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June 14, 2014

FUTBLOG! World Cup group-by-group preview/analysis both serious (For Real) and Cote-fied (For Fun)

1) It is SATURDAY, JUNE 14. Join us on Twitter @gregcote. Also Vine and Instagram.

FUTBLOG!

FUTBLOG! is the official World Cup post of this blog, offering continually updated daily news/summaries/miscellanea on the month-long soccer quadrennial in Brazil.

1aa1abrazilwcGROUP-BY-GROUP WORLD CUP PREVIEW, FOR REAL AND FOR FUN: Welcome to FUTBLOG!, the official World Cup blog of me. I'll have daily updates and commentary here throughout the month-long extravaganza, because Miami loves soccer and I love soccer and there is nothing else like the World Cup. We start today with a preview of all eight four-team groups, from which two in each will advance to the round of 16. We offer both a serious perspective (For Real) and my own addled view (For Fun). Let's go!

GROUP A -- BRAZIL, CAMEROON, CROATIA, MEXICO

For Real: Betting odds against winning title, via Bovada--Brazil 3-1; Mexico 125-1; Croatia 150-1; Cameroon 500-1. Top 50 players in this WC, via ESPN--Brazil 5 (led by Neymar, 6th); Croatia 1 (Luka Modric, 32nd); Cameroon 1 (Samuel Eto'o, 48th). Past champions--Brazil 5, most recent 2002. Summary--The mighty Canarinho of Brazil should waltz samba through a relatively easy group on their home turf.

1aa1abrazilFor Fun: The pressure on Brazil is enormous. I don't mean to just win the World Cup. I mean to complete all its stadiums, not have any subway strikes and generally not be a disasterous, disorganized host. Then again, nothing fazes Brazilians. Nobody parties like Brazilians. The same is rarely said, for some reason, of Croatians.

GROUP B -- AUSTRALIA, CHILE, NETHERLANDS, SPAIN

For Real: Odds--Spain 6-1; Netherlands 25-1; Chile 40-1; Australia 500-1. Top 50 players--Spain 8 (led by Andres Iniesta, 3rd); Netherlands 2 (led by Argen Robben, 9th); Chile 2 (led by Arturo Vidal, 17th). Past champions--Spain 1, 2010. Summary--Favor Spain's defending champion La Furia Roja, although Netherlands, a three-time WC runnerup, could surprise.

1aa1acorvdhartFor Fun: Spain should reign, but I root for Netherlands (it's still Holland to me) in the memory of the late Fort Lauderdale Strikers coach Cor van der Hart, who'd chain-smoke during games. Australia is waiting for a rugby game to break out.

GROUP C -- COLOMBIA, GREECE, IVORY COAST, JAPAN

For Real: Odds--Colombia 33-1; Ivory Coast 125-1; Japan 150-1; Greece 200-1. Top 50 players--Ivory Coast 2 (led by Yaya Toure, 7th); Colombia 1 (Radamel Falcoa, 19th, but out injured). Past champions--None. Summary--Colombia's Los Cafeteros top a weak group without much pedigree, but Falcoa's injury opens door for a surprise by Ivory Coast.

1aa1acoteFor Fun: Forget "Ivory Coast." It's Cote d'Ivoire, dammit, the Official Team of Greg Cote Other Than the United States. Greg Cote d'Ivoire. If fans of that team chant, "Let's go Cote!" that'd be something I'd pay to hear. I'd say something about Colombia here but it might involve the phrase "drug cartel" so I'd better not.   

GROUP D -- COSTA RICA, ENGLAND, ITALY, URUGUAY

For Real: Odds--England 22-1; Italy 22-1; Uruguay 25-1; Costa Rica 1000-1. Top 50 players--Italy 4 (led by Andrea Pirlo, 15th); England 3 (led by Wayne Rooney, 14th); Uruguay 2 (led by Luis Suarez, 4th). Past champions--Italy 4, most recent 2006; Uruguay 2, most recent 1950; England 1, 1966. Summary--Give slight edge to Italy in what could be most hotly contested group among all but Costa Rica.

