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 H, written by Account Executive Lionel Orozco.
Belgium: After a small World Cup draught, the Belgians have returned to soccer’s biggest stage. On paper, Belgium can call upon an armada of stars, all plying their trade in Europe’s most prestigious leagues. The depth of their talent pool is striking. Chadli, Kevin de Bruyne, and Toby Alderweireld are the latest stars to emerge, while the likes of Vincent Kompany, Thomas Vermaelen, Marouane Fellaini and Steven Defour have already established themselves as senior figures. Look for Belgium to move out of their group and possibly even stage an upset in the round of 16.
Algeria: The Algerians have not had the best luck in the group stage, but this year may be their best opportunity in a World Cup. It will still be an uphill battle, but there is an off chance that they break through. The backline, led by Madjid Bougherra, will have a lot of work in front of them with the likes of Belgium and Russia’s attack. Algeria will have a strong showing but would be a surprise to enter the round of 16.
Russia: The Fabio Capello-led nation is looking to make a big splash. This incarnation of the Russian team is built on a solid defensive foundation, but will have to do without half of their outstanding midfield duo of Roman Shirokov and Viktor Fayzulin of Zenit St. Petersburg, as Shirokov is out due to injury. Even without one of their top players, Russia should make it out of the group stage, but will likely fall short of their fourth appearance in the World Cup quarterfinals.
Korea Republic: Making their eighth straight appearance on the big stage, Korea Republic looks to find the magic they once had in the 2002 World Cup. The squad, led by captain Bolton Wanderers’ Lee Chung-yong, will have to find a way to come up with some big results if they want to make it out of the group stage.