England manager Roy Hodgson thinks that the African teams have a chance of winning the World Cup 2014 largely because of the climate. Africa has not had a World Cup winner in its history, but the African teams have steadily been growing in stature. Nigeria, Ivory Coast, and Cameroon come into the World Cup has teams that can win the competition. Even though European teams and Brazil still remain the favourite to win the competition, Hodgson thinks that the African teams cannot not be ruled out.
England are definitely not one of the favourites to win this competition. They have been provisionally booked in Rio de Janeiro. Due to the vast size of the continent, it is expected that location will be an important factor towards doing well. The south of Brazil is cold during June, while the north of Brazil is hot and is more like a tropical climate. If African teams get a group that makes them stay in the north of Brazil, then they could get a huge advantage according to Hodgson.
“I think (African nations) may have a stronger chance than any of the European teams to be perfectly honest because of the climate. There are many African players out there of excellent quality now. They play in the top European leagues and that makes the African nations very strong. Nigeria have traditionally been one of the strongest, with some famous names in their team. Whoever is at the game on Monday night will see two very good teams and it will be an exciting outcome,” said Hodgson after his team qualified automatically.
This is because the climate in North of Brazil is very similar to the climate of most African countries. Nigeria come into the tournament after having only recently lifted African cup of nations title.
Robbie Keane is one of the seasoned internationals for the Republic of Ireland, but he has come out in criticism of the style of play of the Irish ahead of the World Cup qualifying matches. The former Tottenham and Aston Villa striker has said that Ireland do not have a plan B under manager Giovanni Trapattoni, who is widely believed to be in the last few months as the Ireland manager. His contract is coming to an end soon, but there has been no talk of a new deal from the Irish FA.
The likes of Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane have been linked with the role in the last few weeks, and the latest comments by Keane does not help Trapattoni’s case. Ireland almost certain to be knocked out of the World Cup qualifying after suffering a 2-1 defeat against Sweden. They will be taking on Austria on Tuesday in a match that could see him win his 129th cap for the national team. Even though Ireland managed to take the lead against Sweden, they were unable to adapt to the match as Sweden came back into the encounter.
Trapattoni’s tactics have been highly criticised after the match, while Keane has said that the team does not have a plan B.
“We talk about Plan A and Plan B and crap like that, but Ireland has never had a Plan B before. We have always had Plan A, it’s as simple as that. Since I have been in the squad, we have played the exact same way. We don’t have the personnel to, like Spain, get the ball down and have 80 per cent possession against teams. We are just not that team. But we know our strengths and we stick to them. Unless it changes, maybe from grass-roots – but it’s not going to change for, certainly, a good few years,” said Keane.
There has been a lot of doubt about a Brazil’s ability to deliver World Cup stadiums at the time of the event and the latest comment from the Brazilian sports minister has done nothing to quell the speculation. A number of stadiums have been upgraded in order to meet the norms of FIFA, which is responsible for holding the World Cup. However, Brazil have delayed the construction work so much that the country will find it very difficult to cope with the huge number of tourists arriving for this major tournament. Due to the delay in construction work for the stadium starting itself, the country has been unable to upgrade the transportation infrastructure.
This led to widespread protests against the government during the Confederations cup. There was also the danger of this tournament being cancelled midway because of these protests. Brazil’s sports Minister Aldo Rebelo has said that the construction work should be accelerated if the stadiums are to be completed by the start of the tournament. Brazil was able to host the Confederations cup a little easy because of the stadiums that were already present and closing completion. One of the main stadiums for the World Cup at São Paulo is close to 80% completion.
“This must be seen as a warning. We cannot keep on the same rhythm, or we will not deliver them on time. It is possible to intensify. We are able to meet the deadlines, but it should be noted that it will require us to speed up the construction. There will be no budget increase, because, for example, instead of paying 10 workers during two months, you can pay 20 to work for 30 days,” said Rebelo. The announcement that no extra funding will be coming from the government could be a major blow in itself.
The coming club season will be extremely important for several players on the cusp of making it into the international team. The summer of 2014 will see the biggest football tournament in the world – FIFA World Cup – held in Brazil. Manchester City defender Micah Richards was spoken one of the next big things from England, but the defender has struggled to make an impression at the international level. However, he is hoping that 2014 will prove to be his year and he can make it into the England squad for the World Cup ahead of competition that includes the likes of Kyle Walker and Glen Johnson.
Richards was once linked with a £ 20 million move to Chelsea, but the impressive form of Argentine defender Pablo Zabaleta has made it extremely difficult for him to get game time at City. Since making his international appearance in 2006, Richards has made 13 appearances for the England national team. He has been overlooked by former manager Fabio Capello, while the situation has not improved in the current manager Roy Hodgson as well. The 24-year-old reckons that he has a good chance of making it into the England squad if he gets regular game time at City next season.
“Hopefully next season I will be injury-free and I can show everyone what I can do. It’s a big challenge and it’s a World Cup year. Every Englishman wants to be there. I look at my competition there and, in all honesty, I don’t see players better than me. I feel I am good enough to be around that set-up. It is about being given a chance. He (Hodgson) had a hard decision to make in the summer when Johnson was playing fantastic,” said Richards, who has suffered a number of injury problems this season.
Liverpool’s January signing from Inter Milan – Philippe Coutinho – has said that he desperately wants to play for Brazil at the World Cup 2014, which will be held at the South American country. The Brazilian arrived in an £ 8 million deal from Inter Milan in January. He has been impressive in his few appearances for Liverpool so far. Now, the midfielder is hoping that this good run of form will help him get into the national team. The attacking midfielder last made an international appearance back in 2010, which also happens to be his first appearance as well.
Brazil will be hosting the 2014 FIFA World Cup, and there is extreme pressure on the South American nation to win this tournament. The five-time world champions always face a lot of pressure when it comes to major tournaments like the World Cup and the Copa America. The pressure this time around will be significantly greater since the tournament will be at home. Coutinho has said that it is the dream of every Brazilian player to represent his national team at the World Cup. He is also inspired by the achievements of previous great Brazilians like Ronaldo and Ronaldinho. Coutinho is hoping to strike a partnership with the fellow South American Luis Suarez.
“It was an honour for me when I was called up the first time. At the moment my aim is to play well for Liverpool and to learn and develop as much as I can. But I am sure if I play consistently well for Liverpool then the Brazil coach will notice me and I’ll be called up for the national team. Every player has a dream to play for their national team and especially in a World Cup. The fact the next World Cup is in Brazil makes that extra special,” said Coutinho.