Why You Should Listen : Eric Lopez and SportstalkFlorida.com’s Magic Insider Mary Stevens preview the World Cup with the Miami Herald’s Michelle Kaufman. How will the United States do in Brazil? Did USA Head Coach Jurgin Klinsman make a mistake leaving off Landon Donovan of the US Roster? Kaufman also breaks down the some of the storylines of the World Cup including who are the favorites to win the World Cup, Who some of the sleepers teams in the field and does Argentina star Soccer player Lionel Messi who is regarded by many as the best player in the world have to win the World Cup to be considered one of the greatest players of all-time? Kaufman discuss this and more.
Miami Herald’s Michelle Kaufman on Insiders Show 6-8-14 :
Why You Should Listen : Eric Lopez and Mary Stevens break down the groups and make predictions for the World Cup.
SportstalkFlorida Insiders Show World Cup Preview 6-8-14 :
A-1 – Brazil
B-2 – Netherlands Brazil
C-1 – Colombia Uruguay
D-2- Uruguay Brazil
F-2 – Nigeria France
G-1 – Germany Germany
B-1 – Spain
A-2 – Croatia Spain
D-1- Italy Italy
F-1- Argentina Argentina
E-2- Switzerland Argentina
H-1- Belgium Portugal
Semi-Finals : Brazil over Germany, Spain over Argentina
World Cup Final : Brazil over Spain
Top 10 Players at World Cup to Watch :
1- Lionel Messi- Argentina: Messi is one of the best soccer players of all time, and he’s only 26 years old. Despite immense success on world-beating Barcelona in the Spanish professional league. Messi has never made it past the quarterfinals of the World Cup. This go around may be his best chance, as Argentina’s squad is loaded with international stars all over the pitch, and Messi is at the top of his game and in full health after a hamstring injury last year. The only question is how well Argentina can play together behind their dynamo forward.
2- Christiano Ronaldo- Portugal :What is Ronald Health going into World Cup. That be one of the biggest questions at the start of the World Cup. Ronaldo health could mean the difference between Portugal getting into knockout round or the USA or Ghana taking advantage and making it instead of Portugal.
4- Arjen Robben- Netherlands : Robben was big part of Holland run to World Cup Final appearance in 2010. Robben led Bayern Munich to Champions League Trophy.
5- Mesut Ozil- Germany : Many have compared Ozil to France’s all-time great midfielder Zinedine Zidane. Ozil only 25 and a rising star playing at Arsenal in English Premiere League is one of main reasons why Germany is among favorites for World Cup and the United States will have thier hands full with Ozil.
6- Luis Suarez- Uruguay : Suarez was red-carded for a blatant handball that denied a game-winning goal to Ghana in the 2010 World Cup; months later, he was suspended by his club team Ajax after biting an opponent; the next year, as a member of Liverpool, he was suspended for racially abusing Manchester United’s Patrice Evra; and in 2013, he was suspended for biting an opponent (yes, again), this time Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanovic. But there’s another thing Suarez is known for. How to score goals, and at that, he is undeniably skilled, netting an eye-popping 30 goals for Liverpool this season. Now he is leading a talented Uruguay team that finished fourth in 2010. And while Uruguay is in one of the toughest groups to start the tournament with England, Italy and Costa Rica, if Suarez can perform with even a fraction of the form he’s shown for Liverpool, it’s the other three teams that may need to worry.
7- Mario Balotelli- Italy : Balotelli can finish, pass and run with the best in the world, but has been maddeningly inconsistent since his debut on the world stage. While Italy may have bowed out at the group stage in 2010, it would not be wise to count out the four-time World Cup champions, especially if the A.C. Milan striker brings his A-game which Italy will need in a tough group that includes Uruguay and England.
8- Andres Iniesta- Spain: Scored the winning goal in the 2010 World Cup final. The midfield wizard has made the FIFA XI squad the last five years in a row; even fellow superstar Xavi Hernandez called him “Spain’s most complete player.” Iniesta leads the veteran deep defending champions looking to repeat as World Cup Champions.
9- Wayne Rooney- England : While Rooney may not be England’s best player, the 28-year-old is still one of the faces of soccer around the world, promoted heavily by both Nike and FIFA. The starting forward for the English national team has been one of the best players on a fading Manchester United squad that was the toast of the world not that long ago. England’s soccer fans fret continuously about whether Rooney and the England squad can make a real showing this time, after finishing 13th in South Africa in 2010. To survive an incredibly difficult group stage with Italy, Costa Rica and Uruguay, they’re going to need his superlative ability to score goals, as well as his greatly improved passing and never-say-die hustle when the lights shine brightest.
10- Clint Dempsey : With Landon Donovan not on the USA Roster, Dempsey becomes the face of USA Soccer at the World Cup. Last year, Dempsey gave up a decent professional run in the English Premier League to play a little closer to home for the Seattle Sounders of Major League Soccer. Dempsey will lead a young USA Roster which will go up against a stack group that includes Germany, Portugal and Ghana.
Eric Lopez host ELOOnline Podcast which airs on Sportstalkflorida.com. Eric Lopez also host 1080am Insiders Show that airs Sundays from 10-11am eastern on Sportstalk 1080 the team in Orlando. Lopez also fills in on Tuck and O’Neill on Sportstalk 1080 the Team Orlando.