In a few hours the Football World Cup 2014 in Brazil will officially kick off. It won’t be the first time for the World Cup to take place there however, a fact that without doubt brings many bitter memories to Brazilian fans. Last time the World Cup took place in their homeland, the brasileira led by Jair, Ademir and Chico, was unexpectedly defeated by Uruguay in the famous Maracanazo. The goals by Schiaffino and Ghiggia silenced the enormous crowd in the Maracaná stadium and brought the entire host country to tears and to grind their teeth. This is without doubt a thorn the Brazilian team wants to remove from its side, resorting to this World Cup, led by kicker star Neymar, after his first and unstable season at the FC Barcelona.

Challenge also awaits the Spanish formation. Spain has to defend its crown, after brilliantly defeating Holland in South Africa, thanks to the unforgettable goal by Iniesta in added time. By defending its title it would be the first European team to ever lift the World Cup trophy on american soil. To repeat this great feat, the Spanish trainer Vicente del Bosque has confided in the same squad that brought home the trophy four years ago. The backbone of the team continues to go strong, although, naturally the years did not go by in vain. With Casillas in the goal, Ramos and Piqué on defence, Busquets and Xavi Alonso playing midfield, in the company of Xavi and Iniesta, they are to assure secure passes for the Salamancan assist. In the front, goalgetters Pedro and Silva (winner of the Premier League with Manchester City), reliable Villa, top scorer of the Spanish national team and unreliable Torres will lead the way. The most commented line-up has undoubtedly been the one of Atlético Madrid forward Diego Costa, who has overcome his physical problems and will also form part of La Roja. Being a naturalised Brazilian, will also add spice to his World Cup performance.

In order to win this precious trophy once again, Spain has to fight off strong rivals, starting with its last opponent: the Dutch squad led by Van Gaal, who is seeking a rematch. With Lionel Messi, the best player of the world, in its ranks, Argentina is sure to show the Spaniards a tough time, should they cross paths. Despite the unexpected injury of Reus, Germany is seeking to establish the talent of its young players with a World Cup finale, underlined be the prestigious titles achieved by clubs such as Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Other two potentials wanting to align themselves with their victorious past are Italy, which seems to have abandoned its catenaccio defensive tactic after the amount of wins it achieved, and France, which needs to find a more reliable reference point than the weak Benzema, as in the end, Ribery won’t be taking to the field during this World Cup. The performance of Capello’s azzuri is still a mystery, while Portugal is depending too much on Christiano Ronaldo.

Other possible successors are looking to surprise. One of which is obviously Uruguay, with an aggressive duo that will terrify the defence by simply hearing their names: Luis Suárez (Liverpool) and Cavani (Paris Saint Germain). Chile and its physical strength will also pose a serious problem for the Spaniards and any other team it crosses paths with. Last but not least, Belgium is trusting a young generation of players bursting with talent, but which is not quite there yet. Its players Courtuois, Witsel, Hazard and Lukaku have never competed at the highest level since their line up for the World Cup squad.