MASTER GUIDE: Everything You Need To Know About World Cup Group A

Here it is, soccer fans. The Daily Caller’s Ultimate Master Guide To Everything You Ever Need To Know About The 2014 FIFA World Cup In Brazil.

Brace yourself for over a month’s worth of whining from the MLB/NFL/NBA purist who doesn’t understand the offside rule and insists the game “still sucks.” Prepare for some thoroughly embarrassing “expert” opinions from that guy in the bar who thinks the game was invented in 1992. And yes, there will more than likely be some tedious BuzzFeed listicles about the best player simulations, eccentric jerseys and players that look like cats. 

All that aside, there should be some great entertainment on the field.   

For the entirety of the tournament, Ewan Watt will be providing grizzled, foul-tempered Scottish punditry for The Daily Caller on everything you need to know about the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. This will range from a comprehensive background on each team, short posts on the games and some history, ranging from failed drug tests to a team’s struggle to understand the rules to why an Arab prince halted the game and got a referee’s decision overturned.

In the build up, we’ll be releasing guides to the different groups, so buckle in, study up and become the master you’ve always said you were anyway.

Click Here For Everything You Need To Know About Group B

Click Here For Everything You Need To Know About Group C

Click Here For Everything You Need To Know About Group D

Click Here For Everything You Need To Know About Group G

Click Here For Everything You Need To Know About Group H


Overview:  Although the Brazilians qualified as hosts, they have done a pretty good job of living up to their reputation in the last two years. Some poor results in 2012 and 2013 (losses to Mexico, England and Switzerland) have given way to an ominous stretch of eight consecutive victories, conceding just two goals.  Having said that, Australia, Panama, South Africa and Zambia aren’t likely to be Brazil’s nearest challengers this summer.

And yet, comfortable victories over Italy, Uruguay and Spain in last year’s Confederations Cup (another FIFA money-spinner) gave fans hope that they had just seen something akin to a World Cup dress rehearsal.  However, other than Barcelona’s Neymar, this Brazilian side seems to lack the flair and execution of previous sides, especially when going forward. In previous years, Brazil has boasted some of the game’s greatest forwards, but the class of 2014 might have to rely on players like Jo and Fred — hardly renowned as world-beaters.  Although impressive, all 5’5″ of Bernard is untested on the global stage.

At the back, Brazil will likely boast one of the tournament’s strongest defenses, although competition for their goalkeeping position leaves a lot to be desired. The Brazilians go into the World Cup knowing that anything but a convincing victory will be regarded by the home fans as an unmitigated failure. The political controversy and social unrest surrounding the tournament only adds to the pressure.

Best World Cup Performance: Winners (1958, 1962, 1970, 1994, 2002)

FIFA Ranking:  3rd

Best Players:  NeymarDani Alves (both Barcelona), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain), RamiresOscar (both Chelsea), Dante (Bayern Munich) and Hulk (Zenit Saint Petersburg).

Most famous World Cup moment:  There are plenty of them, but arguably the most famous goal ever scored in a final, from arguably the greatest team of all time, was Carlos Alberto’s strike against Italy in the 1970 World Cup.

… Most infamous:  The parliamentary inquiry that followed Brazil’s shock 3-0 final defeat to France comes to mind. But this truly pales in comparison to the events in 1950. Having won the first World Cup on home soil in 1930, Uruguay was seeking to claim a second when they faced-off against host Brazil at the first World Cup since the end of the World War II. Before 200,000 spectators at the world-famous Maracanã, the Brazilians took the lead through Friaça, only for the Uruguayans to equalize through Alberto Schiaffino. However, with just 11 minutes to go, Alcides Ghiggia stunned the home crowd and devastated the entire nation with a tidy finish. Uruguay would go on to claim their second World Cup, leaving the Brazilians to cope with what some described as a “national tragedy.” Some 64 years later, it’s a result the entire country has still not got over.

Sound like an expert: “Brazil will be favorites, but they don’t just need to win it, they need to win it with style.”