Newsroom pundits: Our World Cup predictions

Newsroom pundits: Our World Cup predictions

Reporter:

Philip Dewey

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Newsroom pundits: Our World Cup predictions

The World Cup is just a week away and the excitement is building across the country as 32 nations prepare to descend on Brazil for the start of the tournament.

The team in the Advertiser and Express newsroom can't wait for the action to start so to tide us over until the big kick-off we've decided to share our vast footballing wisdom and give our predictions for the tournament.

Do you agree with our views? Let us know in the comment box below or leave your comments on Facebook and Twitter.


Dan Darlington - Sports Reporter

How far will England get?

England will have a point to prove after a dreadful showing in South Africa, and if they can get past group opponents Italy, Uruguay and Costa Rica, they'll probably play Ivory Coast or Colombia for a place in the quarter finals. Hodgson has selected a squad brimming with youthful talent - I only hope he uses them rather than relying on the tried and trusted old guard. 

Player to watch

Adam Lallana, England

I'm looking forward to seeing the Southampton midfielder get a run in the Three Lions team in Brazil. If given the chance he's a player who can inspire England in the same way Gazza did at Italia 90. Lallana has work rate, vision and the ability to unlock defences, while he's also shown this season he's also more than capable of finding the net. 

Who will win and why

Argentina have won the last two World Cups held in South and Central America and must be strong candidates to make it a treble in Brazil. A scintillating attacking line up of Messi, Di Maria, Aguero and Higuain should mask deficiencies in defence, and if Messi can reproduce his Barcelona form on the biggest stage of all they could go all the way.


Ground Hopper - Sports Columnist

How far will England get?

Being a bit long in the tooth, I can remember the days when England were always expected to make the latter stages, but that was in the days of laced-up footballs, comb overs and no substitutions. Now, I honestly think they will struggle to get out of the group stages. Sorry.

Player to watch

Manchester United's promising winger Adnan Januzaj, who is in the Belgium squad, and, of course, Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, who at 29 and with a Champions League medal in his back pocket is at the height of his powers. For England? Daniel Sturridge, but he might do his best work coming off the bench.

Who will win and why

Normally I always have a bob or two each way on the hosts at the World Cup. I won half a crown on England in 1966. But this time I suspect the pressure on Brazil to win in front of their own fanatical supporters will be too much. I am going for Argentina: South American, experienced, confident and unpredictable. But don't write off Spain, as many have, they're still a threat. Outside bet: Uruguay.



 Glenn Mitchell - Deputy Group Editor

How far will England get?

Just beyond passport control.

Player to watch

Cristiano Ronaldo, Portgual

The strutting Portugese peacock is playing the best football of his career at Real Madrid. He is teak-coloured box office and could single-handedly propel an ordinary Portugal team into the latter stages. Hopefully that can be achieved without any winking.


Who will win and why

Brazil. Conditions will be far too sweaty for the Europeans, so it is over to the South American heavyweights to slug it out. Big Phil Scolari has put together a confident and unified team who can out-gun most opponents. Argentina will run them close but Messi isn’t playing well enough to sprinkle the stardust needed to take them all the way.


Nicola Hine - Windsor & Slough Express News Editor

How far will England get?

Probably not as far as my Fantasy Premier League team 2013/14. Which came fifth. Above Glenn Mitchell's. I expect they'll go as far as the quarter finals and then get knocked out. Probably by Brazil. Maybe on penalties.

Player to watch

Bernard? Iniesta? Ross Barkley? If anyone has Panini spares of these I'd be willing to swap.



Who will win and why

Spain or Argentina. The Spanish squad is strong and a lot of players will be high in confidence from winning domestic honours this year. But Argentina has Messi and Aguero. I'll go with Spain.



Nick Mayo - Web Editor

How far will England get?

If – and it is a big IF – they can get out of a tough group ahead of Uruguay and Italy – then they could make the quarter-finals but that’s as far as I see them going. Can a Barkley, WIlshere, Ox or Lallana take centre stage? And will Rooney finally deliver on the World Cup stage?

