In the first of a four part series, Sophie and her Dad tackle the key issues in Groups A and B at Brazil 2014. Who will have the bottle to reach Round 2? And who will end up as the dummies? Read on to find out her thoughts…
Dad: In this group, it’s so important for Brazil to get off to a good start. It would be criminal for a host nation with their history and pedigree not to take the competition by storm, particularly with the fanatical following of millions of Brazilians. Although will they be supported? The people’s approval ratings for the World Cup have nosedived amidst spiralling costs and declining living standards… if Neymar and co fail to strike the right notes, then this World Cup may lose its samba beat.
Sophie: I don’t like Brazil because I don’t like yellow. It hurts my eyes. And as for all that noise – whistle and drum things – they’re far too loud. They will go out first round.
Dad: In the rest of Group A, Croatia look quite strong with Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic capable of upsetting any defence. Mexico have Javier Hernandez but really struggled in qualifying. This may be a step too far. Finally, Cameroon will be sturdy but unexciting. Don’t expect buckets of goals. My tips…Brazil and Croatia.
Sophie: I quite like the smell of Mexican food (Mummy and Daddy have it lots) so they’ll go through. Cameroon, well they’ve got that Eto’o chap with the apostrophe in his name which I approve of so I reckon they’ll make the second round. Croatia? Don’t know anything about them.
Sophie: All Daddy’s watched on TV over the past few months seems to have been Spanish footballers. El Clasico, Real and Atletico Madrid, Barcelona falling short of everything. All that silly short passing – enough to send me to sleep. I hope they go out.
Dad: Spain’s squad reads like a roll-call of who’s who in international football. Almost every player would walk into every other national team at the competition. And yet many have written off their chances, suggesting they’re past it and that they’ve not got the desire. While this theory looks good on paper, the squad is so jam-packed full of winners that don’t expect anything less than full commitment on the field. A second round clash with Brazil would be tasty…
Sophie: This group looks really interesting! I don’t like Chile – reminds me of being cold when I first came to Manchester (11th March don’t you know) – so hopefully they’ll go out. Holland’s orange doesn’t offend me. My vitamins are that colour and my bib goes a lovely shade of orange every time I have them. Australia? Daddy went there on holiday and there’s a photo of that Opera House thing on our wall. Good enough for me.
Dad: I’m really excited about this group! So much talent, particularly in the Holland and Chile squads. There could be fireworks in the opener between Spain and Holland and I’m looking forward to watching Louis van Gaal try to prove he isn’t David Moyes mark 2! Chile have some players I’ve heard of – Vidal, Sanchez etc – so could make an impact. Sorry Australia…you have a Preston player in your team so I’m not so sure how good you are! My tips… Spain and Holland (just!).