With the last qualifying round now over, football fans all over the world can look ahead with excitement to the Brazil 2014 FIFA World Cup knowing exactly which 32 national teams they will be watching next summer. Although expectations may be minimal for the Three Lions it is safe to say there wont be a drought of talent come June, so Van Mildert have had an early look at who we can expect to flourish at Brazil 2014.
An obvious early favourite has to be Brazil as the side look to earn a sixth title on home turf. After a convincing win over Spain in the Confederations Cup and with emerging superstars such as Neymar, Hulk and Oscar at their disposal, many would put money on this team continuing their run as the most successful team in World Cup history. Spain, however, may have some making up to do after a disappointing (by their standards) run of qualifiers and friendlies which included a 1 - 0 defeat to South Africa. Everybody knows the brilliance of a Spain side on a good day though, so there's no writing off the current World and European champions just yet.
As no European team has ever won a World Cup on South American soil it would be silly of us to overlook the national teams which could be on the receiving end of some home advantage. Currently ranked fourth in the world, Colombia are playing exciting, dynamic and creative football with the added threat of star forward, Radamel Falcao (above), which is sure to scare defences come the summer. Uruguay, the final team to qualify for the 2014 tournament, are also a threat in attack with Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani leading the way, but with an often-questionable defence, La Celeste will have some serious work on their hands if they are to be the next champions. Wildcards, Chile, should also be on your radar after an impressive win over England. Their high-pressure, energetic play makes them very watchable and star forward Alexis Sanchez will undoubtedly be a source of sleepless nights for goalkeepers.
The current dominant force of European football, Germany, should definitely not be forgotten. The side just keep on getting better and better and boast some seriously impressive attacking options in the form of Lukas Podolski, Mesut Özil, Thomas Müller, Mario Götze, Toni Kroos and Merco Reus. After a string of final and semi-final appearances in their most recent competitions it is surely only a matter of time before the Germans clinch a trophy. Finally, Belgium have been intriguing many football fans with their fresh new generation of talent such as Eden Hazard, Christian Benteke, Romelu Lukaku and Marouane Fellaini. Admittedly unlikely to come out as champions, the Belgian team will surely bless us with some exciting football when the tournament begins.
And there you have it, although the World Cup may be over half a year away there is no harm in getting excited about the prospect of seeing some top-class games from some of the best teams in the world. These have been our early predictions on who to look out for, but opinions are certain to fluctuate in the coming months, we are football fans after all.