Preview: Brazil poised to maintain good form
The Seleção have been in terrific form recently having won all of their last six friendly matches and will be hoping to keep their streak going with a win over Bafana Bafana. Luiz Felipe Scolari's men have not played a competitive match since defeating reigning World champions Spain in the Confederations Cup Final, owing to the fact that they are hosting this year’s tournament.
However their next three friendlies including the ones against Panama and Serbia which follow their trip to South Africa will potentially prepare them for the test they are to face at this year’s illustrious event.
All eyes will be on the big event at Costa do Sauipe in Bahia this Friday. World Football will finally get to know how the 32 qualified nations will be grouped at the 2014 FIFA World Cup next summer.
Indeed, the Final Draw is an extremely big event in itself as 2,000 reporters will deliver live coverage in 193 countries worldwide. The ceremony will have as many as 1,300 guests including legends of the Beautiful Game.
During the draw, one team from the all-European Pot 4 will randomly be selected and fall into Pot 2. This process is to avoid having more than two European teams in a same group at the World Cup.
A host of celebrities are expected to be at the venue with Brazilian actors Fernanda Lima and Rodrigo Hilbert lined up to host the show. Football legends Sir Geoff Hurst, Zinedine Zidane, Cafu and Fabio Cannavaro will have the task of plucking out the balls which will decide the destiny of every participating nation.
The draw will be conducted in the same manner it has been for a number of decades. The 32 teams who have qualified for the World Cup finals will be divided into eight groups labelled A-H. Each section will consist of four teams.
Preview: Brazil face stiff Chile test in international friendly
Both Brazil and Chile have performed admirably in the recent past, having scored easy victories over Honduras and England respectively. Brazil scored an emphatic 5-0 victory over the Central Americans whereas Chile humbled the three lions 2-0 at Wembley.
Tuesday’s match will be an interesting encounter between two South American teams who have caught a few eyes. Brazil have been mesmerizing in 2013, having just lost twice under the tutelage of Luiz Felipe Scolari. The Samba giants have won all their last five matches in terrific fashion and Scolari has lauded his players for performing commendably as a unit.
Preview: Seleção poised to stretch winning streak to five games
Luiz Felipe Scolari’s men take on Honduras in Miami this Saturday as they continue making preparations for the first ever FIFA World Cup to be held in their country in 64 years.
The Samba giants are on a good run having won all of their last four matches. The 2002 World Cup winners have revelled under the second coming of coach Luiz Felipe Scolari and upon his arrival in November last year, Brazil have just lost twice in the 17 matches they have played.
FIFA World Cup – 21 qualified nations as of October 2013
On October 15, seven countries added their names to the list of World Cup 2014 participants. The current 21 contenders are:
- Asia: Japan, South Korea, Iran, Australia
- CONCACAF: United States of America, Costa Rica, Honduras
- CONMEBOL: Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador
- UEFA: Spain, England, Russia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Netherlands, Italy, Switzerland, Belgium, Germany.
The thirty-two nations are selected from the various football confederations, with each confederation being allotted a pre-defined number of spots:
- Host Nation - 1
- CAF (5) - 5 direct
- AFC (4) - 4 direct plus 1 world play-off spot
- CONCACAF (3) - 3 direct plus 1 world play-off spot
- CONMEBOL (4) - 4 direct plus 1 world play-off spot
- UEFA (13) - 9 direct plus 4 from 8 play-off spots
- Oceania - 1 world play-off spot
Here is the list of National Teams that have already qualified, and those that are still alive and in contention for a play-off spot.
2014 FIFA World Cup Hosting Nation - Brazil / Brasil (1)
In case you did not know, hosting the the FIFA World Cup has its privileges. After spending billions to construct stadiums and set up the event, the host nation will also get to participate via automatic qualification (not that Brazil would have needed any help, anyways).
