Across six confederations the 2014 Fifa World Cup qualification took place between June 15, 2011 and November 20, 2013 with 203 countries participating. A total of 820 matches took during this period across the world which produced 2,303 goals averaging 2.81 goals per match.
Three players emerged top scorers with 11 goals apiece at the end of the qualification. They are Robin van Persie of the Netherlands, Luis Suarez of Uruguay and Deon McCaulay of Belize. Interestingly Belize failed to qualify for the World Cup in spite of McCaulay’s prolific form in front of goal.
The World Cup in Brazil next year will also have a number of interesting events and things to expect and supersport.com takes a look at a few of them.
2010 World Cup final re-match
The Arena Fonte Nova in Salvador will play host to what many have termed the re-match of the final of the 2010 Fifa World Cup in South Africa. World champions, Spain face the Netherlands in the opening game of Group B. In 2010, it was Andres Iniesta’s goal that sealed a first world title for the Spaniards. Definitely a mouthwatering clash early in the tournament.
Boateng brothers clash
Kevin Prince Boateng and his brother, Jerome, might likely come face-to-face at the Estadio Castelao in Fortaleza on June 21, 2014 and that’s barring any hitch in terms of selection by their countries. Kevin Prince will be in the colours of Ghana while Jerome should run out in Germany’s strip. Quite an interesting match-up this should provide.
Jurgen Klinsmann vs Germany
On June 26 next year inside the Arena Pernambuco in Recife, Klinsmann will lead his American squad against his native Germany in a Group G game. It will offer the world a chance to see how Klinsmann sets up his troops against his own countrymen.
Africans for semifinals?
Algeria, Cameroon, Ghana, Ivory Coast and African champions, Nigeria are the nations to represent the continent. There have been so much talk of an African side reaching the semis of the 2014 Mundial with Ghana, Ivory Coast and Nigeria tipped to achieve such feat. But we wait to see if that happens after the quarterfinal games in July next year.
The Bosnians are the only first-timers at the World Cup after winning their European group ahead of strong sides like Greece and Slovakia. The Dragons are currently ranked 21 by Fifa and that is evident in the quality of squad they have. Asmir Begovic, Emir Spahic, Miralem Pjanic, Vedad Ibisevic and Manchester City striker, Edin Dzeko are among their top stars. So Argentina, Iran and Nigeria need to be wary of Safet Susic’s men as the names of their players do not sound like those of newcomers.
Ex-World Cup stars now coaches
Out of the 32 coaches that will manage teams at next year’s tournament, only nine of them have played at the World Cup as players. Hopefully these nine men will remain in charge of their teams for the Mundial when it gets underway in June 2014.
Niko Kovac (Croatia, 2006 World Cup), Stephen Keshi (Nigeria, 1994 World Cup), Didier Deschamps (France, 1998 World Cup), Safet Susic of Bosnia (Old Yugoslavia, 1982 & 1990 World Cups), Paulo Jorge Gomes Bento (Portugal, 2002 World Cup), Jurgen Klinsmann of USA (Germany, 1990, 1994 & 1998 World Cups), Marc Wilmots (Belgium, 1990, 1994, 1998 & 2002 World Cups), Vahid Halilhodzic of Algeria (Old Yugoslavia, 1982 World Cup) and Hong Myung-Bo (South Korea, 1990, 1994, 1998 & 2002 World Cups) are the coaches with World Cup experience as former players.
World Cup of technology
The tournament in Brazil would turn out to be a World Cup driven by technology. Definitely it will be a departure from previous editions as the goal-line technology is expected to come into play. The power of technology will also provide football followers across the world different portals including social media networking sites and mobile televisions to follow all matches as they happen.
New ball: Brazuca
Federale 102, Allen, Super Duplo T, Crack, Slazenger, Telstar (also known Television Star), Tango Durlast, Tango Espana, Azteca, Etrusco Unico, Questra, Tricolore, Fevernova, Teamgeist and Jabulani are some of the balls used in past editions of the World Cup.
For Brazil 2014, it will be Brazuca picked ahead of two other possible names in Bossa Nova and Carnavalesca for depicting the way of life of Brazilian football. The Brazuca will be the most colourful ball for a Fifa World Cup and its texture is said to be similar to that of the Uefa Champions League ball. The 32 nations should be prepared for a ball with faster flight speed next year.