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So finally, the World Cup is right around the corner.

Four years of waiting has led up to this, where the greatest players in the world will pit themselves against their opposition on the grandest stage of them all.

Five bold predictions for the FIFA World CupMany prior predictions have been made about who are expected to do well, and who are expected to struggle. However, the beauty of this game is the unpredictability factor, and one can be sure that there will be some shocks and surprises.

So, let us get right into our five bold predictions for the World Cup

1. A European country will win the World Cup for the first time in South-America

True, this is going against the grain of past experience, considering that no European nation has won a World Cup hosted in South-America. But what better time is there than now? Brazil are a talented team, but they are not nearly as awe-inspiring and menacing as they once were. The likes of Neymar, Oscar and Fred can barely hold a candle to Ronaldinho, Rivaldo and Ronaldo. It might be harsh, but it is true.

Argentina have also been hotly tipped as favorites, but the fact is that they are extremely top-heavy in attack and lightweight in defence, which will be their undoing against World-class sides, as we saw in the 2010 World Cup.

There are a number of European sides that have been tipped to do well, with Spain, Germany, Italy and perhaps even Holland fancying their chances. Now is as good time as any to break the South-American hoodoo.

2. Miroslav Klose will not break the World Cup goalscoring record set by Ronaldo

German striker Miroslav Klose is just one goal away from equaling the magical 15 goals in World Cup competition set by Brazilian legend Ronaldo. Considering the fact that Klose is the only striker in the German squad, you would feel that he is a shoe-in to make the record his own?

The problem is that Germany have been hit hard by injuries, and Klose is, in fact, 36 years of age, which might lead to ‘Die Nationalmannschaft’ not scoring the amount of goals that is expected of them. This will have a knock-on effect on the German striker, as he will be mostly used as a substitute option.

It will be a case of so close, but yet so far.

3. England will do better than many anticipate

England’s chances at the World Cup have been widely ridiculed by mostly Englishmen themselves, with the general consensus being that disappointment is inevitable.

However, this non-belief could actually benefit the side, considering the past couple of decades worth of over-hyping that has put more pressure than need be on decidedly average England teams.

Roy Hodgson and his men can play without pressure this year, with the manager even perhaps giving the young guns, like Ross Barkley, Raheem Sterling and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain a regular starting spot.

Will England win the World Cup? That might be slightly over-optimistic, but they can perform above all expectations.

4. Bosnia and Herzegovina will not only advance from their group, but potentially reach the quarter-finals

In this edition of the World Cup Bosnia have not been given much of a chance by neutral observers, but it is worth noting that their squad is not bad at all, and very capable of causing a few upsets.

If they manage to finish second in their group behind Argentina, beating out a recently unconvincing Nigeria and the very much unknown quantity of Iran, a round of 16 encounter against either France or Switzerland awaits. We know that the French are capable of imploding like no other country, and Switzerland have not performed as well recently as their individual talent suggests.

Bosnia could become the real feel-good story of this World Cup, and although they can do it, a lot of hard work will be needed.

5. The United States make it out of the ‘Group of death’

It goes without saying that Germany are the favorites to win group G, regardless of injury struggles and the lack of a striker that can play from the start. However, the second qualifying position is very much up in the air, with the USA, Portugal and Ghana set to slug it out.

Portugal will very much be doomed if talisman Cristiano Ronaldo cannot put his recent injury struggles behind him come kick-off, and Ghana have been extremely inconsistent in all competitions since their memorable run in the 2010 World Cup. This could pave the way for the United States to advance, with Jürgen Klinsmann already having proven his credentials of going far with a decent side in the 2006 event with Germany.

It is not going to be easy by any means, but there is real cause for optimism among fans of the USMNT heading into the start of the World Cup.

Originally published at thesportsbreakfast.co.uk

Post written by Marco Conradie
Blog: thesportsbreakfast.co.uk, Twitter: @MarcoConradie10

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