Watch Brazil's next match: International Friendly vs Zambia (Gillete World Tour)
Thanks to a 2-1 win over Croatia, Belgium have clinched qualification to the World Cup in Brazil next summer. This is the first time Belgium have qualified to a major international tournament since the 2002 European Championships. However, this generation has given high hopes to a lot of Belgians all over the world. Never before has the Belgian squad been so rich with talent in all positions so one has got to expect this squad to go far in the World Cup.
Two goalkeepers with equal merits
Thibault Courtois and Simon Mignolet are definitely the kind of keepers who will automatically be number ones for any national team in the world.
Preview: Seleção hoping to extend win streak at the expense of Zambia
The five time World champions have been mesmerising upon Luiz Felipe Scolari’s second coming only losing twice in 2013 against England and Switzerland. With the World Cup drawing closer, Seleção have hit form at the right time and the football-mad Brazilian fans are hopeful of their side once again revelling on the international stage.
If they beat Zambia on Tuesday, it will be Brazil’s fourth consecutive victory. Last time out Scolari’s side defeated South Korea 2-0 courtesy of a sublime free kick from Barcelona man Neymar and a second half strike from Chelsea playmaker Oscar.
Preview: Neymar set to star in South Korea friendly
The Barcelona man reportedly injured his hip during training after colliding with teammate Hernanes and was expected to be rested for the match against The Reds. However manager Luiz Felipe Scolari speaking to a press conference revealed that his star forward is fit to start in Saturday’s encounter.
"Neymar’s fully recovered. There will be no problem with him starting tomorrow," assured Scolari.
Scolari also claimed that he is willing to offer chances to other players who prove their worth and singled out Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva who was assured of opportunities in the first team.
A look at the Top 20
The Top 20 has experienced a considerable shake up. Robin van Persie’s Netherlands and Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal have both gone four places down and are now ninth and 11th respectively.
Bosnia-Herzegovina, despite enjoying a great World Cup qualifying campaign this year, have gone from 13th to 18th. England’s Three Lions are just above them, having exited the Top 15 to be 17th in the ranking.
There is good news for Mario Balotelli’s Italy, though. The Azzurri are now considered as the fourth best nation in world football. Emerging European force Belgium have moved four places up to sixth – one rank above Luis Suarez’s Uruguay.
Preview: Portuguese and Brazilian fans will fill Gillete Stadium to see their idols
When you hear of a meeting between Portugal and Brazil, you would instantly think of a battle between two football superstars. Whether you are a fan of Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar, or both, they have both earned their spot at the top of world football's list of great stars.
On Tuesday night, both countries will meet at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Ma. Due to the large amount of Portuguese and Brazilian fans living in the surrounding areas, this match is expected to have a near full to capacity attendance.
One frustration for Portugal fans will be the exclusion of Ronaldo from the team due to injury, after the Real Madrid star netted a hattrick against Northern Ireland on Friday.
A match between Portugal and Brazil is always guaranteed to bring together a number of world class players, but apart from that, it will bring together two nations who share one language, and a lot of similarities.
The Portuguese and Brazilian have always been a community who interact with eachother a lot. Whether that be in the United States, Brazil, Portugal or anywhere else in the world, these two Portuguese speaking nations tend to be around eachother on a daily basis.
On Tuesday, Scolari will go up against a country that embraced him for a number of years.
The Brazilian manager guided the Portuguese to the Euro 2004 finals, a semi-final match at World Cup 2006, and a quarter-final exit at Euro 2008 against Germany.
The former Manchester United man who never fails to impress was the pick of the players as Portugal took on Northern Ireland in a crucial World Cup Qualification match.
The Seleção who were down to ten men following Helder Postiga’s red card just before half time, were close to tasting defeat at the hands of Michael O'Neill’s men before a brilliant second half hat-trick from Cristiano Ronaldo ensured that Portugal move one step closer to a berth in the World Cup in Brazil next year.
