While it feels like only yesterday we saw such memorable moments like Siphiwe Tshabalala’s opening goal for South Africa, Landon Donovan’s winner against Algeria and Spain lifting the cup for the first time ever – we’re about to experience the excitement of World Cup soccer all over again. It’s only six months away, and the excitement has built up in every nation sending their team to the biggest sporting stage on earth.
Coming with all the hype and excitement of the 2014 World Cup is the demand for tickets. FIFA received over 6 million requests for tickets, with applications coming in from over 200 countries. There are only 32 countries playing in the tournament, so it goes to show the appeal of the beautiful game on such a big stage. TicketCity has 2014 World Cup tickets on sale now, as well as World Cup packages that include a hotel stay in Rio de Janeiro. Tickets are hard to come by, so don’t wait until the last minute to grab yours as the games/countries you want to see could be all gone by then.
Rio de Janeiro is one of the great cities of the world, and if Russia or Qatar aren’t your cup of tea, this may be your last chance to see the World Cup in person until 2026 at the earliest. Look at the bright side, we’ll all have hovercrafts by then, right?
The groups have been drawn, and now the guessing game begins. Who is in this tournament’s ‘group of death’? Who will be the surprise team, and who will shockingly be eliminated early? Let’s take a look at a few of the more interesting groups.
Group A (Brazil, Mexico, Croatia, Cameroon)
This is Brazil’s group to win, and they’re favored to win the whole thing. Brazil in front of its home crowd is tough to beat, and I don’t think anyone in this group will be able to. Mexico, who snuck into the World Cup, will be looking for wins over Croatia and Cameroon to advance. Croatia is a strong side, led by Bayern Munich’s Mario Mandzukic and Real Madrid’s Luka Modric. The Mexico vs. Croatia game will be one of the more interesting games of the tournament.
Group D (Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy)
The teams in this group have won a combined eight World Cup titles, and this could very well be the most competitive group this time around. Uruguay made it to the semi-finals in 2010, and striker Luis Suarez is ripping apart the Premier League. Italy won the tournament as recently as 2006, and will Mario Balotelli featuring up top, they have every opportunity to keep pace with Uruguay. England is a Jekyll-and-Hyde type team, as they have some great talent but haven’t been able to put together a full tournament recently. Wayne Rooney’s form this summer could play a big role in who advances out of this group. The last time Italy played England was in the semi-finals of the 2012 Euros, where Italy won the game in penalty kicks.
Group G (Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA)
This group is tough. Germany is one of the best teams in the world from top to bottom, and could win the whole thing. They’ll face Portugal to start it off, which will be a tough match up for both countries. Cristiano Ronaldo could take over the game by himself, but the Germany defensive line is strong so it might not be as easy as he’s used to in La Liga. The U.S. will be seeing a familiar foe in Ghana, who has knocked the Americans out of the last two World Cups. There’s a lot of possibilities in this group, and if the U.S. can make its way though, they’re actually set up nicely for a deep run.