World Cup 2014: group stage, day 1

June 13, 2014
World Cup 2014: group stage, day 1

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Brazil: organised, structured, and the favourites

June 12, 2014
Brazil: organised, structured, and the favourites

There has never been more pressure on a side to win a World Cup: the hosts are always expected to exceed expectations, but the expectation in Brazil is always to win. Read more »

Netherlands: still undecided on best formation

June 12, 2014
Netherlands: still undecided on best formation

While any prediction about Louis van Gaal’s plans for Manchester United will include a reference to his love of 4-3-3, he’s currently trying something entirely different with Holland. Read more »

Germany: need the right combination upfront

June 12, 2014
Germany: need the right combination upfront

Germany have reached at least the semi-finals of the last four major international tournaments without winning any. Frankly, it’s about time that changed. Read more »

Fantasy World Cup Soccer at DraftStreet

June 12, 2014
Fantasy World Cup Soccer at DraftStreet

ZonalMarking has teamed up with DraftStreet to bring you an exciting new way to enjoy each and every day of the World Cup. Read more »

Spain: can they keep their incredible run going?

June 12, 2014
Spain: can they keep their incredible run going?

Spain’s current run of success is unprecedented – two European Championships, with a World Cup between. Read more »

Croatia: great midfield guile but what else?

June 12, 2014
Croatia: great midfield guile but what else?

There are few nations that love playmakers as much as Croatia, and national team coach Niko Kovac appears set to field three together in a highly creative midfield trio. Read more »

Uruguay: past their best?

June 12, 2014
Uruguay: past their best?

Three years ago, Uruguay were unquestionably the best side in South America – they were the only South American side to reach the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2010, before winning the Copa America a year later. Read more »

Argentina: big strengths, big weaknesses

June 12, 2014
Argentina: big strengths, big weaknesses

Argentina are invariably amongst the World Cup favourites, but their recent record is surprisingly poor. Read more »

Portugal: the same as usual

June 12, 2014
Portugal: the same as usual

Even if you haven’t seen Portugal play since Euro 2012, you’ll still know the team pretty well. Read more »

England: potentially dangerous on the break

June 12, 2014
England: potentially dangerous on the break

When Roy Hodgson named his 23-man World Cup squad, the most controversial decision was about the identity of England’s back-up left-back Read more »

Italy: Prandelli not sure of his formation

June 12, 2014
Italy: Prandelli not sure of his formation

Two years ago, during Italy’s impressive run to the Euro 2012 final, Cesare Prandelli switched between 3-5-2 and 4-3-1-2 formations. At this tournament, his preferred shape is again unclear. Read more »

France: surprisingly promising

June 12, 2014
France: surprisingly promising

Of all the players omitted from their nation’s World Cup squad, Samir Nasri was the biggest-name absence. Read more »

Chile: like in 2010, the most attacking side

June 12, 2014
Chile: like in 2010, the most attacking side

Four years ago Marcelo Bielsa’s Chile were hyped up as the most exciting side travelling to South Africa, and in terms of pure entertainment, they didn’t disappoint. Read more »

USA: a diamond midfield

June 12, 2014
USA: a diamond midfield

While 4-2-3-1 remains the dominant formation, there’s a decent amount of tactical variety on show at this World Cup. Read more »

Australia: building for the future

June 12, 2014
Australia: building for the future

In the long-term, Australian football is on the rise. This is the country’s third consecutive World Cup qualification, having previously reached the tournament just once, and therefore Australia are now an established World Cup nation. Read more »

Belgium: can they succeed without proper full-backs?

June 10, 2014
Belgium: can they succeed without proper full-backs?

Few teams have been discussed as fervently as Belgium over the past couple of years. Read more »

Russia: Shirokov a huge loss

June 10, 2014
Russia: Shirokov a huge loss

Four ’star men’ dropped out of this tournament in the last fortnight. Read more »

South Korea: organised but prone to mistakes

June 10, 2014
South Korea: organised but prone to mistakes

When you think of South Korea at a World Cup, you still think of their amazing run to the semi-finals in 2002. Read more »

Algeria: young and mobile

June 10, 2014
Algeria: young and mobile

Anyone who remembers Algeria’s performance at the last World Cup won’t be excited to see them this time around. Read more »

Ghana: still great on the break

June 10, 2014
Ghana: still great on the break

Four years ago, Ghana were penalties away from becoming the first African side to reach the World Cup semi-finals. Read more »

Nigeria: midfield questions…

June 10, 2014
Nigeria: midfield questions…

Nigeria won the Africa Cup of Nations last year, despite the fact they never found the perfect balance in midfield, and this is again their major issue. Read more »

Bosnia: more cautious than expected

June 10, 2014
Bosnia: more cautious than expected

Out of the 32 nations competing in Brazil, Bosnia are the only debutant, and therefore one of the more exciting teams. Read more »

Iran: frustrating to watch, frustrating to play against

June 10, 2014
Iran: frustrating to watch, frustrating to play against

In a World Cup featuring lots of very familiar sides, Iran are something of an exception. Read more »

Ecuador: the most basic side?

June 10, 2014
Ecuador: the most basic side?

The inescapable truth about Ecuador is that they’re primarily at this tournament because their home qualifiers are played at altitude. Read more »

Switzerland: true dark horses

June 10, 2014
Switzerland: true dark horses

Switzerland have appeared at the previous two World Cups, and from their seven matches across those two tournaments, have conceded just one goal. Read more »

Honduras: physical, but little more

June 10, 2014
Honduras: physical, but little more

According to the bookmakers, Honduras are the rank outsiders in this competition. 32nd out of 32 teams, despite the fact they’re in a weak group. Read more »

Costa Rica: extremely defensive

June 9, 2014
Costa Rica: extremely defensive

Costa Rica aren’t the worst team at this World Cup, but they might have the least chance of getting out of their group. Read more »

Japan: good between the boxes

June 9, 2014
Japan: good between the boxes

If this World Cup becomes a disappointingly defensive tournament with few sides playing proactively, Japan will be one of the sides praised for bucking the trend. Read more »

Ivory Coast: need individual magic

June 9, 2014
Ivory Coast: need individual magic

The Ivory Coast’s appointment of Sabri Lamouchi as coach in 2012 still feels extremely strange. Read more »

Greece: ten years on, a similar approach

June 9, 2014
Greece: ten years on, a similar approach

It’s now ten years since Greece shocked Europe by triumphing at Euro 2004, with three consecutive 1-0 knockout victories against the holders, the best team, and then the hosts. Read more »