As a boy raised in France, I grew up playing soccer at lunch breaks until high school and watched games with my father on a regular basis. I used to turn my collar up just so I could look like The (other) King.
Since I live in the USA, I don’t follow as closely as I used to but still enjoy great action replays when I can find some. One constant for Americans is that they tend to make following sports interesting with fantasy games and all kind of bets. For this world cup my colleagues created a system where you were awarded points to predict the correct game result and group finish. I thought I had an edge in this due to my above average knowledge but I discovered that knowing to much can be a burden as well. I had predicted that Spain would lose to the Netherlands but I could never imagine them losing 1-5 thing that some had no issue to be Willy-Nilly. I ended up above average in the end but not enough to win anything (details are available on my tumblr),
The funny thing is that in the first draft I had Germany finishing second of their group behind Portugal and I ended up with a finale Brazil – Argentina with Argentina winning and Belgium finishing 3rd over Italy.
It didn’t really work out in the end because the group phase had some interesting upsets. I then decided to redo my bracket for the knockout phase and as you can see I’m current 14 for 14 in predicting the winners.I had Germany beating Brazil before Neymar and Silva were out, but I would never have guessed such a lopsided game. My dilemma now is to know if I should change my predictions for the last 2 games.
Let’s start with the game for the 3rd place:
I currently have Brazil beating Netherlands but I’m not really sure how they will react after their Germany beating. Brazil was in it to win it and anything else is going to be a disappointment. Will they be able to regroup and redeem themselves? Who will step up to replace Neymar’s contribution to the offense (4 goals / 1 assist). The Oranje fell very close to a consecutive finale after the one of 2010 versus Spain. I like their speed and offense but I bet on Brazil redemption and its people pushing to salvage what can be.
Then for the finale:
I think I have a bias towards Argentina as I always pick them up to win. I like the fact that they tend to play with 3 very offensive players. I like Messi and think it could finally be his year, but I like Angel Di Maria even more. If he can come back from his injury, Messi will be more free and Argentina’s chance will be better. I also have a bias towards Germany as I remember them being very defensive in the past and not necessarily linked to beautiful play but more effective plays. After Brazil thrashing, I believe that a lot of people will see Germany as the de facto favorite. It may be the hipster in me, but I will keep my confidence in Argentina and hope for Di Maria’s return.
And you, who do you think will win? Did you follow the world cup? Did you like it? Share in the comments below.
By Sebastien Grobelny