First off, some good news. Our favorite team, the best team in the land as the song goes, will have ten (!) representatives during the Copa Mundial, including a certain defender who, if you ask me, will come up rather large for Argentina before all is said and done.
CITIZENS OF THE WORLD CUP
Joe Hart & James Milner - England
David Silva - Spain
Sergio Aguero, Martin Demichellis & Pablo Zabaleta - Argentina
Edin Dzeko - Bosnia & Herzegovina
Vincent Kompany - Belgium
Yaya Toure - Ivory Coast
Fernandinho - Brazil
I'm not sure why Negredo, Navas and Nasri didn't make the cut for their respective countries. I know Spain is deeper than the Amazon Jungle but given that both are healthy, I'll take Negredo over Fernando Torres. Don't ask me what France is thinking as I'm not the only pundit who has wondered over the years.
Now, let's have some fun.
If you click on the link, you can join our World Cup Contest using ESPNFC's Bracket Predictor. The group is called bitterandblue and the password is "yayascake" (thanks, I'm here all week).
In my first semifinal I've got Brazil against Germany while in the second I've got Spain against Belgium. Three European teams in a tournament hosted in a South American country so, yeah, I'm probably not winning (and yes, I have the USA advancing out of their group).
You get one bracket and you can change it all you wish until the day of the first match. Some notes/issues to guide you in your picking...
- Germany has some issues, some of which might be serious. The best strikers in the Bundesliga are... well, they're not German. That and apparently, there are injury issues with Lahm, Schweinsteiger and Neur. Don't get me wrong--Germany is still loaded in some areas; a frightening midfield and defenders galore. It's just that last season, when most of the known world thought Germany was a shoo-in for World Cup favorite? When Bayern and BvB were playing for the UCL title and they were clearly the two best sides in the world? Well, that seems a long time ago.
- Spain has some issues but it's open to debate how serious they are. Like Germany, they are striker related. Unlike Germany, they actually have an enormously talented and productive one in Diego Costa but how healthy is he?
- Speaking of injuries, Ronaldo isn't exactly in the pink of health. One would not want to wish ill on another but as a USA fan, an injured CR7 is not a bad thing because our defense is about as effective right now as the Maginot Line.
- If I were to pick one powerful side that might not make it out of the group stage, it would be the Dutch.
- Radmael Falcao is out of the tournament which is a blow to Colombia. Luis Suarez, in spite of a knee injury, is going to play which is a blow for those of us who can't help but wish ill on the man. Good news for Uruguay, though.