The soccer season kicked off a few short weeks ago. Just when things were getting good, players moving, Man City contemplating a $95 million dollar bid for “sad” Ronaldo, Arsenal beating Liverpool at Anfield with scores from two of their new signings, West Brom running away with the league…a two week break. Don’t despair. It is actually a good thing!
We are in an international break to allow time for qualifying matches for World Cup 2014. If you just cannot wait for Brazil, the good news is that you do not have too! Most teams will play a match this Friday followed by a match the next Tuesday. What fun! Here is a link to the great World Cup website: World Cup Website. So, while you are lamenting the lack of club soccer the next two weeks, get excited about the story lines heading to Brazil, like
1. If this is the golden age of soccer in Belgium, will they actually qualify for a major tournament?
2. Will England insert life into their wings with Sterling and Ox? Can Hodgson live up to #3 World Ranking?
3. Can Brazil recapture the magic of 1970 at home? Are they in the middle of another Golden Era? Is Neymar the next Pele?
4. How many more goals does Forlan have in him?
5. Who will replace Pirlo in Italy?
6. Was the Dutch performance in the Euros a sign of decline?
7. Will the Germans be the most creative attacking team? I mean, Ozil, Reus, Gotzke, Schurrle, Marin, Kroos,…and the list goes on. Will Neuer accept the mantle of best GK in the world?
8. Can Spain add a 4th Major tournament victory in row? Will their core be too old in Brazil? Will they give the best player in the EPL a starting spot (yes, talking about Cazorla!)
9. Will the US qualify without Bradley and Donovan in two games against Jamaica?
10. Can Messi shine in National Team competition? How will Argentina fare?
I am sure you can think of many other interesting issues. Important games are coming up, including a biggie with Belgium playing host to group favorite Croatia on September 11. If you need a darkhorse to follow, join me in following the Red Devils of Belgium. With Eden Hazard creating, Lukaku up front with a robust midfield featuring Dembele, Witsel, Fellaini, and Defour, they seem strong in the middle and up front. And, at the back, they have the best center back in the world, Vincent Kompany, who will likely be paired with Vermaelen, Vertongen, and Van Buyten. They have bright young stars in Chadli and Alderweireld. So, if you need someone to root for, root for the Red Devils!
As for USA, they play Jamaica away on Friday then host them the following Tuesday. They are currently tied with Jamaica on points and would count a draw away with a home victory as a major coup. I will be missing Bradley as I love how he “pulls the strings” for the team, but will be cheering them.Post your World Cup interests here. Here we come Brazil!