What to Watch for During the FIFA World Cup
Imagine it: Spotlights shine down as you stand at midfield. Nearly 79,000 international spectators – walls upon walls of fans – scream your name. As the network cameras roll, you remember that 700 million people will share in this single moment in time. You are in Maracanã Stadium, Brazil, and the title for the world is on the line.
That’s right, folks, it’s time for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Even if you don’t follow soccer regularly, the dynamic skill and high drama always make for a memorable show. Here’s what you need to know before the first match on June 12th:
Teams to Watch
Spain: Winners of the 2010 World Cup, Spain’s talented players – as well as their precision-based tiki-taka style – could help them repeat.
Argentina: They haven’t made the finals since 1990 but Argentina has superstar Lionel Messi and relatively weak competition in Group F. Don’t forget the advantage of playing in South America.
Brazil: With home-field advantage and a fleet of skilled young players, Brazil is poised to win it all.
Germany: They’ve finished no worse than third in the past three Cups, and their efficient style and talented athletes could lead to victory.
United States: The U.S. team currently has 100/1 Las Vegas odds to win the World Cup. Still, they had a strong showing in 2010, anything can happen after kickoff!
Stars to Watch
Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal): In 2013, Ronaldo won FIFA’s Ballon d’Or as the best soccer player on the planet, ended Lionel Messi’s four-year reign as the Champions League’s top scorer, and even built a museum – to honor himself. Yes, life is pretty good for Cristiano Renaldo, but to make it even better he’ll have to lead Portugal to the finish line.
Lionel Messi (Argentina): The “Atomic Flea” may be small in stature, but he’s titanic in his performance. While the three-time Ballon d’Or winner has achieved immense individual and team success on FC Barcelona, he’s never made it past the World Cup quarterfinals with Argentina. Look for Messi to do whatever it takes.
Neymar da Silva Santos Júnior (Brazil): Commonly known as Neymar, this 22-year-old wunderkind carries the hopes of the hosting country in his high-velocity cleats. What’s more, after his transfer to Barcelona, he’s been playing and learning alongside Messi.
How to Watch
Don’t worry about missing a match, every single game will be televised. The World Cup starts June 12th and culminates in the World Cup final July 13th. Find the entire TV schedule here.