This world cup has been great to watch. It gets me excited for the start of pre-season with my own team. Why has the world cup been different this time? I know the big teams still made the semi-finals, but the smaller countries in larger amounts have made stronger then normal showings. The gap between the soccer powers and the rest of the world is closing for sure. The argument can be made that tactically the smaller teams are more organized defensively and proving much harder to break down. I would also argue that teams like Costa Rica the United States & Mexico have top level goalkeepers. The Goalkeeper in big games is of massive importance. Team solidarity and playing for your teammates & countries pride plays a major factor as well. So many teams came up with inspiring team performances like Algeria, Costa Rica, Iran, Colombia and Chile. The team concept has re-emerged in this world cup. So why didn’t any of those underdogs make the semi-finals? For me it’s the influence of just a couple special players (Messi, Robben, Neymar) to a team, plus the overall experience level of the team. Once a team has that right level of experienced players plus special players, they find away to overcome the emerging teams that might be missing something.
Germany: I like what Germany has done so far but the lack of pace in the back worries me, along with no outright striker.
Brazil: If they can by the next game without Neymar and Silva, they win the cup.
Netherlands: I really do not rate them as high as the other teams left. I predict their exit next game.
Argentina: If they can up their level they can win the cup. However, I see them losing in the final to Brazil.
My original final four was Spain, Brazil, Germany and Argentina before the cup started with Brazil beating Argentina in the final!