1aa1aadeleFor Fun: The big question in this group is whether Wayne Rooney's hair transplants will create an aerodynamic drag that will slow him down. Brits long for their first World Cup triumph in nearly a half-century and have a pretty good shot, according to their coach, Adele. 

GROUP E -- ECUADOR, FRANCE, HONDURAS, SWITZERLAND

For Real: Odds--France 22-1; Switzerland 125-1; Ecuador 150-1; Honduras 1500-1. Top 50 players--France 3 (led by Franck Ribery, 5th, but out injured). Past champions--France 1, 1998. Summary--Les Bleus of France still are the class here, although Ribery's injury levels the field somewhat. 

1aa1azinedineFor Fun: The group would be much more exciting if France still had Zinedine Zidane around to head-butt people. Not much shot at dethroning the French here, especially with Switzerland a famously neutral country whose team plays only for ties in order to not offend anyone or incite international conflict.  

GROUP F -- ARGENTINA, BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA, IRAN, NIGERIA

For Real: Odds--Argentina 4-1; Bosnia & Herzegovina 150-1; Nigeria 250-1; Iran 1500-1. Top 50 players--Argentina 4 (led by Lionel Messi, 1st). Past champions--Argentina 2, most recent 1986. Summary--La Albiceleste of Argentina will coast through this easy group and are my pick to win it all.

1aa1airanFor Fun: It's all Argentina in this group. Bosnia & Herzegovina is in its first World Cup; actually both of them are. Iran is a longshot because experts expect their players to be distracted as they split time between soccer and attempting to covertly develop nuclear weapons.

GROUP G -- GHANA, GERMANY, PORTUGAL, UNITED STATES

For Real: Odds--Germany 11-2; Portugal 25-1; USA 100-1; Ghana 200-1. Top 50 players--Germany 8 (led by Bastian Schweinsteiger, 16th); Portugal 1 (Cristiano Ronaldo, 2nd). Past champions--Germany 3, most recent 1990. Summary--Group of Death? Sure must seem like it to Team USA, with Germany among favorites to win it all, Portugal led by maybe the world's best player, and Ghana the nemisis that has eliminated Americans from past two WCs. 

1aa1ausachantFor Fun: I have nothing against those other three countries, except for the irrational xenophobic hatred I'll cultivate over the next next month. United States coach Jurgen Klinsmann stupidly said in an interview the U.S. could not win this World Cup. Stupid not because it isn't true, but because it casts a wet blanket just when Americans are trying to get excited. Figures. He's a German. Luckily, though, we naturally optimistic, don't-like-our-parade-rained-on Americans could not hear him because we were too busy all chanting, "U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!"

GROUP H -- ALGERIA, BELGIUM, RUSSIA, SOUTH KOREA

For Real: Odds--Belgium 18-1; Russia 100-1; South Korea 300-1; Algeria 1000-1. Top 50 players--Belgium 3 (led by Eden Hazzard, 10th). Past champions--None. Summary--A very easy grouping for Diables Rouges of Belgium should make it an easy advance to round of 16. 

1aa1aduvelFor Fun: The Belgians could only be a bigger favorite in this group if the competition were waffles, chocolate or ales such as my personal favorite, Duvel. Also of note, Algeria is the largest country in Africa, I root against Russia in honor of Pussy Riot, and South Korea should carry around a sign that reads, 'We're The Good Korea, Not The One Dennis Rodman Visits'.

Click back often. We'll be updating our FUTBLOG! post throughout the World Cup.

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I'm rooting for Russia because Cote thinks that his little protest actually means something.

Big Baby you're a Bigoted Piece of Shit.

Those trashy girls should have stayed out of that church. Dumb.

world cup?...zzzzzzzzzzzz..hehe, just kidding there, actually I DO watch the world cup..how can you not?..best teams in the world in the biggest stage.

Go USA!!!

the Heat are in a must win situation tonight after that sorry ass showing they had...Wade is in a funk and Chalmers is the worst PG in the NBA..we are getting nothing from our back court..you can't win like that.


Wake me up!

WOW- a real futbol blog!!!!

will still post on them main thread, but the dutch had five incredible goals against spain. they have the best front line at the mundial, but still a bit shaky about their midfield and defense. but what an amazing bunch of goals for holland.

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