Group A World Cup 2014

World Cup 2014 Group A

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GROUP A

Brazil Croatia Mexico Cameroon

[Team Jersey Images © Soccerphile]

Brazil

Brazil will be under huge pressure to lift the 2014 World Cup but are in good form losing only two matches in 2013 (to England & Switzerland) and lifting the Confederations Cup with a 3-0 win over World Cup holders Spain at the Maracana. Real Madrid and Barcelona provide the two attacking full-backs in Marcelo and Danny Alves , while two holding midfielders support PSG's Thiago Silva at the back. Hulk, Fred and Neymar will be the men up front in an all-round physical team. Wild cards are Chelsea's Willian and Shakhtar's Bernard.

Fixtures

Brazil team jersey kit 1 (c) Soccerphile. Brazil team jersey kit 2 (c) Soccerphile.

Brazil Kit 1
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Brazil Kit 2
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Brazil v Croatia 12 June; Sao Paulo
Brazil v Mexico 17 June; Fortaleza
Brazil v Cameroon 23 June; Brasilia

Coach

Luiz Felipe Scolari

Record

1930, 1934, 1966 First round; 1982 & 1990 Second round; 1954, 1986, 2010 Quarter Finals; 1938, 1978, 2006 Third place; 1974 Fourth place; 1998 runners-up; 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002 Champions.

FIFA Ranking

Men to watch

Neymar has had a mixed first season in Europe with Barcelona but capable of moments of magic on home soil.

Predictions & Latest Odds

Should go all the way but maybe last four is where the dream could end.
World Cup 2014 Betting

How they qualified

Brazil qualified automatically as hosts.

On the sidelines

This is the first World Cup to be held in Brazil since 1950.

Analysis

Brazil Team Profile

Squad

Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Toronto FC, loan from QPR), Jefferson (Botafogo), Victor (Atletico Mineiro)

Defenders: Marcelo (Real Madrid), Daniel Alves (Barcelona), Maicon (AS Roma), Maxwell, Thiago Silva (both Paris St-Germain), David Luiz (Chelsea), Dante (Bayern Munich), Henrique (Napoli).

Midfielders: Paulinho (Tottenham Hotspur), Ramires, Willian, Oscar (all Chelsea), Hernanes (Inter Milan), Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg), Fernandinho (Manchester City)

Strikers: Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk), Fred (Fluminense), Jo (Atletico Mineiro), Hulk (Zenit St Petersburg), Neymar (Barcelona)


Croatia

Croatia struggled in qualifying, losing home and away to Scotland and were lucky to draw Iceland in the play offs. Luka Modric and Ivan Rakitic are the key men in a team of mostly veterans from previous campaigns. Mario Mandzukic is suspended for the first match against Brazil. Southampton's Dejan Lovren will probably start at the back following Josip Simunic's 10-match ban.

Fixtures

Croatia team jersey kit 1 (c) Soccerphile. Croatia team jersey kit 2 (c) Soccerphile.

Croatia Kit 1
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Croatia Kit 2
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Croatia v Brazil 12 June; Sao Paulo
Croatia v Cameroon 18 June; Manaus
Croatia v Mexico 23 June; Recife

Coach

Niko Kovac

Record

2002, 2006 First Round; 1998 Third place

FIFA Ranking

Men to watch

Real Madrid's Luka Modric and Bayern's feisty striker Mario Mandzukic.

Predictions & Latest Odds

We predict Croatia will come second in Group A but their match with Mexico seems key. Further progress is unlikely with possible second round opponents Spain, Netherlands or Chile.

How they qualified

Croatia finished second in Qualifying Group A behind Belgium and came through a play off with Iceland.

On the sidelines

Croatia were in the same group as Brazil in the 2006 World Cup, losing 2-0 in Berlin.

Analysis

Croatia Team Profile

Squad

Goalkeepers: Stipe Pletikosa (Rostov), Danijel Subasic (Monaco), Oliver Zelenika (Dinamo Zagreb).

Defenders: Darijo Srna (Shakhtar Donetsk), Dejan Lovren (Southampton), Vedran Corluka (Lokomotiv Moscow), Gordon Schildenfeld (Panathinaikos), Danijel Pranjic (Panathinaikos), Domagoj Vida (Dynamo Kiev), Sime Vrsaljko (Genoa).

Midfielders: Luka Modric (Real Madrid), Ivan Rakitic (Sevilla), Ognjen Vukojevic (Dynamo Kiev), Ivan Perisic (Wolfsburg), Mateo Kovacic (Inter Milan), Marcelo Brozovic (Dinamo Zagreb), Ivan Mocinic (Rijeka), Sammir (Getafe).

