Send us a message

Interested in being a part of the team? Get in touch with us today.
Jun 092014


Screenshot 2014 06 09 19.29.24 World Cup Preview: Group A

2014 World Cup Group A [AP]


Group A is certainly one which fans – both neutrals and faithfuls - can expect to be extremely entertaining.  Brazil, Cameroon, Croatia and Mexico – each hailing from a different continent – boast creative midfielders with unique styles, world-class forwards and attack-minded managers which guarantees some of what we fans of the beautiful game like to call “sexy,” or “delicious” football.  Brazil are tournament hosts for World Cup 2014, and they will be expected to perform well.  However, while I wouldn’t call this group a “Group of Death,” no group in this year’s cup should necessarily be called “easy.”  After all, these 32 teams are the world’s best.  So without further ado, here is the Group A preview.




Screenshot 2014 06 09 18.42.03 World Cup Preview: Group A



Coach: Luiz Felipe Scolari

World Ranking: 3rd

The Seleção are the Group A favorites, in my opinion.  As much as any conversation about the Brazilian squad seems to center around its dangerous attackers - with the focus squarely on Barcelona star Neymar – I believe that their strength lies in the depth of the entire team.  Scolari has proven to be a fan of players who feature in the Brazilian league, and his 23-man squad reflects that.  He has been known to employ an open, expansive game which is based on attacking the flanks and a commitment to high pressure when not in possession.  The only real criticism of Brazilian teams in the past has been their defensive frailties and opting for the extravagant play when the simple would suffice.  However, Brazil have what is being dubbed as the best center back partnership at the tournament in David Luiz and Thiago Silva [the two of them will also be teammates in the 2014-2015 season at Paris Saint-Germain after Luiz was lured away from Chelsea by the French champions for a cool £50 million - a record fee for a defender.]  Brazil also possess an almost unmatched amount of quality defensive midfielders who still have an attack-minded aspect to their game.  Fernandinho, Paulinho and Ramires have each excelled for their respective clubs in the Premier League, a league many regard to be more physically demanding than most.  Where Brazil are spoiled is in attack.  One would have to go quite far in their team sheet in order to find an unrecognizable name.  Willian, Oscar, Hulk and Neymar are all household names and for good reason.  Their consistency has made them sure starters at their respective clubs and they will need to be dependable for the Seleção to be successful.  I expect Brazil to get out of the group and to do so with style.



Screenshot 2014 06 09 18.44.26 World Cup Preview: Group A


Coach: Volker Finke

World Ranking: 56th

The Indomitable Lions of Cameroon – who qualified for the World Cup for a seventh time – will be looking to improve on their best ever performance, when they managed to advance as far as the quarterfinals of the 1990 tournament in Italy.  This year’s Cameroonian team is lead by former Chelsea and Barcelona veteran Samuel Eto’o who captained the African club to convincing World Cup qualifying wins against Tunisia and Libya.  They’re anchored in defense by players like Benoit Assou-Ekotto and Aurelien Chedjou and their midfield is managed by the likes of the former Arsenal and current Barcelona man Alexander Song and Rennes’ Jean Makoun.  Stephane Mbia, a standout player for 2014 Europa League winners Sevilla, rounds out the midfield trio.  All have proven their quality, making appearances in the Champions League and Europa League, and their experience playing with and against some of Europe’s best will surely be called upon at this year’s World Cup.  I expect Cameroon to battle it out for a second place position with Croatia and Mexico.



