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Bobby McMahon

Bobby McMahon

You can see me on the Fox Soccer News broadcast in the US on the Fox Soccer, in other parts of the world on FSI and in Canada on Soccer Central on Sportsnet. I also contribute to "TSN 1290 radio," as well as other radio stations across the continent and I write a regular column for Forbes.com.


TANGENTS

World Cup Draw 2014 – The Winners, The Losers, The Ever Hopeful

Written by on December 7, 2013 | 15 Comments »
Posted in World Cups

The draw for the 2014 World Cup Finals was made earlier today. Things will change over the next seven months. Injuries, bust-ups, even managers being fired can and will significantly impact a country’s chances.

Nonetheless, with 188 days until the opening game here is a quick rundown of the 32 countries, the groups and things to consider.

Group A

Brazil – the host nation and the recipients of a terrific group draw. It is inconceivable that ….to read more please click on the link.


15 Responses to “World Cup Draw 2014 – The Winners, The Losers, The Ever Hopeful”

  1. Smiley says:

    re: USA

    Ghana have some exciting young players in Ayew Brothers, Atsu and Kwadwo Asamoah but Essien is a shadow of his former self, Boateng is inconsistent and can go missing in a game and the defense/GK is suspect.

    Portugal have not impressed in the playoffs but will have an edge playing in a country with so much Portuguese blood and Vierinha back from injury.

    Germany… nuff said.

    So based purely on results:

    Great WC = USA advancing from group

    Good WC = Finishing 3rd or Finishing Fourth with at least 1-3 points (Klinsmann faces Germany in the final game and they can already have clinched top spot).

    Poor WC = Finishing Last with O points.

  2. Smiley says:

    re: USA

    Ghana have some exciting young players in Ayew Brothers, Atsu and Kwadwo Asamoah but Essien is a shadow of his former self, Boateng is inconsistent and can go missing in a game, Striker Asamoah Gyan plays in a weak league and the defense/GK is suspect.

    Portugal have not impressed in the qualifiers but will have an edge playing in a country with so much Portuguese blood and Vieirinha back from injury.

    Germany… nuff said.

    So based purely on results:

    Great WC = USA advancing from group

    Good WC = Finishing 3rd or Finishing Fourth with at least 1-3 points (Klinsmann faces Germany in the final game who could already have clinched top spot).

    Poor WC = Finishing Last with O points.

  3. Rob says:

    Bobby to your point re: Germany v USA, its not out of the realm of possibility that Germany has the group locked up by the time the Americans meet them. All that it would take is two German wins and two US draws and Germany is guaranteed top spot. If that were to happen it wouldn’t be shocking to see Jogi rotate the squad and allow backups a chance to play which to me would be Germany “taking it easy”.

    Smiley-A good WC is one where the US fails to progress? Now there’s no shame going out in a difficult group but to suggest failing at the first hurdle is “good” seems a bit far-fetched….even for you.

  4. Smiley says:

    @Rob – Yet again you prove your notion of US soccer and Klinsmann. Not all competition is on the same level to US Men’s Basketball or the military in case you haven’t heard.

    I suppose it would be a failure to finish 3rd above Shile in that group a well for those unfamiliar with the world game and only watch Liverpool and NBA, NFL, MLB.

  5. Smiley says:

    @Rob – Yet again you show your unrealistic notion of US soccer and Klinsmann. Not all competition is on the same level as US Men’s Basketball or
    US armed forces… in case you haven’t heard.

    I suppose it would be a failure to finish 3rd above Chile or Netherlands in group B as well… for those unfamiliar with the world game and only watch meaningless US friendlies and NBA, NFL, MLB.

  6. Rob says:

    Smiley-Read again buddy.

  7. smiley says:

    Reread what?

    I stated it would be a good WC for USA if they drew with Portugal/Ghana/Germany and/or won a match yet still finished 3rd or 4th and you disagreed.

    It’s not sanskrit or rocket science…

  8. Django says:

    I tend to agree with Bobby for the most part except for groups
    A and E.

    I think that Croatia and Switzerland will qualify from groups A and E respectively.
    I think Croatia have a more talented squad than Mexico. Croatia’s midfield is loaded with talent. We all know of Modric. There is also Rakitic who has been on fire for Sevilla. The youngster Kovacic has impressed whenever he started for Inter. In Mandzukic, they have a top level striker and Lovren from Southampton adds steel to their defense. There is also the right back Srna. There is plenty of talent there and the only question is whether they can come together as a team.
    Switzerland continue to get underestimated but I think they have enough fire and guile to make it through.

