Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Who will win 2014 FIFA World Cup?

The world's most popular sporting extravaganza is all set to kick off in Brazil. The opening match is between Brazil and Croatia tomorrow night (at 1.30 am Friday in India) at Arena Corinthians, Sao Paulo. Thanks to the time difference, it will be hard to follow all the matches live: they are at 9.30 pm, 12.30 am at 3.30 am. Sadly, some of the good matches are at 3.30 am.

A graffiti depicting human hands holding the earth
with the Brazilian flag in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
(Photo credit: AP/Thanassis Stavrakis)
It will now be a full month of fun. As 32 nations in 8 groups vie for the most coveted trophy in football, all the talk will be about who is playing whom, who will score, the deadly saves and strikes, who will top the table, and finally who will take the trophy home.

The hosts, Brazil is the only nation to have played in all the editions of the prestigious tournament. They have also won the cup a record five times -- in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002. They are always in the reckoning, more so now, to strike the jackpot. Spain comes as defending champions, but not much hopes are riding on them.

Though on paper Germany looks good to triumph, I have a gut feeling that it'll be a Latin American party. Though there were a lot of protests and strikes in Brazil, the country will finally rally behind their team on home ground, and backed by a good lineup, I think the holders of Confederations Cup will go on to lift the Fifa Cup too. From Latin America, expect a good fight from Argentina. If I have to look at Europe, my feeling is, it will be Germany, and the surprise will come from France.

Anyway, let's see how it plays out. Lots of time to discuss and debate.

Easy search on Google

By the way, Google -- as always -- has made it very easy for us to keep track of the fun.

Type or say "2014 Fifa World Cup", under the head "Matches", you get to see who is playing against whom and when. In the tab "Groups", you see the points table arranged group-wise.

Google Search result page for FIFA World Cup.
Under the tab "Matches", if you click on a match, you have details like Timeline, Match Stats and Lineup. When you click on a team, you can see more details about the team and the other matches the team will play, besides the current standing of the team in the group.

If you click on "match preview", you are taken to the Fifa site, where you have a slew of information.

Who, you think, will win the cup?