The weight, and eyes, of the entire world will likely be on Group A during the World Cup this upcoming summer. The host nation, Brazil, is the top seed in the grouping, and they are looking to make a huge impact in the early stages to show they are a force to be reckoned with throughout the entirety tournament. Here is a look at how the rest of Group A matches up.
Player To Watch: Neymar, Robinho, Hulk, David Luiz
Not only is Brazil a top team in Group A, but they very well may be the team to beat in the entire tournament. Coming of a stellar Confederations Cup showing, Brazil has one of the best well formed squads that will be playing this summer. They have a bevy of players that play in top leagues around the world. But the star that should shine brightest is Neymar. The young star is looking to show those who aren’t familiar with who he is, just how good he truly is. But most importantly, Brazil will be playing with immense amounts of pressure as the host team. That could either play tremendously in their favor, or equally as much against them. The should be able to easily get out of group play, and they’ll be team that nobody wants to match up with in future rounds.
Player To Watch: Javier Hernandez
Despite young talent in the form of Manchester United’s Chicharito (Javier Hernandez), Mexico has failed on a regular basis to make any type of impact in important world tournaments. Right now, Mexico sits as the 20th ranked team in the FIFA standings, but they rely heavily on Chicharito and sometimes their 5-3-2 formation doesn’t work well against other teams that sport worldly talent. Mexico is going to be battling it out to make it out of group play. While it’s almost certain that they won’t be able to get past Brazil, there is a slight chance that they might be able to edge Croatia. However, it’s possible that the matchup between Mexico and Croatia determines who moves out of Group A with Brazil.
Players To Watch: Luka Modric, Mario Mandzukic
Croatia might be one of the more difficult teams to predict an outcome for in Group A. Sure, they currently rank #16 in the FIFA standings, which is four spots ahead of group-mate Mexico. However, the potential of their ability to advance could be put on the hands of Mario Mandzukic. Against Iceland, Mandzuckic earned a red card, which could determine his availability for one or two games. If the shorthanded Croatians lose to Mexico, or even Cameroon, that could be the edge that either team needs to slide into second place in the group. After missing the World Cup in 2010, Croatia will not want to exit from this tournament in the first round, so they’ll need Luka Modric to step up and help lead a potentially shorthanded squad.
Player To Watch: Samuel Eto’o
Call them the darlings of Group A, but don’t underestimate Cameroon in this tournament. Along with the experience that leader Samuel Eto’o has from his time in the Premiere League, the Croatians are no stranger to World Cup play. Unfortunately, despite making the tournament every time from 1990 to 2002 and then again in 2010, many of those trips have been met with a first-round exit. However, this could be the year for Cameroon to surprise some people. As mentioned earlier, they may get lucky with a draw against a shorthanded Croatian team. And you never quite know the intensity that Mexico will come with. Cameroon certainly shouldn’t make it out of Group A, but they would love to shock everyone and advance in the tournament for the first time since 1994.