Eurosport Roundtable: Who will win the 2014 World Cup?

The Rio Report

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First and foremost... happy World Cup opening day!

We've spent the last few days bickering over all kinds of awesome World Cup topics - in fact, you can go back to those before reading this one if you want, using these handy links:

[HOW FAR WILL ENGLAND GET?]

[WHAT WAS YOUR FAVOURITE WORLD CUP?]

[WHO WILL BE THE 'SURPRISE PACKAGE'?]

[WHO WILL WIN THE GOLDEN BOOT?]

[WHO WILL BE THE STAR PLAYER?]

However, now it's time for THE big question.

Which nation will lift one of sport's most famous trophies come July 13?

Our writers have had our say - check out what we think below, and then add your own at the bottom. We'll be back in a month to see who has egg on their faces!

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Alex Chick (Twitter: @alex_eurosport):

Spain - For some reason the bookmakers seem to think Brazil, Argentina and Germany all have more chance than the side who have won their last three major tournaments. Sure, they're not getting any younger, their Madrid-based players will be fatigued from a season two weeks longer than most rivals, and Diego Costa's injury means they might still be short of a reliable striker. But in a World Cup full of imperfect teams, I'll take the side who know how to win.

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Tom Adams (Twitter: @tomEurosport):

Argentina - We can basically rule out those pasty Europeans in a South American tournament so that leaves Brazil and Argentina. The former may be hosts and winners of the Confederations Cup, but the latter possess one of the most formidable forward lines in living memory in Aguero, Higuain and Messi. Their defence is rather less stellar but this could be the moment for Messi to emulate Maradona nonetheless.

Sean Fay (Twitter: @Sean_Fay):

Argentina - If most are being honest, we haven’t actually seen too much of these teams play in competitive action, I’m certainly in that boat, so you are often judging teams on individual talent. I’m going for Argentina simply because they have outrageous attacking options at their disposal and with Javier Mascherano sitting in front of a tough enough looking back four, they should be able to outscore anyone. While some of the other contenders have questions marks over their strikers, Argentina have such a wealth of talent that Sergio Aguero and Lionel Messi are likely to start out wide, with Gonzalo Higuain in the middle. Think of that trio and Carlos Tevez being left at home doesn’t even seem like that big a deal anymore. They also have Angel Di Maria and Pablo Zabaleta bombing down the flanks, are playing close to home, and have a kind looking draw. Put it all together and you have the look of a team that could catch a wave of momentum that leads them all the way.

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Toby Keel:

Brazil - Don't overthink it: all the signs point to Brazil for a good reason. I can't see a single convincing piece of evidence to suggest that the Selecão won't romp to glory. History shows that just about every time a host nation has had a properly decent side they've invariably gone on to win the whole thing – Italy in 1990 was probably the only time the hosts have failed to win a tournament when they should have done. Brazil's squad is loaded with talent, they've got a natural focal point in Neymar, and they'll have 150m Brazilians cheering them on all the way. Not to mention most neutrals around the world.

Liam Happe (Twitter: @liamhappe):

Argentina - Well, they're overdue one. And though I'm not buying into the whole 'climate' reasoning as to why it will 100% be a South American side lifting the trophy, there is a strong enough mix of experience, talent and determination for the Argentines to go all the way in 2014, whereas many other favoured sides have too many potential weaknesses. Besides, imagine the reaction of a Brazilian public already fed up by how much cash has gone into the WC and Olympics rather than into local communities when the entire thing is capped by their neighbours and rivals lifting the trophy on their turf!

Dan Quarrell (Twitter: @Dan_Eurosport):

Argentina - Lionel Messi may not have enjoyed his most perfect campaign but he remains the most gifted player in the world and his influence cannot be overstated, despite his relative lack of impact in previous international tournaments. Argentina's squad is full of proven talent and has a core of genuine class that very few teams in the tournament can come close to rivalling. There is no convincing favourite this time but Messi and Argentina will shine when other teams falter due to a lack of depth or real quality in the final third.

Desmond Kane:

Germany - All good things have to come to an end. I'd opt for Spain, but surely something is going to go wrong along the way this time for Vicente del Bosque's all-conquering side. They have ridden their luck a bit on their way to carrying off Euro 2008, World Cup 2010 and Euro 2012. In knock-out football, the odds suggest they might not make it out of one of these tight matches this time. Brazil are the obvious choice, but there is nothing overly daunting about their side apart from being at home. Granted home advantage is worth a lot, but no European side has won the World Cup in South America so why can't 'Ze Germans' end that sequence? They prepare meticulously, and are always ripe to participate in tournament football. Just a hunch, but I have this vision of Joachim Low standing with the trophy in a Munich beer garden singing "Football's Coming Home".

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Reda Maher (Twitter: @Reda_Eurosport):

Brazil - It's hard to look past Brazil given the strength of their overall squad, and their superb performance in the Confederations Cup. Spain may have the better first team, but Brazil have managed to leave out a dozen or so superstars, and of course have home advantage, both in terms of support and acclimatisation to conditions. However, reports of Spain's demise have been greatly exaggerated, and of all the non-Latin American teams, their style of play is best suited to the climate in Brazil. They too have omitted some excellent players - such as Premier League champions Alvaro Negredo and Jesus Navas, and Juventus hit-man Fernando Llorente - but their first XI is second to none and, crucially, will have no problem whatsoever dealing with the pressure. They have been there and done it, and will cement their reputation as arguably the greatest national team of all time if they complete an unprecedented double-Euro/World-double. Brazil narrow favourites over Spain for me.

Marcus Foley (Twitter: @mmjfoley):

Chile – There is an unlikely logic to this somewhere! Obviously, Brazil and Argentina will be billed as favourites but both, in this writer’s opinion, will struggle. Brazil will crack under the pressure of hosting the World Cup to a back drop of continued protest; while Argentina’s porous defence will see their international travails continue. A team from the host continent usually claims the Jules Rimet Trophy, so this is where Chile step in. Of course, it is going to be difficult to navigate a tough Group B that includes the Netherlands, Spain and Australia. However, do not be surprised if they squeeze out the Dutch to claim one of the qualification spots – and then build momentum from there. Under manager Jorge Sampaoli they maintain the high-pressing game implemented by former manager Marcelo Bielsa – and, of course, they have some very threatening players. Alexis, who has 22 goals in 66 appearances for La Roja, will be of paramount importance, as will Arturo Vidal but playmaker Jorge Valdivia will also star – as he looks to secure a move to Europe from Palmeiras. Lay your bets.

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Ben Snowball (Twitter: @BenSnowball):

Argentina - …and they’ll beat Germany 3-1 in the final. This is for three reasons. Number one: they’re half-decent at football, regardless of their flimsy defence. Number two: the climate will hold no fear for the South Americans. And number three, the main reason: they barely have to travel between their games. Assuming they top a group containing Bosnia, Iran and Nigeria – and France avoid meltdown to win Group E – a fresh Argentina won’t face a tricky opponent until Belgium in the quarters and will continue pottering between stadiums in relative close proximity. Maybe Lionel Messi will go down as the undisputed greatest player of all-time after all.

ROUNDTABLE VERDICT

Argentina – 5 votes

Brazil – 2 votes

Spain – 1 vote

Germany – 1 vote

Chile – 1 vote

Now it's your turn...

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