  9. Ed Gomes says:

    I don’t think that Germany will be taking it easy on the US if they’ve got it locked up and subs play. There’s plenty of amnemosity between Germany and Klinsmann. Also wouldn’t be surprised if Gernany drops some points along the way. It hasn’t been mentioned much, but Germany has been playing with a false nine. Some due to injury some to experimentation.
    Keep in mind that they’ll advance.

    Portugal needs a lot of tweaking. I’m not so sure that Bento will do so. They have starters that haven’t been getting regular club team play and guys whose age and mileage on the legs could be problematic in the heat/humidity. They have showed well once in the tourneys, and Cristiano is always there.

    I really like Ghana to advance. They’re bringing a lot if experience with youth to the table. I think they will get through.

    The US has a tough road, but they’ve surprised before. I just don’t see them advancing.

    Bobby, I agree with you about Belgium. They are playing all over Europe and will need to gain some more international experience. The talent is there, but egos will come into play. I wonder if they could become like the Dutch with all the infighting.
    Which brings me to the Dutch. I think they’re being dismissed too readily. They still have a very good squad that is going completely under the radar.
    I know Chile has become one of the darlings, but for me, there biggest advantage is the continent.

    Bobby, everyone will be able to change their opinions. It’s a long way off and team selection, injuries, turmoil still have time to manifest.

  10. Rob says:

    SL-Did I not say that their is no shame in going out in a difficult group? Wouldn’t that hint at my expectations for the US?

    My point was suggesting that failing at the first hurdle could be considered good in any way is ridiculous. The US is not a country who is just happy to be there or there to make up the numbers.

    Next time, take a deep breath and read. Its not rocket science nor is it a personal attack on you.

  11. Rob says:

    Ed-By not playing their starters, that would be Germany taking it easy.

  12. Smiley says:

    Ed – I agree, even if Loew fields his second string in Germany’s 3rd group stage match, Germany’s depth is much more talented/experienced than USA and players such as Draxler, Gotze, Sam, Bender, Gomez etc. will want to impress in order to start in the knockouts.

    re: Portugal
    I really like how Oliviera is developing at Rennes, he is a natural finisher and I would start him as the #9. Meireles has no business being a starter and Vieirinha is a crafty attacking player. So taking all this into account plus the fact that Portugal have the “current” best player in the world, always show up on the big stage and half of Brazil’s population has the surname Silva… I expect them to qualify.

    * Portugal’s only drawback is a lack of a pure #10 a la Deco… so Moutinho will have to pull the strings from further back.

    As for the USA:
    1) The defense is suspect
    2) Jermaine Jones is undisciplined, unpredictable and craZed
    3) Kid Bradley is being used as a sub for Roma
    4) Dempsey is struggling for form in a weak MLS league
    5) Our main striker is only scoring against CONCACAF oppostion
    6) And then there’s the grueling travel schedule

  13. Ed Gomes says:

    Portugal has some interesting new prospects coming along. William Carvalho could very well start as the Def Mid. Vieirinha has also showed well, and truth be told I would prefer him ahead of Nani right now, if fully recovered from injury. Andre Almeida could also find himself in the lineup since he could play several positions, like Amorim. As for a #10, for whatever reason Danny (Zenit) has never been given that role. He would fit nicely as a false 9, but Portuguese managers keep sticking him out wide.
    Bento is very stubborn so we’ll see what happens. Unlike other tourneys, I’m not very optimistic about this one. Yes, the language won’t be a barrier, but the heat and humidity will. I actually feel that the US will have the upper hand when they face in the Rain Forest. I believe the game has been pushed back to 6PM, which is a big help for Portugal.

    As for Germany playing sibs, please keep in mind that it won’t be the whole squad.
    I also feel that Germany could drop points verse Ghana.

  14. Smiley says:

    Oh shoot, I totally forgot about Danny who is an ideal #10 but for some reason doesn’t ever seem to be a regular starter.

    Methinks it’s not so much the language as the number of Brazilians (of Portuguese decent) supporting Portugal outside and inside the stadium.

  15. Ed Gomes says:

    Smiley, you would be surprised, there’s a huge rivalry there. Portugal’s big clubs have nabbed and profited from Brazilian players. There’s also a big brother little brother complex.
    One of the interesting factors is the economic boom in Brazil. We have already seen clubs buying back players, some young ones at that. Clubs have also demand a great deal more money for prospects. Yes there will always be the have’s and have not’s, but you are seeing the effects.
    Portugal would be one of the nations affected by such economic boom. Benfica, Porto and Sporting might not feel the pinch, but the remaining clubs definitely would.
    Sorry for going off topic.

    Yes Danny should be the guy, but he’s never been or hasn’t gotten the chance.

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