Strikers: Mario Mandzukic (Bayern Munich), Ivica Olic (Wolfsburg), Eduardo (Shakhtar Donetsk), Nikica Jelavic (Hull City), Ante Rebic (Fiorentina)


Mexico

Mexico had to come through a one-sided qualifier with New Zealand to reach Brazil and lack the star quality in their team from previous campaigns. The squad is largely drawn from home based players with a few minor stars from Europe such as Javier Hernandez at Manchester United and Giovani dos Santos at Villareal. Rafael Marquez, aged 35, is still in the team at the back together with former Fulham defender or defensive midfielder Carlos Salcido.

Fixtures

Mexico team jersey kit 1 (c) Soccerphile. Mexico team jersey kit 2 (c) Soccerphile.

Mexico Kit 1
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Mexico Kit 2
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Mexico v Cameroon 13 June; Natal
Mexico v Brazil 18 June; Manaus
Mexico v Croatia; 23 June; Recife

Coach

Miguel Herrera

Record

1930, 1950, 1954, 1958, 1962, 1966, 1978 First Round; 1994, 1998, 2002, 2010 Second Round; 1970, 1986 Quarter Finals.

FIFA Ranking

Men to watch

Striker Oribe Peralta scored twice in the final of the 2012 Olympics.

How they qualified

Mexico came through a play-off with New Zealand.

On the sidelines

Mexico are making their 14th trip to the World Cup.

Analysis

Mexico Team Profile

Squad

Goalkeepers: Jose de Jesus Corona (Cruz Azul), Guillermo Ochoa (Ajaccio), Alfredo Talavera (Toluca)

Defenders: Miguel Layun (America), Carlos Salcido (Tigres), Paul Aguilar (America), Andres Guardado (Bayer Leverkusen), Hector Moreno (Espanyol), Francisco Javier Rodriguez (America), Diego Reyes (Porto), Rafael Marquez (Leon)

Midfielders: Juan Carlos Medina (America), Jose Juan Vazquez (Leon), Luis Montes (Leon), Hector Herrera (Porto), Isaac Brizuela (Toluca), Marco Fabian (Cruz Azul), Carlos Pena (Leon)

Strikers: Javier Hernandez (Manchester United), Giovani dos Santos (Villarreal), Raul Jimenez (America), Alan Pulido (Tigres), Oribe Peralta (Santos)

Cameroon

Veteran Chelsea striker and captain Samuel Eto'o lines up with other players who have spent time in Europe including Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Alex Song, Joel Matip and Stephane Mbia. It's possible they could provide an upset, because other than Brazil, Group A lacks real quality.

Fixtures

Cameroon team jersey kit 1 (c) Soccerphile. Cameroon team jersey kit 2 (c) Soccerphile.

Cameroon Kit 1
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Cameroon Kit 2
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Cameroon v Mexico v 13 June; Natal
Cameroon v Croatia 18 June; Manaus
Cameroon v Brazil 23 June; Brasilia

Coach

Volker Finke

Record

1982, 1994, 1998, 2002 First Round; 1990 Quarter finals

FIFA Ranking

Men to watch

Samuel Eto'o and Alex Song.

How they qualified

Beat Tunisia 4-1 on aggregate in Round 3 after topping Group I but went through in some controversy after Togo were docked points for fielding an ineligible player.

On the sidelines

German coach Volker Finke coached SC Freiburg for 16 years from 1991-2007 and had an unsuccessful season with Urawa Reds in Japan.

Analysis

Cameroon Team Profile

Squad

Goalkeepers: Loic Feudjou (Coton Sport), Charles Itandje (Konyaspor), Sammy Ndjock (Fethiyespor)

Defenders:Allan Nyom (Granada, Spain), Nounkeu Dany (Besiktas, Turkey), Cedric Djeugoue (Coton Sport), Aurelien Chedjou (Galatasaray, Turkey), Nicolas Nkoulou (Marseille, France), Henri Bedimo (Lyon, France), Benoit Assou-Ekotto (QPR, on loan from Tottenham, England)

Midfielders: Enoh Eyong (Antalyaspor, Turkey), Jean Makoun (Rennes, France), Joel Matip (Schalke 04, Germany), Stephane Mbia (Sevilla, Spain on loan from QPR, England), Landry Nguemo (Bordeaux, France), Alexandre Song (Barcelona, Spain), Edgar Salli (Lens, France)

Strikers: Samuel Eto'o (Chelsea, England), Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting (Mainz 05, Germany), Benjamin Moukandjo (Nancy, France), Vincent Aboubakar (Lorient, France), Pierre Achille Webo (Fenerbahce, Turkey), Fabrice Olinga (Zulte Waregem, Belgium)