World Cup Favorites 2014: Teams Most Equipped to Win FIFA Extravaganza

Steven CookFeatured Columnist IVDecember 6, 2013

ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 18: Sergio Aguero #10 of Argentina passes the ball against Bosnia-Herzegovina during the international friendly match between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Argentina at Busch Stadium on November 18, 2013 in St. Louis, Missouri.  (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

Even though it's half a calendar year away, the entire world football landscape is shifting toward a month of intense action in Brazil for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

There's no doubt that the field is loaded—all 32 national teams boast a formidable resume—but a handful of favorites stick out amongst the field and are sure to dominate the final stretches of the tournament.

Here is a look at the World Cup draw, courtesy of Bleacher Report, and the teams that are built for a championship this upcoming summer.

Photo courtesy of Bleacher Report

Photo courtesy of Bleacher Report



Jun 8, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; The Spanish national team before a game against Haiti before a friendly at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

There's no secret as to why this list of favorites starts—and, in some people's opinions, ends—with Spain. 

The defending World Cup champions have also won each of the last two Euro championships, only seemingly getting better from 2010 to 2012. Spain's core starters are proving to stay at an elite level despite beginning to exit their respective primes.

The scoring talent—Andres Iniesta, Pedro, Cesc Fabregas, Diego Costa, David Villa, and on and on—is there, as well.

Even if the Spanish struggle, they boast a dangerous bench loaded with Premier League standouts from Juan Mata to David Silva. You know you're loaded with depth when Fernando Torres is in doubt of making the 23-man roster, per Callum Tennent of the Daily Mail.

But what sets this team apart is its unmatched chemistry. Spain are able to hold possession for minutes on end, seemingly sucking the life out of matches and making opposing goals an impossible feat. 

Even in this loaded field full of contenders, you have to like Spain's chances. 



GDANSK, POLAND - JUNE 22:  Holger Badstuber  and  Thomas Muller of Germany speak  during the UEFA EURO 2012 quarter final match between Germany and Greece at The Municipal Stadium on June 22, 2012 in Gdansk, Poland.  (Photo by Joern Pollex/Getty Images)
Joern Pollex/Getty Images

With arguably the deepest attacking core in the world, Germany are a lock to make the semifinal round and could very well be lifting the trophy at the tournament's end. 

Starring in the show will be clutch performer Thomas Mueller and the recently elite Mesut Ozil along with likely Marco Reus. But then it gets sticky in the starting lineup.

At striker, Germany have Mario Goetze—an emerging superstar—along with veterans Mario Gomez and Miroslav Klose to compete for one job. That's the epitome of depth.

Mats Hummels' recent injury and Sami Khedira tearing a knee ligament are lone dark spots on a roster otherwise loaded with brightness and world champion potential. And with the tournament so far away, it's unknown if they'll come back in time.

And on top of all that, Germany boast arguably the best goalkeeper in the world at the moment in Manuel Neuer. 



ST. LOUIS, MO - NOVEMBER 18: Angel Di Maria #7 drives to the goal against Avdija Vrsajevic #2 of Bosnia-Herzegovina during the international friendly match between Bosnia-Herzegovina and Argentina at Busch Stadium on November 18, 2013 in St. Louis, Missou
Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

As strong as Germany are in attacking and as dominant as Brazil look, Argentina may have them one-upped as the most dangerous offensive attack in the field.

Obviously, the buck starts and stops with Lionel Messi. The Barcelona standout dominates everything from Spanish league football to FIFA 14 to headlines, scoring goals at will and emerging as a player who could be the best of all time by the time he hangs it up.

But that's far from it on this squad. Whether it's Gonzalo Higuain, Sergio Aguero or Javier Mascherano, the elite ability is there and multiple players stand out on paper.

But it hasn't panned out as well on the pitch as it has on paper. After advancing to the quarterfinals in South Africa, Argentina were throttled 4-0 by Germany in quite the embarrassing defeat for a contending squad.

No player in the world has emerged more than Messi from then until now, and if he is determined to prove that, then Argentina may leave everyone else in the dust.



TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 19:  Neymar #10 of Brazil takes the ball in the first half against Chile during a friendly match at Rogers Centre on November 19, 2013 in Toronto, Canada.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
Elsa/Getty Images

Save the best for last, right?

Well, let's not get ahead of ourselves, but there's no doubt that the stage has set up for quite the storyline. The winningest team in World Cup history, playing at homelooks for their first championship since 2002. 

An emerging superstar aims to lead them in the charge. Neymar heads into the first of many World Cups in his soon-to-be illustrious career with sky-high expectations.

Though it wasn't easy for Brazilians to see their star leave his home country for Barcelona, it was the perfect time as he's adjusted quickly to the stiffer competition. He's gone from a potential-laden youngster to a dangerous threat against any competition.

It's far from just the Neymar show in Brazil, though, as he's enjoyed the goal-scoring prowess of Fred, the midfield dominance of Oscar and the back-line presence of Thiago Silva and David Luiz.

What makes Brazil awfully scary is that they can tear you apart for five goals, or lean on their defense and shut down the opponent. If they use that unique skill to their advantage, they could sprint past the field.