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World Cup 2014: My Picks

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Who will lift the World Cup in 2014?

Alexandre Schneider

For those who have been around long enough to know I hate predictions this will come out of the blue.  I won't predict a winner, but I would love to hear who you think wins it all in Brazil.  For me the World Cup is actually less about the winner and more about the matches, the David and Goliaths, the marque match ups, the chance to see Cristiano Ronaldo make a bigger mark!  It is also about the teams and the history, the nuances of how no team from Europe has won in South America and vice-versa or how the US may finally make it's mark.  It is a tournament of story lines that turns the simplest game into something special and turns the World's game into everyone's game for thirty days.  So now onto the good stuff...

I am of Italian descent but American born.  My father was born in Italy and I was raised speaking Italian until a young age and with that came a love for the Italian National Team.  it was a torrid love, one that ended in drama in '94 as I sat in Pasadena, disappointment in '98 as I watched on TV.  Crushing guilt for Maldini in '02 and shear bliss in '06.  The problem with that was once you win the World Cup there is nothing further, that singular moment of joy will never be equaled again.  The embrace with my Dad, the cheering, the singing, the dancing in the Italian section of Hartford.  That for me was the top of the footballing World and once you get the top the rest is just well, mundane.  It was after '06 that I took notice of not only my mother land but my home land, and truth be told my Dad embraced it to.  It was a new challenge.  I watched as they made the quarterfinals in 2010 with excitement and joy.  I cheered like lunatic in 2009 at the Confed Cup and at the end of the day I was pretty bummed.  It's odd how that happens, you sort of get pulled in.  This is the simple beauty of the World Cup.

So while my favorites are USA and Italy, who win's this thing? For the record, I don't believe either one can win.  I do think the US can make a strong run, but that is also dependent on how good Ronaldo wants to be and how well Germany's defense holds up.  Being that the tournament is in South America, my money is on a South American team.  But it's not who you think it is...

Brazil is one of the most inconsistent groups it has had in a long time.  Think of the World Cup winning teams of late, '94 had Dunga, Romario, Bebeto and Cafu.  '02 had Roberto Carlos, a personal fave, but all you needed was El Fenemeno. This year's vintage has talent but it doesn't resilience, and oddly enough it has the best defensive CB pairing I can remember Brazil ever having and that doesn't include David Luiz! I prefer Dante to Sideshow Bob's often puzzling antics.

The two team's for me are Argentina and Uruguay.  Argentina has the firepower in all area's of the pitch to make this happen and if they choose to play for each other instead of Lionel Messi that is the team to beat for me.  Uruguay on the other hand is following in Spain's footsteps.  Win your Continental Cup by knocking off a powerhouse, build a crop of young players in all areas and hit the right level of age and experience just in time for the Big Show.  They get Suarez, who is like lightning in a bottle, back healthy and you suddenly have one of the most dangerous and balanced team's in the entire World Cup with the ability to win on the Continent.  For me this is the team to beat!

Now come July you will see why I don't make predictions, Uruguay won't make it out of the group, Luiz will be player of the tournament and Messi will win the golden boot, that would be irony! Now tell me who your pick is?