Eve of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil
So much excitement is in the air for tomorrow's opening match with Brazil and Croatia.
Can Brazil handle the pressure of massive expectations? Can they win the World Cup as the host country? Can they play against the back drop of social & political tensions that have sparked since being awarded the World Cup? We will get a taste tomorrow as one of the favorites to win the World Cup will aim to get points in their first of three matches.
Italy and Spain, the teams reflecting my heritage, have drawn very difficult groups. Italy meets England, Uruguay and Costa Rica. Spain faces Netherlands, Chile & Australia. My heart hopes Prandelli has Italia ready to play the right players with the right tactics. If they can get out of the group stage, they could potentially escalate in later rounds.
Spain has a very tough group. If they don't get points against Netherlands, they would be hard pressed to get points with Chile, another strong South American team favored to do well. Spain has incredible talent that has dominated the World and European Cup over the past six years. Scoring will be the make or break element for Spain this World Cup. Will Torres & Villa be enough?
Other questions I'm intrigued to see unfold include can the USA perform strongly and get out of their group with Germany & Portugal? Can they underline how much the MLS has strengthened the American game? That would be a historic win for American soccer.
Another question for World Cup 2014 to answer is can Messi & Argentina meet the potential so many fans have about their epic talent? Hailed as the best player of this generation, will Messi perform as he has during the last several seasons with his club team FC Barcelona?
Lastly, will Cristiano Ronaldo impact the World Cup 2014 after having such a prolific year with his club Real Madrid? Will he be top goalscorer for the tournament? He was epic against Sweden in the World Cup qualifying round, with four goals in two games.
My favorite pick to surprise in this World Cup? It would be Bosnia Herzegovina.
Top matches in the first round of the World Cup I'm looking forward to watching?
Spain v Netherlands
Italy v England
Argentina v Bosnia
Brazil v Mexico
USA v Germany
Ultimately, we will begin to watch tomorrow as the World Cup kicks off and plays month long into July to hail the new 2014 Champions.