With the start of the World Cup less than three weeks away we take a look at the credentials of two of the favorites in Brazil. The 2014 Brazilian World Cup is the the second time the five-time world champions have hosted the competition. The previous Brazilian World Cup was hosted in 1950, when the hosts finished runners up to another South American team, Uruguay.
Throughout the history of the World Cup the hosts have won the competition six times. The inaugural competition was won by Uruguay in 1930, four years later Italy was crowned world champions.
It wasn’t until 1966 when England lifted the trophy that another host nation won the cup. In the 1970’s the World Cup was won by the West Germans in 1974 and Argentina in 1978. After Argentina’s victory in the seventies another host nation didn’t win the trophy until France’s victory in 1998.
Brazil will be looking to replicate those six teams achievements by winning the World Cup for a seventh time on their home soil of Rio de Janeiro.
The combination of a World Cup and a World cup held in Brazil has made this tournament one of the most popular in a generation. Demand to see the finest teams compete in one of the planets most beautiful countries is bound to be unprecedented. Discerning fans will be looking to grab tickets to the finale , and see the ultimate game live.
The Brazilian strengths are numerous. A team of technically sound, often tricky, stylish players always gets spectators bums on the edge of seats. Exciting attacking players like Neymar, Oscar and Hulk will always strike fear in the opponent.
A team that always attacks and looks to play football the “right way” by playing fast, attacking football. With their manager Luiz Felipe Scolari at the helm, they have a manager who has been there and got the T-shirt, after lifting the trophy in the 2002 competition.
“Big Phil” (Filipão) knows what is required to win the World Cup and gives the home side a huge advantage. He also knows how to motivate its attacking talent.
However Brazil’s attacking power also comes at a price. Not renowned for their defensive stability this is a problem they will face again this summer. While Brazil teams of old would play the “you score one, we’ll score two” philosophy, that mantra is more difficult to maintain in modern football.
With the rise of possession based football or, “tiki taka” teams are often keeping the ball away from their opponents, reducing their goal scoring opportunities, as well as tiring them out as they chase shadows around the pitch.
Tiki taka was made famous by Spanish team Barcelona as well Spain’s national team, propelling the two teams to domestic and international success. Spain have won the previous World Cup as well as the two previous European championships.
Historically European teams have struggled in international competitions when not on their home continent. The change in weather and humidity as well as the culture shock and jet lag have contributed to a poor showing for European teams over the competition’s eighty four year history.
However in 2010 World Cup in South Africa, an European team finally beat that curse as Spain won the competition against another European team, Netherlands. The reigning world champions will want to continue this new tradition by winning the cup for a second time in a row in Brazil.
Spain’s main strength is their style of play. It is a style of play that has defined a generation of success for them, and is still a style that many teams struggle to nullify.
Spain will be hoping that it remains successful this summer and the Barcelona trio of Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets can tiki taka them to the cup.
While their style of play is based around the team, Spain’s real weakness comes from a lack of individual talent that can win a game single handedly.
While their system is working at its best, individual brilliance is not needed, but when a team manages to disrupt them, they don’t have the type of player who can change the game on his own. Spain will be hoping Brazilian born Diego Costa will change that and give them a player that has the potential to win a game on his own.
Almost two complete opposite styles of play, one of attacking strength and taking chances, the other a more methodical, patient approach which doesn’t offer the same swashbuckling play as the other.
Which philosophy do you think will succeed in Rio?
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