The time has arrived! For the next month, we here at Sportsinvasion will be posting previews for all 32 teams in the World Cup 2014. Today, we will be breaking down Group A, which has not only the host country, but the favorites to win the whole thing, Brazil. We hope you enjoy our previews of World Cup 2014!

buy_brazil_flag-01-01 Brazil

Can’t Miss Talent

Neymar- Everyone knows who the poster child is for this World Cup. It’s the whiz kid from Barcelona, Neymar. It will be interesting to see how the kid handles the pressure of having the whole country looking at him for results. Fortunately, he is surrounded by other talented players that could bail him out, but if Brazil is in need of a late goal, they will be looking to Neymar to create.

Rising Star

Lucas- There are a number of young players on this team that could make a big difference, but this 21-year old forward is likely to make the biggest impact of them all. The youngster has gotten plenty of big game experience since moving to French powerhouse PSG, and he will provide a ton of energy and support for Brazil is Neymar is out of the game. Look for Lucas to make himself even more of a house hold name in this one.

The Key for the Brazilians

It’s hard to believe that Brazil, once considered far and away the best soccer nation in the world, hasn’t even made the semi-finals of the Cup since their win in 2002.  That won’t get it done this year, as anything short of a cup could legitimately lead to riots in the streets. If Brazil can simply stay consistent, and take care of their business, they should be every bit the contenders they are projected to be.

How Far Can They Go

The sky is the limit for this team. However, they will need to do everything in their power to win this group, as a 2nd place showing will likely mean a second round date with defending champions Spain in the second round. Even with a first, they will likely draw the 2010 runner-ups Netherlands in the second round. Regardless, the host nation will have a huge test early on in their potential cup run.

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Croatia-flag-300x200 Croatia

Can’t Miss Talent

Luka Modric– There’s little doubt who the best Croatia footballer in the world is: it’s Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric. Modric has seen a meteoric rise to the starting XI of a team that will be playing for the Champions League title later this month. That experience could prove invaluable in what will likely be the second place deciding game when they take on Mexico.

Rising Star

Ivan Rakitic– At 26, Rakitic may not exactly be a “rising star”, but there’s no doubt that the attacking midfielder will be a key part of his team’s eventual success or failure. Rakitic has been playing for Sevilla since 2011, and will be making his world cup debut this year. If Croatia wants to hang with Brazil in the World Cup opener, Rakitic will have to be at the top of his game.

The Key for the Croatians

The strength of the Croatians is controlling the midfield, so if they can dominate the possession, they should be able to handle Mexico and Cameroon, which will lock in a second place showing in the group and a move to the round of 16. Combine that with a solid group of forwards, and the Croatians are certainly a legitimate candidate for dark horse in this tournament.

How Far Can They Go

In the minds of the Croatian national team and their fans, anything short of a second round birth will likely be a disappointment, as they should be. By the eye test, Croatia is the second best squad in the group. Unfortunately for them, they will likely run into the Spaniards in the second round, but they have the talent to give the defending champs a sweat.

M_Id_300971_Mexican_Flag. Mexico

Can’t Miss Talent

Javier Hernandez– After spending most of is playing time coming off the bench in the second halves of Manchester United games this year, Hernandez is going to be ready to be the go-to guy again for Mexico, and they will surely need it. Mexico has no business being in Brazil this year, but they managed to rally at the end of the qualifying session, thanks to some help from their northern neighbors.

Rising Star

Giovani dos Santos– dos Santos spent the last season in Villarreal, and benefited from being on the biggest stage of La Liga football greatly. He registered 10 goals, and will be bringing that experience and scoring threat with him to Brazil. dos Santos is best served as an attacking midfielder, but if Mexico gets desperate for goals, they will likely push him up to striker.

The Key for the Mexicans

This group is really a three way race for second, as Brazil has first place all but locked up. The biggest edge that Mexico has over Croatia and Cameroon is World Cup experience. Mexico consistently gets out of the group stage, and on paper, they could do it again. However, Mexico was a shell of themselves in the qualifying stages, and if they continue this form in Brazil, Croatia will certainly defeat Mexico in their matchup.

How Far Can They Go

This team’s ceiling is the second round. Anything beyond that would be a legitimate shock, as they have looked downright awful at times.  Cameroon is one of the weaker teams in the cup, so they are in perfect position to start off with three points, and possibly take the lead if Croatia can manage to draw with Brazil. Having said that, I don’t see them making it out of this group given what I’ve seen from this team in the last 18 months.

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cm-lgflag Cameroon

Can’t Miss Talent

Samuel Eto’o– Samuel Eto’o is undoubtedly the greatest soccer player Cameroon has ever seen. The 33-year-old forward will likely be playing his final world cup, and hopefully, Eto’o will get the swan song he deserves. If there’s anyone who can spark a bit of magic for this huge underdog in the group, it’s this man.

Rising Star

Vincent Aboubakar– Aboubakar will be Cameroon’s best scoring option outside of Eto’o, as he registered 16 goals for Lorient this past season, and is more than capable of creating a scoring opportunity.

The Key for the Cameroonians 

The opening game is equally important for Cameroon as it is for Mexico, for the same reasons of course. Cameroon is the clear underdog of the group, but there have been less talented teams that have made surprise runs in the past couple Cups. Eto’o will bring plenty of experience, and could lead his nation out of the group stage.

How Far Can They Go

Just like the rest of the group not named Brazil, making it out of the group stage would be considered an accomplishment. Cameroon doesn’t have the talent to compete with Spain or Netherlands in the second round, but if they catch Croatia or Mexico on an off day, they could make some noise early on.

Official Group Prediction

As mentioned before, this is simply a race for second. Brazil will cruise to first place, and pray they don’t get unlucky and draw Spain in the rare case they end up second in their group. While Mexico would seem to be the favorite to get second, we think Croatia will get there. I expect Luka Modric to have a standout Cup, and will his team to a couple group stage victories.

1. Brazil

2. Croatia

3. Mexico

4. Cameroon

Make sure to stay tuned later this week, where we will be previewing one of the toughest groups in World Cup 2014, Group B!