The 2014 World Cup in Brazil is 18 days away and teams are beginning to prep for the most prestigious event the sport has to offer. The 32 team, 8 group stage tournament will start on June 12th with host Brazil facing off against Croatia. This will be the first WC in South America since 1978 and the first in Brazil since 1950 where team USA had their most celebrated win over England 1-0. All games can be see on the ESPN/ABC networks.

The controversy here state-side has been the omission of Landon Donovan from Team USA’s 23 man roster. Donovan has arguably been the United States best player (ever) and head coach Jurgen Klinsmann decided to go with inexperienced youth over his proven yet aging veteran. Donovan is 32 years old and is not the player he once was. In fact he’s scoreless in his last 1,440 minutes of play. Dude hasn’t scored a goal for his club or country since October. I’m aware of the stat that he has 5 World Cup Goals which is more than Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robin Van Persie combined. I get that he’s one of the most capped players in US history but let’s be honest we aren’t good with him and we probably aren’t going to be good without him.

The United States group consisting of Germany, Portugal and Ghana means the Americans will be sticking around Brazil for approximately three games and then will only be hanging-out as tourists. There is no way in hell we defeat Germany or Portugal. I don’t even think a tie is possible unless they completely dick around or have injuries. One would think that we should beat Ghana but the Ghanaians have owned the United States in the past. In fact the last two World Cups USA has lost and been eliminated by Ghana 2-1.

My Video Screen Shot 5:13:14, 10.40 PM

There definitely is a strained relationship between Klinsmann and Donovan, whether it stems back from their brief encounter at Bayern Munich or it’s related to Landon Donovan’s self imposed “sabbatical” during World Cup Qualifying a few years ago, there is a lack of trust between the two. I have a feeling it was due to Donovan leaving his team high and dry during his time off. He basically quit the team and later returned but Klinsmann stated he would have to earn his way back. They’ve never been on the same page since. For the first time since 2008, Lando will be sitting at home watching the World Cup on television. If he decides to watch at all.

Landon Donovan won’t be the only big name missing the World Cup the following (listed below) are other notable omissions. The two most talked about were Ashley Cole and Samir Nasri. Ashley Cole was left off the England squad in favor of younger left-defensive backs Leighton Baines of Everton and Luke Shaw of Southampton. After hearing the news Cole promptly retired from International competition with 107 caps and he stated his disappointment on Twitter for being left off the squad. It appears Chelsea FC will also be letting him go so not a great summer for him.

While Cole went off into the sunset quietly and amicably, the same cannot be said for the fiery Frenchmen Nasri. It’s not based on talent, it’s not based on his current form but strictly a decision of attitude. Nasri is a hot-head plain and simple. He’ll get worked up at opponents, officials, teammates and coaches. The France manager Didier Deschamps came out and said that his attitude basically sucks when he doesn’t start and when his attitude sucks it impacts both himself and the team. It’s a bold decision to leave off an attacking 26 year old midfielder in fit condition who just helped his team win the English Premier League for the second time in three seasons.

In fact Deschamps is actually suing Nasri’s fiancee (a Victoria Secret model) who tweeted “Fuck France, Fuck Deschamps, What a shit manager”. Yes welcome to France where you can make a frivolous civil lawsuit based on a Twitter rant. And we thought that America was a litigious society.

My Video Screen Shot 5:13:14, 10.17 PM

  • Samir Nasri – France
  • Carlos Tevez – Argentina
  • Ashley Cole – England
  • Gael Clichy – France
  • Francesco Totti – Italy
  • Stephan El Shaarawy – Italy

In the group stage, each team will play everyone in their group once and the top two teams advance. Wins are worth three points, ties are one point and obviously a loss is zero. Tie breakers are initially decided on total points earned then goal differential and if that’s a tie then goals scored in the group. To refresh your memory Spain won the 2010 World Cup over the Netherlands and Italy defeated France in the epic “Zidane Head-butt game” in 2006.

It would be incredibly poetic for Brazil to win their first World Cup since 2002 in their home country and according to a reputable online betting website Brazil are the favorites to win it all. In my predictions of how the group stage will shake out I have included each team’s odds for going all the way. A lot can happen on the journey to the World Cup Finals so let’s just enjoy the group stage first and here are my top 5 matches that I have as “Must See TV”.

  1. Spain vs. Netherlands – June 13
  2. Germany vs. Portugal – June 16
  3. England vs. Italy – June 14
  4. Germany vs. USA – June 26
  5. Brazil vs. Mexico – June 17

Group A

My Video Screen Shot 5:13:14, 9.58 PM

  1. Brazil (3/1)
  2. Mexico (125/1)
  3. Croatia (175/1)
  4. Cameroon (1,000/1)

Group B

My Video Screen Shot 5:13:14, 10.04 PM

  1. Spain (6/1)
  2. Netherlands (25/1)
  3. Chile (50/1)
  4. Australia (1,000/1)

Group C

My Video Screen Shot 5:13:14, 10.06 PM

  1. Colombia (25/1)
  2. Ivory Coast (150/1)
  3. Japan (150/1)
  4. Greece (250/1)

Group D

My Video Screen Shot 5:13:14, 10.14 PM

  1. England (25/1)
  2. Uruguay (28/1)
  3. Italy (25/1)
  4. Costa Rica (1,500/1)

Group E

My Video Screen Shot 5:13:14, 10.20 PM

  1. France (22/1)
  2. Switzerland (125/1)
  3. Ecuador (150/1)
  4. Honduras (2,000/1)

Group F

My Video Screen Shot 5:13:14, 10.25 PM

  1. Argentina (9/2)
  2. Bosnia-Herzegovina (150/1)
  3. Nigeria (200/1)
  4. Iran (2,000/1)

Group G

My Video Screen Shot 5:13:14, 10.29 PM 1

  1. Germany (5/1)
  2. Portugal (28/1)
  3. Ghana (250/1)
  4. United States (125/1)

Group H

My Video Screen Shot 5:13:14, 10.38 PM

  1. Belgium (16/1)
  2. Russia (80/1)
  3. South Korea (500/1)
  4. Algeria (1,500/1)