The recent spate of World Cup qualifiers has given everyone a taste for the International spectacle that looms next summer. This article profiles five second-tier nations who could well triumph at Brazil 2014.
For the purpose of this piece, I define ‘Second-Tier Nations’ as those sides in the world that have not yet won the World Cup—i.e. Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Italy, France, Germany, England and Spain, or Holland and Portugal, who are approaching the status and profile of the eight previous winners despite never having taken home the trophy. Holland alone have been defeated finalists on three occasions.
I am also not defining ‘triumph’ as ‘victory,’ as very few nations actually have a feasible chance of winning the competition outright—indeed the only ‘first-timers’ in the final since 1974 have been France and Spain, both of whom had previously won their respective continental championship.
Instead, I consider ‘triumph’ to be an achievement that either outstrips or equals their recent performances or best performances on the international high table.
Thus, despite not the winning the cup, I would identify Turkey and South Korea’s run to the semifinals in 2002 as a ‘triumph’—due to the outstanding nature of the achievement.