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The Greyhound

Rio De Janeiro is waiting, a FIFA World Cup Preview

By Andrea Haimindra

Staff Writer

As only a little over a year remains for the most televised sport in history, so does a month covered with painted bodies, waving flags, vuvuzelas, smiles and tears. The 2014 World Cup sets to kick off in Rio De Janiero, Brazil from June 12 – July 13, a nation that has kissed the trophy the most (5 times), and a nation that seems to be the favorite.

Barely a year after the Spanish armada (previous World Cup winners) paraded in the streets, nations were right back at it fighting for another chance at motherland glory. Luckily, the team that hosts the World Cup has nothing to do with that heartache, as they automatically qualify.

Although Brazil is claimed to be the favorite with their new, young and rejuvenated team, and not to mention home turf, Spain has greater reasoning to be the scarier team. Not only are they currently number one in FIFA world rankings, they are the only team in history to ever win three consecutive Euro and World Cup Championships (2008, 2010 and 2012). Better yet, these historic accomplishments have recently been set, and although rosters haven’t been set in stone, expect to see the bulk of these champions devastate the Brazilian world.

While there is plenty of time left in qualifications, here are some predictions for those making it out of their group stages.

In Africa, expect to see the Ivory Coast, Ghana and Egypt make it through with their recent success in international soccer. As for the last two, it is difficult, but Nigeria and Mail are possible talented candidates.

In Asia, expect to see Uzbekistan and Japan make it through with their recent domination. With another close call, Korea Republic and Australia are in line to sneak in the last two spots.

In Europe, expect to see powerhouses Italy, Germany, Spain, France, Portugal, Russia and the Netherlands with their all-time success. As for the rest, I believe Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Sweden, Hungary or Romania (with Turkey greatly disappointing), Switzerland, Norway, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Greece and Poland are great contenders and will provide some upsets here.

In North and Central America and the Caribbean, expect to see the young powerhouse Mexico ease through the competition. Playing catch up will be the USA, Honduras and Panama.

In Oceania, expect to see New Zealand take the glory with little competition.

In South America, expect to see powerhouse Argentina pull away from the competition with no trouble. As for the others, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay and Venezuela will most likely come along for the ride.

In Africa, all 52 teams will battle it out for five available spots. The 24 lowest ranked teams will continue their dominance in Round 1, which has already started since November of 2011. Currently, each association has only played two full games as Round 2 has gone underway with 40 teams remaining. More live action will continue next month on March 22.

In Asia, all 43 squads will square off for 4.5 spots (the half meaning another team advancing for a play-off and berth). The 38 lowest ranked teams will play two preliminary rounds, which have already taken place since June and July of 2011. Presently, each nation has only completed five full matches as Round 4 awaits the 10 teams left. More international play will stream next month starting on March 26.

In Europe, all 53 associations will clash for 13 spots. The qualifiers will be separated in nine different groups, which have begun since September of 2012. At this time, each team has only seen four full contests as Round 1 continues with no teams yet to be eliminated. The excitement regains the stage next month beginning on March 22.

In North and Central America and the Caribbean, all 35 contenders will scramble for 3.5 spots. The 10 lowest ranked members will compete in Round 1, which has already been decided since June and July of 2011. At the moment, each member has only played one full match as six teams are left in Round 4. The climb up the hill is set to restart next month on March 22.

In Oceania, all 11 nations will struggle for the only spot up for grabs. The four lowest ranked teams will duke it out in Round 1, which has already taken place since November of 2011. Currently, each team has played four full competitions as only four teams are hanging on in Round 3. The challenge will continue next month on March 22.

In South America, all nine squads will play for 4.5 spots. The opposition has already started since October of 2011, and will be determined in September of 2013. As of now, each team has played nine full contests with only one round deciding their fate. The conquest will reappear next month on March 22.

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Rio De Janeiro is waiting, a FIFA World Cup Preview