The 2014 World Cup is just days away, that being the case it’s only right that we (MMOS) take a look at the impending action. We’re going to go through each group, providing some information on each and every team.
Belgium – They look great on paper, boasting a bevy of stars from some of the best clubs in Europe. Unfortunately, it hasn’t resulted in one tournament win. They have made 11 appearances, the best result was finishing fourth in 1986. Causing the nation’s fans to ask, what have you done for me lately? It’s high time that Belgium made something happen with all of this talent, but will they? It starts with getting out of the group stage.
Algeria – Sadly, they have never made it out of the group stage. Algeria breezed through qualifying except for a slight misstep against Burkina Faso, their ticket for Brazil was punched thanks to the aggregate score. If they wish to get into the second round, striker Islam Slimani must convert a high percentage of his opportunities. Algeria has a great balance in midfield between Sofiane Feghouli and Medhi Lacen, Feghouli is a dynamic attacker while Lacen keeps the shape of the formation and assists the defense.
Russia – The Russians have been absent from the World Cup since 2002, they failed to qualify for both the 2006 & 2010 tournaments. To qualify, Russia had to face Portugal early on. They surprised everyone by beating them 1-0, the won their next few games before stumbling briefly. Russia quickly righted the ship and earned their invite. Star midfielder Roman Shirokov has been ruled out of the tournament, he injured a ligament in his right knee during club play. He was expected to rehab and make it back for the World Cup, rehab didn’t go as well as planned and Pavel Mogilevets will be taking his place. Russia is built on defense, they have a good keeper and a strong back line. The onus will be on the midfield as everyone will be watching to see how they deal with the absence of Shirokov. Keep an eye on striker Alexander Kerzhakov, he’s not a starter but he’s produced like one during the qualifying run. Netting five goals, none more important than the deciding goal in the win over Portugal.
Korea Republic – Their qualifying process was difficult due to their ever changing lineup, they needed help to clinch their tournament birth. It came courtesy of a Uzbekistan win. This is the eight consecutive tournament appearance for the Korea Republic. With their lineup just recently settling, their first game will be a great chance to see if they’ve found what works for them. If not, they might be heading home earlier than expected.