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Brazil Hulk Smash; Preview of World Cup's Group A

Taken from bbcimg.co.uk

Preview:

There are some things that are absolutely certain in life, and for the next few weeks it's Brazil sweeping it's group. Cameroon is a nation that fails to be a threat at the World Cup tournament, only doing well against other African nations. Mexico, a team that got off to a hot start under new head coach Miguel Herrera, has begun to falter recently after the loss of Luis Montes to a broken tibia and broken fibula. Lastly, Croatia had one good outing at the infamous tournament, coming third in 1998, but hasn't made it past the group stages since. However, Croatia boasts an incredibly powerful roster consisting of Mario Mandzukic, Ivan Rakitic and Luka Modric. 

Key Points:

Brazil - Brazil will have all of their hope in the palms of Neymar's hands. If he does well, the team will go far. However, if he fails to capitalize on important chances then Brazil will not be winning the cup this year. Their defense will have to remain adamant in order to give their aging trio of keepers some rest with the likes of Mandzukic (Croatia), Eto'o (Cameroon), and Hernandez (Mexico) presenting a danger in the box. Overall, their young and energetic team, besides the keepers, will be very intriguing to watch and their games will provide plenty of entertainment. 

Cameroon - This nation boasts a decent team, if they played a few years ago. Eto'o is still dangerous but he is past his prime. However, the team will still rely on him for goal production and will rely on Alex Song to provide quality passes, setting up the Eto'o or possibly Webo. There seems to also be no stability at the head coaching position, with 11 different managers in the past decade. Cameroon will not go far in this tournament.

Croatia - This team isn't built to repeat 1998 and finish 3rd in the tournament, but it is definitely capable of advancing to the knockout stage. The team will rely on their fantastic midfield setup including Ivan Rakitic, Luka Modric, Ognjen Vukojevic and youngster Mateo Kovacic. Lining up in front will possibly be Mario Mandzukic and Eduardo, whom together have 112 caps and 42 goals. Croatia will advance through to the knockout stages if everyone stays healthy.

Mexico - Last but not least is the hasty Mexicans. They have never failed to advance to the round of 16 in the past 28 years (excluding 1990 when they were banned). It's remarkable, but I'm afraid with the injury dealt to one of their star players Luis Montes... their streak will come to an end. Unless Javier Hernandez has an outstanding performance in each game and Dos Santos finds his scoring touch, Mexico will be outperformed by Croatia and Brazil by a fair amount.

Matches & Predictions:

Matchup  Date  Time (-4:00) EST  Prediction 
 Brazil vs. Croatia  Thursday, 12 June 4:00 pm  2 - 1
 Mexico vs. Cameroon  Friday, 13 June 12:00 pm  1 - 1
 Brazil vs. Mexico  Tuesday, 17 June 3:00 pm   3 - 1
 Cameroon vs. Croatia  Wednesday, 18 June 6:00 pm  1 - 3
 Cameroon vs. Brazil  Monday, 23 June 4:00 pm  0 - 3
 Croatia vs. Mexico  Monday, 23 June 4:00 pm  2 - 2

Final Table Prediction:

Team  GP  GF GA  GD  PTS 
 Brazil
 Croatia
 Mexico -2 
 Cameroon 7 -5  1
By Alec Kleyer

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