Make your own predictions at the Telegraph’s website here.
My prediction (I hope my Mexican and American biases don’t hurt too much)
Group A: Brazil, Mexico
Group B: Spain, Netherlands
Group C: Colombia, Japan
Group D: Uruguay, Italy
Group E: France, Ecuador
Group F: Argentina, Nigeria
Group G: Germany, USA
Group H: Belgium, Russia
I had to edit the image because of what seems to be some kind of program bug.
If any European team can win in South America, it’s Germany. Brazil has a good defense but they don’t have that magic from previous tournaments. Argentina has the strongest offense, but it’s defense seems to be too much of a burden. Spain is a great team but Barcelona’s poor performance will probably strongly affect the national team, in addition to Diego Costa’s injury and Casilla’s few minutes of play this season. Germany is a well balanced team at the front and at the back, and its midfield has become such a dominating force in large part thanks to Guardiola’s possessive-style Bayern Munich.
Belgium and Colombia will probably have the best world cups in their history.
Portugal depends to much on Ronaldo to make it far into the final stages, giving USA a chance to advance further than it otherwise would. Traditional powerhouses such as France and Netherlands will be eliminated for not being at the level of their top rivals. England will also fail to make much progress for the same reason (although at the group level).