The 2014 FIFA World Cup is upon us. The opening match will be on Thursday the 12th of June between Group A teams, Brazil and Croatia, at the Arena de São Paulo. Group A comprises the hosts Brazil, Croatia, Cameroon and Mexico. Brazil are by far the strongest team in a group that boasts of representatives of Africa, Europe, South America and North America. Morale in the Brazillian team is at an all time high despite various protests that now intend to focus on drumming support AGAINST the Samba boys. This is mainly to do with the issues that the people of Brazil have against their politicians, issues like corruption. However, it is pertinent to point out at this point that this is not the first time that this has been done and, as they say, this kind of campaign did not last the first fifteen minutes of the first match.
The Brazilian soccer team has been coached by Luiz Felipe Scolari since November, 2012 after the sacking of Mano Menezes in the same month. The results started improving gradually and they have not looked back since then. In the dry run of the FIFA World Cup, the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup, Brazil were the only team to stop the Spanish run of 29 unbeaten games to win the final and bag their fourth tittle in the same showcase. To cap it all, Neymar was awarded the Golden ball for being the player of the tournament while Julio Ceasar and Fred won the Golden Glove and the Golden Boot for being the best goalkeeper and the top goal scorer of the tournament respectively.
Their opponents on the day, Croatia, also deserve to appear at this stage otherwise they would not be there at all. While they were unknown prior to 1994, they made great inroads into the football fraternity when, in their first World Cup appearance, they came third, coming away with a bronze medal. In the other two World Cup appearances, they have been eliminated in the group stages, coming third in both instances. They failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa after also coming third in their qualifying group behind England and Ukraine.
Their squad, which boasts of close to one thousand caps, is probably the strongest that Croatia has put together and represents their best shot at the world showcase. The most experienced player on their outfit, Darijo Srna who is also their captain, boasts of 112 international caps. He turns out for Shakhtar Donetsk on the Ukraine. Close behind him is the veteran goalkeeper, Stipe Pletikosa who plies his trade at Rostov in Russia.
With such a range of experience and skill, this is sure to become the precursor to an exciting FIFA World Cup and results aside, it will be one of the most interesting matches to watch. Many soccer fans believe that Brazil will win this match because, apart from having a larger pool of talented players who have proved themselves at various international fora, they also have the advantage of the twelfth man home advantage. However, we wait with bated breath!