six-pack I just bought) with the aid of a few rounds of FIFA14 as well. Unfortunately, Walter Mercado was unavailable to assist with the predictions so I invited my friend Fernando Palacios II to help me out. Years ago, he was a member of the Rialto High School varsity squad that defeated USMNT player Landon Donovan’s Redlands East Valley High squad by a 1 – 0 margin. Donovan was never the same since and the loss still haunts his nightmares from time to time.
Let’s start by introducing the groups. Below are the eight groups of four teams each that each nation will begin. These teams will face each other for one game each and the top two teams of each group will move on to the Round of 16. The teams are diluted down to eight for the quarterfinals, then four for the semis. The two winners of the semis will head to the World Cup final while the two losing semi-finalists compete for the third-place spot.GROUP A:
Brazil for sure with Mexico or possibly Croatia. GROUP B:
A not-as-good-as-last-tournament Spain will advance with Chile. GROUP C:
Colombia wins this group with Japan right behind them. Ivory Coast can’t with Didier Drogba alone. GROUP D:
It’s Italy and Uruguay with Costa Rica with a shock win over England for some street cred. GROUP E:
France and Ecuador advance. Prep the sad trombone for Honduras who won’t win a single game. GROUP F:
Argentina will moonwalk, cartwheel, sidestep, and twerk its way in its sleep to the top with Nigeria somewhere way behind them. GROUP G:
Odds are on the side of Germany and Portugal with the USA beating Ghana as revenge for knocking them out of the Round of 16 in 2010. It’s Ghana happen! PLOT TWIST: USA eeks out a point on aggregate over Portugal in a repeat of their upset in 2002 and advances with Germany. GROUP H:
Belgium and Russia waltz through to the next round. WILD CARD goes to Algeria who could win after the Russians disintegrate in the heat of the jungles.
ROUND OF 16
The next round begins with Brazil taking on Chile and will hopefully repeat their friendly match from a few weeks ago in Canada while Spain advances past Mexico/Croatia. Colombia will prove to be too much against Italy in what will be one of the best matches of the tournament. The match between Uruguay and Japan favors the South Americans but could also swing in favor of Japan in a shock win.
Argentina will advance past France in an enjoyable but not EPIC game. Their homies from Ecuador will beat Nigeria because of that South American home court advantage. The game between Germany and Belgium will be tense, tight, crazy and just plain ridiculous in an awesome way and will see Germany win (THERE WILL BE BLOOD!) while Russia will face defeat against Portugal/USA.
Brazil will beat Spain once again as they did in the Confederations Cup final this past summer while Colombia will advance past Uruguay (or maybe possibly Japan) in another great game. Argentina will beat Ecuador in what will also be a tense, tight, crazy and just plain ridiculous in an awesome way game. Germany will face either Portugal or USA in a Group A rematch. Germany advances.
This pair of games will prove to be INTENSE. Brazil will face Colombia in a tense, tight, crazy and just plain ridiculous in an awesome way game while Argentina will defeat Germany in a very close game that will be responsible for thousands of heart attacks in Argentina and Germany.
Colombia will show just what they got but, unfortunately, won’t be enough by a hair with Germany taking the win in a very close game. PLOT TWIST: Germany fucks up defensively and gives up a penalty kick that gives Colombia the win.
WORLD CUP FINAL
The final comes to a close with Brazil taking on Argentina in the South American Clásico. Home advantage won’t be enough for Brazil in this ALL-OUT WAR featuring Barcelona teammates Neymar and Messi going at it for the title. In the end, Messi, Agüero, Di Maria, Lavezzi and company will lift the trophy for Argentina with Maradona celebrating on the sideline with Manu Chao.
We set up FIFA14 on the PS3 to have the AI play the Third Place and Final game on its own to predict the matches. Here are the outcomes.
Colombia scores in the 39th minute with a header from Falcao off a rebound from a blocked shot by Manuel Neuer. Colombia dominates possession in the second half and intercepts a number of passes until the 82nd minute when Boateng ties it up with a header from a corner kick. The game goes into extra time without a clear winner. Germany wins via penalty kicks, 4 – 3.
WORLD CUP FINAL
Four minutes into the final and Lavezzi scores for Argentina. There’s a lot of back-and-forth until the last 10 minutes or so and Messi scores at the 45th to make it to 2 – 0 for Argentina at the half. Argentina dominates possession in the second half. Lamela comes in for the injured Lavezzi and Neymar jukes four dudes and crosses to Willian who scores Brazil’s first at the 65th. Unfortunately for Brazil, Di Maria makes it 3 – 1 at the 70th. Willian nearly gets his second at the 82nd but is too slow on the counter. Argentina wins 3 – 1. Pele claims the best team still hasn’t won despite the fact that this is the entire purpose of the World Cup tournament: to find out who the best team is under the current circumstances. Meanwhile, Maradona celebrates on the sideline with Manu Chao and the ghost of Che Guevara.