World Cup Brazil 2014: Outlook for Top Teams Before Draw

R. Cory Smith@@RCorySmithSenior Writer IDecember 5, 2013

Jun 8, 2013; Miami Gardens, FL,  USA;  Spain midfielder Juan Mata (13) celebrates a goal with teammate midfielder Cesc Fabregas (left) against Haiti during the first half of a friendly at Sun Life Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports
Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

With the World Cup draw set to be announced on Friday, the top teams in each group are already set. The rankings have shifted somewhat since October, but the top seven teams from last month along with host Brazil were all placed into Pot 1 as the top seeds in the 2014 World Cup.

Their opponents will not be set until Friday, but the best teams in the world going in all have a great shot at advancing to the knockout stage regardless of their draw. Here's a breakdown of each of the top teams and how they will likely finish.

Nov 19, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Chile forward Alexis Sanchez (7) battles for a ball with Brazil forward Neymar (10) during the first half in a friendly soccer game at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports


Brazil (FIFA Ranking: 10)

The host country is usually one of the toughest to beat in the World Cup, and a talented Brazilian squad makes it that much more difficult. Getting a draw against teams like Spain, Germany or Argentina is far from easy, but Brazil could be one of the more arduous clubs of Pot 1.

Brazil have improved as of late thanks to great play from Oscar and Neymar, the latter recently telling Stefan Coerts of that he wants to follow in the footsteps of Ronaldinho, and have a good chance of making it at least to the semifinals. But with the home crowd and the talent they possess, Brazil might have a shot at making the finals with this squad. 

Jun 11, 2013; Bronx, NY, USA; Spain defender Jordi Alba (18) and Republic of Ireland defender Seamus Coleman (2) fight for the ball during the second half of a friendly match at Yankee Stadium. Spain defeated the Republic of Ireland 2-0. Mandatory Credit:
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports


Spain (FIFA Ranking: 1)

La Roja are once again the No. 1 team coming into the World Cup, and rightfully so. Spain have continued their brilliant style of play with possession being the focal point. But there have been a few potential weaknesses recently with the Spanish club as the defense has been somewhat questionable coming in.

Despite possible issues in the backfield and the questions about the consistency of Fernando Torres, Spain remain the country to beat heading into the 2014 World Cup. If players like Xabi Alonso and David Villa can help lead this squad again, they have as good a shot as anyone to win the entire tournament.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 19:  Mario Goetze of Germany holds off Jack Wilshere of England during the international friendly match between England and Germany at Wembley Stadium on November 19, 2013 in London, England.  (Photo by Clive Rose/Getty Images)
Clive Rose/Getty Images


Germany (FIFA Ranking: 2)

The Germans once again bring a prominent club that has depth and talent to the World Cup stage. From Mario Goetze to Bastian Schweinsteiger, Germany have the makeup to contend with Spain for the right to win the tournament.

Much like the Spanish, Germany expect to make it to the World Cup final in 2014 and anything less would be a disappointment. With one of the more talented clubs heading into the draw, the Germans might just have the firepower to knock off the top team in the world.

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - FEBRUARY 06:  Lionel Messi of Argentina in action during the International Friendly match between Sweden and Argentina at the Friends Arena on February 6, 2013 in Stockholm, Sweden.  (Photo by Jamie McDonald/Getty Images)
Jamie McDonald/Getty Images


Argentina (FIFA Ranking: 3)

Argentina's attack is one of the most lethal in the world, thanks in large part to one man: Lionel Messi. One of the best finishers in the world right now, Messi has a chance to put up numbers similar to the aforementioned Villa in the 2010 World Cup if he's at the top of his game.

While there are clearly questions on the defensive side, Argentina's aggressive style of play and outstanding forwards, including Messi and Sergio Aguero, should lead to a trip to, at the very least, the semifinals with a shot at upsetting one of the top two teams.

AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS - NOVEMBER 19:  Luciano Narsingh of Netherlands in action with Pablo Armero of Colombia during the friendly International match between the Netherlands and Colombia at the Amsterdam Arena on November 19, 2013 in Amsterdam, Netherlan
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images


Colombia (FIFA Ranking: 4)

One of the most balanced teams in the draw, Colombia have a roster that can get it done on both sides of the pitch. With Radamel Falcao and Luis Muriel, two of the best strikers in the tournament, paired with a stingy defense, Colombia have a good chance at making noise in the tournament.

Questions remain as to whether the midfield will be strong enough to help carry Colombia, but considering the talent at nearly every other position, Colombia could secure a spot in the semifinals.

MONTEVIDEO, URUGUAY - NOVEMBER 20:  Luis Suarez of Uruguay runs with the ball during leg 2 of the FIFA World Cup Qualifier match between Uruguay and Jordan at Centenario Stadium Stadium on November 20, 2013 in Montevideo, Uruguay.  (Photo by Friedemann Vo
Friedemann Vogel/Getty Images


Uruguay (FIFA Ranking: 6)

La Celeste is another club that have an absurdly talented group of forwards, but they lack the midfield and defensive strengths necessary to make a late run in the tournament.

Uruguay's hopes lie with Luis Suarez and Diego Forlan, one striker who has temperament issues and the other who is aging but still has the skills to be a major factor for his club. The talent of Uruguay could land them in the knockout stage, but the inconsistencies could lead to an early departure for one of the top seeds in the tournament.

SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - NOVEMBER 15:  Switzerland team pose during the international friendly match between South Korea and Switzerland at the Seoul World Cup Stadium on November 15, 2013 in Seoul, South Korea.  (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images


Switzerland (FIFA Ranking: 8)

The Swiss were one of the most shocking teams during the qualifying stage and will try to use the World Cup stage to prove that wasn't a fluke. With one of the best defensive backfields in the World Cup, Switzerland use great midfield play from players like Gokhan Inler to limit scoring opportunities for opponents.

If Switzerland can find scoring opportunities of their own, they have a good chance of making it to the knockout stage or even the semifinals. But without any true scoring players outside of Xherdan Shaqiri, the Swiss could very well be another team that sees an early exit.

BRUSSELS, BELGIUM - NOVEMBER 19: Eden Hazard of Belgium runs with the ball during the international friendly match between Belgium and Japan at King Badouin stadium on November 19, 2013 in Brussels, Belgium.  (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Getty Images)
Christof Koepsel/Getty Images


Belgium (FIFA Ranking: 11)

Belgium made a huge splash in the qualifying round, climbing all the way up to fifth in the FIFA rankings. But their inexperience has them sitting at No. 11 now in the world and one of the more questionable top seeds heading into the draw.

With two of the rising stars in the sport in Christian Benteke and Romelu Lukaku, Belgium could end up rolling again through the group stage like they did in the qualifying round. But that youth could catch up to them in Brazil and they could head back home early.


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