Player to watch

This could be the swansong for the bearded genius Andrea Pirlo. Watch him while you still can. The veteran midfield maestro will dictate the play for 2006 World Cup winners Italy. Watch out for his superb free-kicks as well as he attempts to help the Azzurri win their fifth World Cup.

Who will win and why

Argentina – Goals, goals, goals promised with the attacking trident of Higuain, Aguero and Messi. They are in a winnable group and the draw could open up nicely to the latter stages. This could be the World Cup where the world’s best player – Messi – inspires his country to victory like Maradona did in 1986.


James Preston - Web Reporter

How far will England get?

I expect them to make it out of the group stage but it will be down to whether Suarez is fit and in form for the Uruguay game. That's as far as we'll go as I think possible second round opponents Colombia have enough about them to beat us.

Player to watch

Romelu Lukaku. Belgium won't win the thing as a lot of people have predicted but they have got a very good side which could go far. With Benteke out it will be down to Lukaku to grab the goals and he could well be an outside bet for top scorer.

Who will win it and why

I always back the Germans but they haven't won it since I was a toddler. They're overdue, have a great manager in Joachim Löw and strength all over the park. Their defence is solid, they have some of the best young attacking players around, and the players who will be warming the bench would walk into England's first team. Expect Özil to rediscover the form he lost at Arsenal.


Michael Owens - Burnham Reporter

How far will England get?

Despite Italy’s strength and Uruguay’s attacking flair, England can make it out of the group. The Azzuri are liable to slip up – just ask Slovakia – and Luis Suarez’s lot are weak at the back. Progressing could give them the confidence to cruise through the round of 16 against the Group C qualifiers, but Spain or Brazil in the quarters will be a bridge too far. 

Player to watch

I think Leo Messi could finally have the tournament to match Maradona in 86, Pirlo and Iniesta will be a joy to watch in midfield and defensive-rock Thiago Silva will be crucial to Brazilian hopes. However, there’s only one man carrying the hope of two nations - Geordie and Nigerian – and that’s Shola Ameobi. Stick a tenner on him grabbing the golden boot at 1000/1.

Who will win and why

A lot of armchair critics are going against the grain and picking fashionable choices like Germany, but just like last time the answer is Spain. They’ve got the pedigree, the best squad – including the best midfield by far – and a goal-scoring machine in Diego Costa who will do away with any need for ‘false nine’ fanciness… Unless Messi carries Argentina all the way.


Lucy Elder - Twyford Reporter

How far will England get?

As much as I will be cheering them on, I would be surprised if they get past the group stage.

Player to watch

Karim Benzema. Real Madrid have him and Arsenal want him. He is a bit of a goal scoring machine so could be exciting to watch at this his first World Cup.




Who will win and why

Brazil seem like a safe bet to me. Aside from the fact that as hosts they have the home advantage, they are the most successful country in the tournament having taken the crown five times. My money would be on Brazil to win and Germany to make the semi-finals.



Simon Meechan - Bray Reporter

How far will England get?

It’s a tough group and anything beyond the second round would be a bonus. The first game against Italy is crucial, if England don’t lose that they’ve got a decent chance of progressing. Ross Barkley, Adam Lallana, Luke Shaw and Raheem Sterling should all be given their chance to shine, while I would also love to see Steven Gerrard score some screamers in what should be his last major tournament.

Player to watch

Brazilian whiz kid Neymar has a lot of expectation on his shoulders. He was the star turn at last summer’s Confederations Cup and Brazil’s poster boy for this tournament. He has the talent to light up the cup and make that iconic number 10 shirt his for a long time. Unfortunately he also has a penchant for taking a tumble and cheating the ref.

Who will win and why

Germany. They’re quick, effective, tough and have a winning mentality. They do have a tricky group to negotiate but I’m confident they can win it, and then grind out results in the later stages.

