World Cup Preview: Group A
The Colorado Rapids sales and service staff put together previews of each World Cup group, and we will be running their perspective and predictions on the day that each group opens play. Today is Group A, written by Account Executive Sean Sullivan.
Brazil: Led by young talents Neymar and Oscar, expect the host nation to finish atop Group A without much of a challenge. Matches against Mexico, Croatia, and Cameroon should test Brazil in the group stage, but a result should be expected in each fixture. Playing on their home soil with a roster composed of young attacking players and defensive veterans, Brazil is favored by many to hoist the FIFA World Cup trophy come July 13th in Rio De Janeiro.
Croatia: After failing to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, Croatia returns to the main stage of international soccer in 2014 for the fourth time in their history. With a disorganized and chaotic Mexican side included in the group, Croatia has a real chance to advance out of the group stage and into the knockout rounds. Assuming a loss to the host nation Brazil, Croatia will need results against Mexico and Cameroon to have a chance of moving on in this year’s tournament. Expect the team to go as far as Bayern Munich star Mario Mandzukic is able to take them.
Mexico: After enduring a number of coaching changes in the past year and narrowly qualifying for the tournament, Mexican fans can’t be too confident in their side heading into the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Since winning gold in the 2012 Summer Olympics, Mexico has failed to play up to the level that is expected from the CONCACAF power. Giovani Dos Santos and ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez will try to turn things around for El Tri in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but many would be surprised to see Mexico advance from this year’s group stage.
Cameroon: With the experience and leadership of Samuel Eto’o and Alex Song, Cameroon has a strong and flashy squad that can overpower the likes of Mexico and Croatia. Eto’o will be the key player for the Indomitable Lions, but young striker Vincent Aboubakar of Lorient, who was tied with Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the leading goalscorer in the French league last season, could also be a factor. Cameroon has qualified for more World Cups than any other African team, but will be looking to make it out of the group stages for just the second time.