Azkals pick Brazil, Spain to win 2014 FIFA World Cup
Video by INQUIRER.net’s Ryan Leagogo
MANILA, Philippines — It’s either host Brazil or defending champion Spain.
Members of the Philippine Azkals weighed in on the 2014 FIFA World Cup with Brazil and Spain the familiar favorites to win it all.
“It’s tough,” admitted Anton del Rosario. “I automatically say Spain because I love Spain and I’m half Spanish but playing in Brazil, you know Brazil is a tough country. Always one of the top teams and with the whole country supporting them, playing there, it’s hard not to go with Brazil.”
Fil-British midfielders James Younghusband and Chris Greatwich also pick Brazil, which placed sixth in the previous World Cup.
“I think it’s going to be a good World Cup, very exciting but I think it’s going to be a South American team because of their condition so I’m gonna go with Brazil. I’m going for the hosts,” Younghusband confidently said.
“Obviously very excited for the World Cup and as who do I think is going to win the competition, I think it will be Brazil,” Greatwich echoed. “They’ll be going to the tournament as favorites.”
Fil-Spanish midfielder Carli de Murga, on the other hand, hopes Spain will be able to pull off a repeat of its 2010 conquest when it defeated surprise finalist Netherlands.
“Hopefully Spain again. Brazil they play at home, they have a really strong squad but of course I hope Spain again.”
De Murga, though, thinks the Spanish team four years ago is more solid compared to the present team.
“I have a feeling the last World Cup they were stronger. They have plenty of strikers.”
“They got some players that are aging should we say it depends if they wanna stick with those guys who got the experience or are they going with a more youthful lineup obviously in the Confederations Cup they lost heavily to Brazil last year so we’ll see whether or not they can make themselves two-time champion,” Greatwich said of Spain.
Ultimately, Brazil playing as host is too big of an edge considering how talented the Brazilian squad already is.
“Definitely a huge factor when you hear the hometown crowd cheering you on to me it gives you that extra lift, it gives you that second wind,” said del Rosario, who plays right back for Kaya in the UFL.
“You see it in World Cups past the host nations always typically seem to do so well. I think South Africa was the only time when the host nation did not qualify out the group so you got to anticipate them going far in the tournament especially with the caliber of players like Neymar going into the tournament,” said Greatwich.
As for the tournament’s dark horse, they all mentioned Belgium as a team capable of pulling off surprises.
“Everybody’s talking about Belgium. Don’t expect them to go in the first round but I don’t know how far they’ll be able to go they got a lot of competition and a lot to prove,” the 32-year-old del Rosario said.
“Belgium they have a really good squad. They’re very young so they don’t have experience but let’s see, maybe they can go forward,” explained de Murga.
Argentina, with Lionel Messi, and Uruguay, which finished fourth in 2010, are also countries that certainly cannot be overlooked. But then again, “it’s hard not to go with Brazil.”
“I can’t be sleeping on Brazil I think on home soil with home support I think they’re gonna be favorites.”