Final World Cup Predictions: Brazil to Take Title



Jaime Heilbron

The Favorites

For the first time since 2002, there are two teams that stand above the rest of the World Cup field. In 2002, France and Argentina were the favorites, and both teams failed to meet expectations, suffering premature exits in the first round. This year, it comes as no surprise that the Spanish and Brazilian squads are the favorites.

Spain is currently the top-ranked team in the world and many experts argue that they have the most complete team in the tournament. At Euro 2008 Spain showed that they are now a team capable of winning the big tournaments. Their record of 41 wins, three draws and one loss since 2007 shows that they are one of the world’s premier teams. The recent injury suffered by star forward Fernando Torres might keep him from participating, but Spain has numerous players that can produce.

My personal favorite, however, is Brazil. Brazil has one of the best squads, position-by-position, in the world. They have arguably the best goalkeeper in the world, Julio Cesar. Their historic weakness, defense, has been incredibly solid in recent years, while their midfield and attack are always deadly. History is also on their side, given that no European team has won a World Cup hosted outside of their continent. Brazil is the only country to have won the tournament in every continent on which it has been played. Given the similarities between football fans in the African continent and South America, Brazil should not have a problem getting used to the vuvuzelas, as they showed when they won the Confederations Cup last year.

The Dark Horse

Argentina enters the 2010 tournament in a similar position to Brazil in 2002. They played poorly in qualifiers, and the performance of their stars has come under question. Barcelona’s Lionel Messi, touted as one of the best players on the planet, has yet to do anything remarkable with his national team. A few weeks ago, Manager Diego Maradona lauded Messi as the best footballer in the world, and potentially the best ever. For Messi to even be considered as one of the sport’s legends, he has to win the World Cup with his country. Given that Argentina is flying under the rader, they just might win it in 2010.

What I’m most looking forward to

In recent tournaments, African teams have enjoyed increasing success and have played the perennial powers very closely. This time around, the World Cup will be played on their continent, and there is no better stage for African teams to shine than their own. It would not be too shocking to see an African team reach the semifinals for the

first time.