His antics also saw him achieve a remarkable feat as he became Portugal’s second all time top scorer surpassing Eusebio’s record of 41 goals and is now just four goals shy of being Portugal’s joint top scorer with former Paris Saint Germain striker Pauleta.
Preview: Scolari set to field a strong squad despite Hulk and Dani Alves injuries
Despite losing out on the services of Hulk and Dani Alves, Brazil manager, Luiz Felipe Scolari has the luxury to field a very strong starting eleven when the Socceroos come calling from down under.
Scolari had been very keen on keeping the same starting eleven that performed ever so well at the Confederations Cup earlier this summer but still has so much depth in his squad that he can field an equally strong second-string team.
As Jozy Altidore said in his ESPN FC article, with four matches remaining, every nation is willing to do what ever it takes to gain the upper hand. Whether that be mentally or physically, it all counts for something at some point.
Upon their arrival at Juan Santamaria International Airport, the USMNT was greeted by a large group of unhappy Costa Rican fans, showing their discontent for what had happened in their previous match in Denver.
A snow covered pitch left Los Ticos furious, and now the Yanks have to face their frustrations in a match that could mean a lot for their World Cup hopes.
Defeating Costa Rica would be one giant step for Jürgen Klinsmann's side, as they will prepare to take on Mexico in Columbus on Tuesday.
European World Cup qualifiers: Italy and Bulgaria vie for top spot
Group B of the UEFA qualification campaign has seen Bulgaria offer very stern resistance to the mighty Italians for an automatic berth to Brazil. As things stand, the Azzurri are on top of the table with 14 points from four games, followed by the Bulgarians who have 10 points and lead third placed Czech Republic by only one point.
The Bulgarians drew 2-2 with Italy in the reverse fixture and the two sides are set to lock horns again, this time at Renzo Barbera stadium. A win for Italy will draw them ever so close to an automatic berth while a defeat might spell curtains for Bulgaria if the Czechs manage to beat Armenia at home.
Preview: Both teams prepare for a good World Cup 2014 tourney
Almost exactly two months after kicking off their 2013 Confederations Cup campaign with a promising 3-0 victory over Japan, eventual tournament champions Brazil are back on the field of play. On Wednesday night, the Samba Boys will be at the St Jakob-Park to face Europe’s Switzerland.
World Cup winning manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has formed a stable squad this summer. With Neymar leading the attack and David Luiz’s enviable partnership with Thiago Silva in defence, the Brazilian squad looks good enough to dismantle any team.
Scolari is looking to stick with his Confederations Cup squad. PSG’s Maxwell could clinch his first international cap as he is the team’s only new inclusion ahead of Wednesday’s friendly match against the Swiss.
The latter are enjoying a good run in the UEFA World Cup qualifiers. They occupy the top spot in Group E with a four-point advantage over second-placed Albania. The Euro 2008 co-hosts are yet to lose, having won four of their six games so far.
Beating Brazil is not the main objective of Ottmar Hitzfeld’s side although the intent to create an upset is there. Bayern Munich’s Shaqiri is expected to play along with Senderos. For Switzerland, the road to the 2014 FIFA World Cup continues later this year against Iceland and Norway.
Where to watch the match – live stream, start time, TV channels
FIFA released its latest ranking on Thursday. The Top 12 remains unchanged. Double European Championship winners and World Cup titleholders Spain are still at the summit. The Spaniards are followed by Germany and Radamel Falcao’s Colombia. The latter are feeling the heat, though, as Lionel Messi’s Argentina stand just a place behind with 1,210 points.
England suffered a blow in July as they bowed out of the Top 10. They have regained a bit of pride by moving up to 14th on the table. The biggest fall in the Top 20 was recorded by Ivory Coast; the Elephants have gone five places down and are now in 18th position.
The United States, however, have something to smile about. The country is improving on the world stage. With the help of living legend Landon Donovan, USA elegantly triumphed at the just-ended CONCACAF Gold Cup tournament.