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World Cup 2014 Field: Seeds, Teams, Favorites, Predictions and More

PARIS, FRANCE - NOVEMBER 19:  Mamadou Sakho of France celebrates after winning the FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier Play-off second leg match between France and Ukraine at the Stade de France on November 19, 2013 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Bryn Lennon/Getty Images)
Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVNovember 19, 2013

With the field getting set for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, we're inching nearer and nearer to next summer's spectacle in Brazil.

Considering the amount of elite teams sprinkled in with smaller nations ready to make noise on the world's biggest stage, we're in for perhaps the most exciting World Cup in recent memory.

Even though the groups haven't been announced as of yet, some favorites are already emerging from the crowd and folks are pouring in their predictions.

Here is a look at the teams that will be in the field and those that have the best chance of being the last ones standing.

2014 World Cup Finals Teams
Brazil (hosts)England
JapanSpain
AustraliaChile
IranEcuador
South KoreaHonduras
NetherlandsNigeria
ItalyIvory Coast
Costa RicaCameroon
United StatesGhana
ArgentinaAlgeria
BelgiumCroatia
SwitzerlandPortugal
GermanyFrance
ColombiaGreece
RussiaNew Zealand/Mexico TBD
Bosnia and HerzegovinaUruguay/Jordan TBD

 

Top Seeds

FIFA announced the seven Pot 1 seeds for next summer's World Cup. The eighth and final top seed will either be Uruguay (should they advance over Jordan to qualify) or Netherlands, per the FIFA report. 

  • Brazil (host)
  • Spain
  • Germany
  • Argentina
  • Colombia
  • Belgium
  • Switzerland
  • *Uruguay or Netherlands

 

Favorites

Brazil

Nov 16, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Brazil players celebrate a goal by forward William (9) against Honduras during the second half at Sun Life Stadium. Brazil won the match 5-0. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Not only does the whole geography thing match up pretty well for Brazil, but the team looks more dynamic and explosive than any Brazilian squad in recent history.

No player has emerged more between 2010 and 2014 than Neymar, who transformed from a small-stage youngster with untapped potential into Barcelona's new-age sensation and one of the most unstoppable international players in the world. 

But it's the guys around him who could take Brazil to the next level. Fred has come into his own as a goal-scoring threat, while Oscar is becoming a star in his own right. There's enough experience around them in Robinho and Hulk to complete this dazzling attack.

The last time an elite nation hosted a World Cup was 2006, and that didn't work out well for Germany (they lost in the semifinals). Anything short of a championship for Brazil on their home turf will be a huge disappointment.

 

Spain

Jun 11, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; Republic of Ireland midfielder Jeff Hendrick (21) falls as Spain midfielder Xavi (8) controls the ball in front of Spain defender Sergio Ramos (15) during the first half of a friendly match at Yankee Stadium. Spain defeated t
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Very few teams in all of sports have dominated their craft quite like Spain has in the last half-decade. 

Coming off 2008 Euro, 2010 World Cup and 2012 Euro victories, perhaps the only letdown garnered by the Spanish since 2006 was a Confederations Cup finals loss to Brazil this past summer. Although that doesn't quite live up to the stage of a Euro or a World Cup, this team won't sacrifice a chance to look for redemption.

With the typical, seemingly never-changing lineup of veterans along with plenty of young stars, Spain should cruise into the latter stages of the World Cup quite easily. 

 

Germany

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 19:  Per Mertesacker of Germany in action during the international friendly match between England and Germany at Wembley Stadium on November 19, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

While Brazil and Spain hold more of the spotlight, Germany enters next summer's affair (somewhat) quiet but still boasting an endless array of talent.

The veteran leadership is there in Bastian Schweinsteiger, and there are more than enough options up front with Mario Gomez, Mario Goetze and Miroslav Klose. If Mesut Ozil emerges like he has in England recently, this team will only be better. 

Goals against the Germans will come at a premium. They may have the world's best goalkeeper in Manuel Neuer and boast as strong a defense as any nation in the world. 

 

Predictions

United States Will Again Advance Past Group Stage

Sep 10, 2013; Columbus, OH, USA; United States head coach Jurgen Klinsmann celebrates a 2-0 win over Mexico at Columbus Crew Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports
David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

This could change if the U.S. somehow find themselves in an incredibly tough group, but the Americans have shown admirable form over the past year and are entering the home stretch before Brazil playing inspired football. 

Jurgen Klinsmann has revitalized this roster, building depth and establishing his top starters very well en route to a relatively easy World Cup qualification. Don't expect that to fade before the summer. 

In 2010, USMNT received a somewhat fortunate draw in a group with England, Algeria and Slovenia. Somehow, they were able to win that group before being matched against a No. 2 group stage finisher in Ghana, who eliminated the Americans.

This time around, it's more conceivable to see Klinsmann's squad finish second in their group and get eliminated by an elite foe in the round of 16. But just getting past the group stage will be a win in most Americans' books. 

 

Spain Will Win Second Straight World Cup 

Jun 11, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; Spain fans celebrate after defeating the Republic of Ireland in a friendly match at Yankee Stadium. Spain defeated the Republic of Ireland 2-0. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

There are more than a couple of nations that can knock the champs off their perch, but it's hard to envision anyone beating Spain in one, 90-minute match for the World Cup.

Spain's core of Xavi, Andres Iniesta and David Villa is aging, but there's just way too much depth and more than enough budding stars to make any sort of deficiency disappear. 

It may be boring, it may lack flair and excitement, but the way Spain plays simply wears down even the most explosive of clubs. They'll win their consecutive world championship and continue their ascendance into the argument of best dynasties in world football's history.        

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