#1 moved to 14-2 on clay this season von miaowang123 13.03.2019 06:39

The 2014 FIFA World Cup draw took place in Brazil on Friday, as the 32 qualified teams were drawn into eight groups of four. Some quick thoughts on what it means for the tournament next summer: 1. Brazil were favourites going into the draw - and they still are As host nation, Brazil did not need to qualify for the World Cup. That is sometimes regarded as a disadvantage, as the host nation does not play any competitive games leading up to the tournament, and instead relies on a series of friendly games for their preparation. I dont believe that this will affect Brazil one bit. They have been impressive in 2013, winning their last six exhibition games by a cumulative score of 20-2. They comprehensively won the Confederations Cup in the summer, defeating reigning world and European champions, Spain 3-0 in the final. In total, Brazil lost just two of their 19 games played in 2013; a 2-1 loss to England to start the year, and a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Switzerland in August. They have a wealth of talent to choose from, with players like Ramires, Oscar, Paulinho, Thiago Silva and Hulk all likely to be relied upon. But the player that everyone is looking at to steal the show in Brazil next summer is Neymar, the 21-year old superstar who was voted the best player at this years Confederations Cup. Next summers World Cup could be his tournament to decide. 2. South American teams will dominate This is the fifth time the World Cup will be played in South America. The previous four tournaments have all been won by South American nations. Uruguay lifted the first World Cup in 1930, then again in 1950; Brazil claimed victory in 1962, and Argentina took home the trophy in 1978. There is plenty of evidence to support the idea that this trend will continue. The qualification process in CONMEBOL is an arduous one; 16 games played over a two-year period ensures that only the best teams reach the finals. The experience gained by those nations - getting used to the climate, conditions, travel and logistics - is invaluable, not to mention the competitiveness of the qualifying games themselves. Do not underestimate the effects of the weather conditions and travel distances, either. It will be very hot and humid in some of the Brazilian venues, something that the northern European countries do not prefer. The midday kickoff times for many games will simply add to their discomfort. And the travel between venues as teams progress in the tournament just adds another obstacle for teams to overcome. 3. England is not a legitimate contender This might seem like common sense to anyone who follows the world game, but it is worth repeating every four years. England will not win the World Cup - and they wont even come close. Regardless of the players selected and regardless of the form of the team heading into the tournament, there is always an unrealistic expectation from England fans that this could be the year that England will claim its first World Cup victory since 1966. Well, it isnt going to happen. In fact, England will do well to get out of their group. Drawn in Group D with Uruguay, Costa Rica and Italy, it is not an unreasonable scenario to see England going home after the group stage. Uruguay boast two of the best strikers in the world in Luis Suarez and Edinson Cavani, and despite having to qualify through the playoffs, they will be favourites to win the group. Italy will be a difficult opponent for England, who lack the individual creativity to break down the Italians traditional strong defensive unit. In Mario Balotelli and Giuseppe Rossi, the Italians have offensive talents that will be difficult for England to contain, so I make the Italians favourites to pip England and reach the knockout stage. 4. Group of Death is a tired cliché Every four years, fans and pundits alike revel in discussing which is the Group of Death, the most difficult from which to reach the knockout stage. Do we really need to do this? Every group is difficult. Every team has its own unique strengths and weaknesses. Even minnows like Iran and Algeria will not simply roll over and accept defeat at the hands of their more illustrious opponents (remember New Zealand in 2010?) The coaching staff of each team, regardless of their relative strengths or weaknesses, will meticulously prepare their teams to ensure that they are capable of achieving their objective in each game. That being said, there are some interesting matchups. Many people were quick to point out the strength of Group G, with Germany, Portugal, Ghana and the United States, but for me, Group B is far more interesting. Defending world and European champions Spain are the seeded team, with the Netherlands, Chile and Australia rounding out the group. Do not be surprised to see Chile finish ahead of the Netherlands. Alexis Sanchez is a fabulous attacking talent, and Arturo Vidal is one of the most complete box-to-box midfielders in the world. The Chile vs Netherlands game will decide which of the two nations accompanies Spain into the knockout stage. 