Why Germany Are the Biggest Threats to Hosts Brazil at World Cup 2014
Germany represent the biggest threat to Brazil at the 2014 World Cup.
The hosts are traditionally expected to win, and the Seleção are the most successful nation ever to compete in the tournament, but there's a chance they could fall in front of the home crowd.
Joachim Low's Germans disappointed in Euro 2012, losing to Italy in the semifinal, but look set to bounce back in two years time.
On 3 October 2012, Brazil fell to 14th place in the FIFA World Rankings—their lowest ever placement in the history of the system (via sambafoot.com).
While the scoring is flawed to say the least, the very fact that Colombia are looking down on them is telling. They're the fourth-ranked South American nation in the world just two years before they host football's most prestigious tournament.
Mano Menezes' preparations are far from ideal and the public are growing disillusioned with him. An Olympic silver medal was seen as a real disappointment for a Seleção.
Playing Down the Expectations
Don't believe everything Karl-Heinz Rumenigge suggests, as the Bayern Munich chief executive appears pessimistic about Germany's chances of winning the 2014 World Cup (via goal.com).
In truth, this may well be a commitment to damage limitation right from the off, as Die Mannschaft suffered under the weight of expectation during Euro 2012.
With many people expecting a titanic showdown between defending champions Spain and potential usurpers Germany, the overconfident, atypically unorganised DFB-Elf fell to Italy in the penultimate hurdle.
This won't happen again.
Spain's Style Can Be Bettered
For proof that the tiki-taka, high-pressing game can be planned for, or even bettered, look no further than the latest El Clasico, in which Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid effectively stifled Tito Vilanova's Barcelona.
You can bet that Joachim Low will stick with the 4-2-3-1 Mourinho used, or a close variant of it, for the upcoming World Cup. He has already employed it in the first set of qualifiers.
Spain, too, will not change. Xavi, Andres Iniesta and Cesc Fabregas et al will all still be around in 2014.
Spain are beatable, and Germany can do it.
Same Problems Still Apply to the Rest
Going back to the aforementioned article on Karl-Heinze Rumenigge, he stated his belief that a team from South America would win the competition.
So if we look at Brazil and decide they're not nailed on favourites, who from that continent can challenge? The obvious answer is Argentina, but they too have issues.
It's easy to point out that their Achilles heel is the defence yet again, but there's also concerns that they're overreliant on Lionel Messi despite boasting a multitude of attacking talents (via goal.com).
Chile have fallen by the wayside without Marcelo Bielsa and while Colombia ride the wings of Radamel Falcao, you can't see him shooting them all the way.
Portugal appear the most commendable threat to Brazil alongside Germany and Spain.