And they’re great at penalties.


Luke Matthews - Cookham Reporter

How far will England get?

Play-it-safe Roy Hodgson needs to be brave and put his faith in the less experienced members of the squad. If he can get the likes of Barkley, Sterling and Lallana replicating their club form then England can be a surprise package. But chances are he’ll look to James Milner and we can all go to bed. I don’t trust Roy since he allowed Paul Konchesky and Christian Poulsen to try on a Liverpool shirt. He may look like an owl but he’s not as wise. Round of 16. 

Player to watch

Obviously Jordan Henderson. Ferguson might think he runs funny but he’s running straight to the Ballon d’Or. Knight him. 

Who will win and why

Belgium – strong in every position. Easy group to ease themselves into the tournament and after that they won’t be playing with the pressure of Brazil, Spain or Germany. Their defense and midfield is formidable and with Hazard and Lukaku hanging around up the other end, you’ve got to fancy them to score. Year of the underdog.


Paul Miles - Slough Reporter

How far England will get?

Not far. As per tradition, England will swelter in the South American heat and explode under a cloud of national expectation. Not even a sweaty Wayne Rooney will save the day. After two defeats and a nationally celebrated 1-0 victory over Costa Rica, England will return home where we can expect the usual World Cup post mortem, manager change and national cry over the state of the English game. Sorry Roy.

Player to watch

The usual suspects of Ronaldo, Suárez, Toure and Messi will feature heavily. But after a promising debut season at Manchester United and having finally decided upon his nationality,  Adnan Januzaj could be the man to watch. With his obvious pace and footballing nous it's time for the teenager to shine on the big stage as part of a promising Belgium side.

Who will win and why

Having seen the selection of players in the France team in the office's World Cup sticker book, I am tempted to say France. However I think we can expect see some samba dancing and national hysteria when Brazil lift the cup. After they knock out Germany that is.


Philip Dewey - Windsor Reporter

How far will England get?

As a Welshman, I normally support whoever is playing England but with a big Liverpool contingent in Hodgson’s squad it could be as strong an England team as any to compete on the world stage. Getting through the group stages will be a hard task but with the prospect of Suarez sitting out the tournament through injury, England might be able to sneak in ahead of Uruguay to reach the knock-outs. I predict a quarter-final finish at best.

Player to watch

Although not considered a starter, Raheem Sterling is England’s man to watch after playing a career best season with Liverpool. If he gets his head down, he could easily make the starting line-up and with his pace and consistent finishing he could be an England star in the making. I’m also expecting a big tournament from Steven Gerrard in what could be his last World Cup.

Who will win and why

I believe this could be Argentina’s tournament. Messi has had a disappointing season with Barcelona but this could be the year Argentina get their hands on the trophy, with a formidable striking force of Higuain and Aguero. Di Maria has had an impressive season with Real Madrid and could be the driving force in midfield behind the front three. Brazil on home soil could also be contenders.


Janice Nattress - Editorial Assistant

How far will England get?

I’ll take a guess though and say that England will make the quarter-finals.

Player to watch

Ross Barkley - England.

Because the Telegraph said he's keen.





Who will win it and why

Chile will win it and Greece will be out in the first round.






And finally... Lucy Golding - Bucks Reporter

How far will England get?

Possibly the quarter finals where they will lose spectacularly. This is perhaps a tad optimistic although as Andy Murray showed us last year, the unthinkable can happen. I hope they make it relatively far because then perhaps we'll get the afternoon off work, like we used to at school, and then I can go and stare at my favourite wall.

Player to watch

Sadly not David Beckham, I know that much. Does Thierry Henry still play? I made him a cappuccino once. Apart from that I literally don't have a clue. 

Who will win and why

Spain or Brazil or Germany or Italy or possibly France. I am almost certain it won't be England and has never been Ireland. You don't often hear of African countries doing that well either. Or maybe Ghana does? My bet is on Spain because Spain has Messi and Messi can kick well, apparently.




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