5. Winners and losers There are always teams that come out of the draw with a figurative smile on their face, while others are left to curse their bad luck. Here are the winners: Brazil - Group A shouldnt pose a problem for the favourites, and they will cruise through in first place. Argentina - The seeded team in Group F will face Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iran and Nigeria. Again, expect comfortable passage to the knockout phase. Belgium - Many people see Belgium as a dark horse in the World Cup, and given that they face Algeria, Russia and Korea Republic, theyve been given a fairly gentle introduction in the group stage. Here are the losers: Australia - It couldnt get much worse for the Aussies, who face defending champs Spain, the always difficult Dutch and the attacking flair of Chile in Group B. It will be three and out for Australia. England - While England should get the better of Costa Rica, they have two extremely difficult games against Uruguay and Italy - not to mention the weight of expectation that is always heaped on their shoulders. If England are to make it to the knockout phase, they will have to perform above their capabilities. United States - Three very different opponents in Group G; the efficient Germans, the powerful Ghanaians, and the brilliance of arguably the worlds best player, Cristiano Ronaldo and his Portuguese team. It is hard to envision Jürgen Klinsmann leading the U.S. into the knockout stage. Thomas Welsh Jersey . -- Navy football player Will McKamey, who has been hospitalized since collapsing at practice three days ago, has died while in a coma. Cheap Denver Nuggets Jerseys .com) - St. Louis Blues right wing Vladimir Tarasenko, Detroit Red Wings center Pavel Datsyuk and Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury have been selected as the NHLs top players for last week. http://www.cheapnuggetsjerseys.com/?tag=cheap-paul-millsap-jersey . "First, I would like to offer my deepest and sincerest apologies for any harm I have inflicted on University of Missouri defensive lineman, Michael Sam," the statement read. Carmelo Anthony Jersey . The Detroit Tigers star had microfracture surgery Friday to repair the medial and lateral meniscus in his left knee. "I dont want to say it was a surprise," team president and general manager Dave Dombrowski said. Devin Harris Jersey . Thats when the eight-time champion revealed that a painful back is slowing his serves -- and, all in all, giving him more trouble than his opponents so far.NAPLES, Italy -- Italy won both singles matches against Britain in straight sets on Sunday to reach the Davis Cup semifinals for the first time in 16 years. Fabio Fognini pulled off a surprise 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 victory over two-time Grand Slam champion Andy Murray to level the best-of-five quarterfinal at 2-2 before Andreas Seppi defeated James Ward 6-4, 6-3, 6-4 in the decisive match. "A great feat, a great success for all Italian tennis," Italy captain Corrado Barazzutti said. "It was time we got back to the semifinals. Its credit to everyone, to a team which has a great character. It was a victory of character." Britain was looking to reach the semifinals for the first time since 1981 but Fognini was in commanding form to end Murrays run of 19 consecutive singles victories in the competition. Seppi rarely struggled against a player ranked 127 places below him and comfortably served out for the match. Italy will play Switzerland in Septembers semifinal. "Today I just played better than Andy and thats tennis," Fognini said. "I was annoyed yesterday after the doubles. This was a very important victory, its certainly my best match in Davis Cup. I just stayed focused on my game and I managed to win." Fognini triumphed in the match between the countries top players, despite dropping his serve in the first game. The 13th-ranked Fognini managed to save two break points but double-faulted to hand Murray the opening game. Fognini had the opportunity to break straight back but hit long and then netted on another break point as Murray went on to take a 2-0 lead. In a typically lively Davis Cup atmosphere, British fans chanted "Fabio, we are in your head," but he was cheered on by the vvociferous home support.dddddddddddd Fognini broke Murray to love and earned another break when Murray double-faulted as he won five straight games to take the opening set. Murray almost dropped serve again early in the second set as he had to fend off two break points after being 40-0 up. However, Fognini broke twice at the end of the set following another double-fault from Murray on the first of two break points. The final set went with serve until the final game, when Fognini went up 40-0 on Murrays serve. Murray saved one match point when Fognini netted a forehand, and rescued the second with a crosscourt volley but hit the third into the net. It was Murrays second defeat in 20 singles matches in the Davis Cup. Fognini moved to 14-2 on clay this season. "He played very well today, thats for sure," Murray said. "Hes a very good player especially on this surface, so I knew it was going to be a tough one and I wasnt able to play well enough. I did OK physically, not the best, but Ive been worse." Italy had not lost at home to Britain since 1926, and Seppi protected that record by winning a match that saw seven breaks of serve in the opening set. Seppi was gifted the set after three successive errors from Ward and he held to love to take the opening game of the second. Ward missed a chance to get back into the match in the fifth game and Seppi took a decisive 4-2 lead when Ward volleyed into the net after saving three previous break points. Seppi held to love with a drop shot for a 2-0 lead in the match. Ward had to save another three break points in the first game of the third but Seppi won four games in a row en route to the victory. He sealed the win when Wards return sailed long. ' ' '

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