Screenshot 2014 06 09 18.27.37 World Cup Preview: Group A


Coach: Niko Kovac

World Ranking: 18th

The Vatreni have had a difficult past in the World Cup, making their most recent appearance in 2006, but failing to get out of a group at both the 2006 and 2002 tournaments.  It could be argued that they had difficult opposition, but the Croats have simply not historically had what one would call a balanced team – until, maybe, now.  Captain of both his club Shakhtar Donetsk and the national side, Darijo Srna leads a solid Croatian team from right back, but can also play on the right of midfield.  The Croats will be happy that have standout midfielders like Luka Modric, Ivan Rakitic and Mario Mandzukic, who were crucial in qualifying, and will surely be called upon to perform at this year’s tournament.  Rakitic had a phenomenal season at Sevilla, captaining the Europa League winning side and impressed the Barcelona camp so much they decided to purchase the tireless midfielder not two weeks ago.  When he left Tottenham, many said that Luka Modric would not be good enough to play for Real Madrid, but after an excellent season with Los Blancos, there is no doubt that he deserves to be playing with the best.  Croatia have in Mateo Kovacic a very promising young player, and certainly one to watch for the future.  At just 20, Kovacic is high on many a European club’s list of possible transfers.  Unfortunately for the Vatreni, in their opening game against the hosts, Brazil, Mario Mandzukic will be absent after picking up a red card in their final qualifying match.  It will be an unfortunate loss, but not one over which Croatia will overly mourn as Eduardo da Silva and Ivica Olic will certainly fill the space left by the Bayern frontman.  Arsenal fans will surely remember Eduardo, who scored some memorable goals for the Gunners before leaving to ply his trade at Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk.  Olic, formerly of Bayern Munich, has these days been scoring goals for VfL Wolfsburg, and his experience in attack will be a reassurance in Mandzukics absence.  Croatia will prove a challenge for any club looking to exit the group, and I expect them to be fighting with Cameroon and Mexico for that second qualifying spot.



Screenshot 2014 06 09 18.48.28 World Cup Preview: Group A


Coach: Miguel Herrera

World Ranking: 20th

The fact that Mexico is even in the World Cup is a feat unto itself, as El Tri qualified thanks to a stoppage time goal from the United States in their match against Panama.  At the time, the United States had already qualified, but the Mexicans needed a Panama loss in order secure their place in the tournament.  Their northern neighbors obliged them in the dying minutes of the match, and El Tri found themselves headed for Brazil.  A rather dismal qualifying run saw former coach Jose Manuel de la Torre lose his job to be replaced by current manager Miguel Herrera.  Leaving Club America in LigaMX to manage the national side, Herrera made some stark changes to the lineup, controversially selecting only homegrown players for their playoff qualifiers against New Zealand.  They won the matches handily,  the naysayers were silenced and fans were convinced by the new tactician.  Mexico recently played a friendly against Portugal to warm up for the tournament, losing 1-0 in the final minute.  Despite the loss, it was a rather impressive showing from the Mexicans.  Anchored in defense by former Barcelona veteran Rafael Marquez and spearheaded by Manchester United frontman Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, El Tri have the experience in key areas of the pitch.  Giovanni Dos Santos, Andres Guardado and Marco Fabian are all well-rounded midfielders with a touch of flair and an eye for goal, while Oribe Peralta and Raul Jiminez are young forwards who could form dangerous partnerships with Chicharito.  On their day, the Mexicans can play with the best of them, but have struggled to find that form of late.  Hopefully they do so while in Brazil, because it would make an already intriguing group that much more so. I expect El Tri to be challenging for second place in the group with Croatia and Cameroon.





June 12: Brazil Vs. Croatia (4 p.m. ET, Sao Paulo)

June 13: Mexico Vs. Cameroon ( noon ET, Natal)

June 17: Brazil Vs. Mexico (3 p.m. ET, Fortaleza)

June 18:Cameroon Vs. Croatia (6 p.m. ET, Manaus)

June 23: Croatia Vs. Mexico (4 p.m. ET, Recife)

June 23: Cameroon VS. Brazil (4 p.m. ET, Brasilia)



Screenshot 2014 06 09 19.44.28 World Cup Preview: Group A

World Cup 2014 Stadium Information [Graphic News/FIFA]



Amadi Thiam

Senegalese-American journalism student. Fan of political science & international relations. Strong passion for writing about and playing the beautiful game. Bilingual. Recovering Drogbaholic. Licensed Youth Coach. I call it football, futbol and soccer. Follow me on twitter: @amadoit Find me on Soccerly at More of my writings:

 Leave a Reply



Refresh Image


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>