Last week in our World Cup 2014 coverage, we broke down Group A, home of the host’s Brazil, and Group B, where the defending champions Spain reside.

columbia-flag Colombia

Can’t Miss Talent

Radamel Falcao – Falcao is the biggest name on the Colombian side, playing his league football in Monaco after three seasons at Athletico Madrid, While in Spain, Falcao notched 52 goals in 69 appearences, and tacked on nine more this past year. This is another case of “this team will only go so far as this player can take them”, as Falcao will undoubtably be the man they turn to if they are in desperate need of goals.

Rising Star

 James Rodriguez– The 21 year old has some plenty of chemistry with the aforementioned Falcao, as he himself notched nine goals with Monaco this past seasons as well. Rodriguez also has four international goals on his resume, and he will be looking to add to that total in Brazil this summer.

The Key for the Columbians

For Colombia, this sis simply about taking care of business and reemerging themselves as a football powerhouse. Colombia hasn’t been a major threat on the world stage since the 1990’s, but that figures to change this year, with a #5 world ranking, and one of the softer groups in the cup. If they don’t take the top spot in this group, it will be a huge disappointment.

How Far Can They Go

Regardless if they get the first or second spot in the group, they will likely have a tough second round matchup, as they will be facing either Uruguay, England, or Italy. On paper, Colombia is better than all three, but their lack of experience could prove paramount in that potential matchup. For Colombia fans, anything short of a semi-finals berth will be a dissapointment, but from our prespective, we don’t see them making it past the Quarterfinals.
Quarters

Greek-Flag-300x200 Greece

Can’t Miss Talent

 Giorgos Karagounis– The 37-year-old captain is one of the oldest and most experienced players in the whole tournament, having an impressive 132 international appearences under his belt. Karagounis may not be the best goal scorer in the tournament, but his big game experience at the likes of Fulham, Benefica, Internationale make him one of the most valuable assets in the group.

Rising Star

Ioannis Fetfatzidis– There isn’t much in the way of youthful talent on this Greek side, so we will go with the 23-year-old midfielder Ioannis Fetfatzidis. He has registered 16 appearances for the Greek national team since 2010, scoring three goals in that time. Despite being so young, Fetfatzidis figures to be a big part of Greece’s game plan in June.

The Key for the Greeks

The Greeks have the tough task of drawing the favorite Colombian side in the first game, and any kind of result could prove invaluable in that game. If Greece loses there, and the Ivory Coast knock off Japan, then those two teams would face off next in what would likely be an elimination game were one team to fall again. Greece will have to be ready from the get-go if they want to make some noise in South America.

How Far Can They Go

In 2004, Greece shocked the world when they had a magical run in Euro 2004, beating the host nation Portugal twice, including in the finals, to complete one of the most unlikely championship runs in sports history. Well, that won’t be happening this year. While the 10th rank Greeks are more than capable of getting out of the group, they simply aren’t built to compete with the top teams of the world. A trip to the Quarterfinals would be deemed a success for this squad.

buy_ivory_coast_flag-01-01 Ivory Coast

Can’t Miss Talent

Yaya Toure– Many of you are probably surprised to not see Didier Drogba’s name here, as the Ivorian striker is one of the greatest football players to every play the game. However, he is a shell of his former self, while Manchester City midfielder Yaya Toure is coming off a career season, leading his team to the Premier League title for the second time in three years. There’s little doubt that Toure will be the primary free kick taker, and he will certainly provide some magical moments for this African squad.

Yaya+Toure+Belgium+v+Ivory+Coast+wVVxoKZUIDvl-World-Cup-2014

Rising Star

Wilfried Bony– The Ivory Coast know how to produce strikers, and 25-year-old Wilfriend Bony is one of the best young players on the squad. Bony notched an impressive 25 total goals in his first season in the Premiere League at Swansea City this past year, and he will prove vital to the team’s eventual success or failure in the World Cup.

The Key for the Ivorians

In all honesty, Ivory Coast has already scored the most crucial victory in their third World Cup, not drawing the Group of Death. In 2006, Ivory Coast were stuck between powerhouses Argentina and the Netherlands. It only got worse in 2010, as they faced off against Portugal and Brazil, nearly pulling off a second place showing. For the first time this year, they have a legitimate shot at making it out of the group stage, so hopefully for them they pounce on this opportunity.

How Far Can They Go

We fully expect Ivory Coast to compete for the second spot behind the likely champions Colombia, and they may even give them a run for their money. They have the best player in the group in Yaya Toure, and they also have one of the most experienced players in the world in Drogba. A second round berth is almost expected this time around, and they certainly have the fire power to pull off an upset or two in the bracket stage.

download (1) Japan

Can’t Miss Talent

Keisuke Honda– After spending his the past four seasons in Moscow, Honda was recently transfer to Milan in Italy, and while he only registered one goal in 12 appearences, he is still considered one of the two best Japanese players in the world. Most eyes will be on him to produce goals for the 47th ranked team in the world, a team that is the clear underdog in the group.

Rising Star

Shinji Kagawa– One could easily argue that Kagawa is the can’t miss talent and the rising star of this squad, but we put him here because he is two years younger than Honda. Kagawa won’t be flustered by the big stage, as he plays for one of the greatest teams of all time, Manchester United. While he didn’t register a goal this past season, he had six in his opening year with the team, and is one of the fastest midfielders in the world. No doubt him and Honda will link up for a magical goal or two in Japan’s run to play spoiler in this group.

The Key for the Japanese

As mentioned before, Japan will be relying heavily on it’s two big stars to make plays if they want to have a shot at getting out of this group. The first game will also prove key, as it is with Ivory Coast, the next lowest ranked team. If one of these two gets a W in that game, they will be off to a great start in the group.

How Far Can They Go

It doesn’t seem likely that Japan makes it past the group stage here, as they are far and away the lowest ranked side in the group. However, they do have some big name players who could provide a bit of magic. If Japan is able to steal a goal, they can hunker down on defense and try to hang on to valuable points. With all that say, anything more than a second round berth would be a shock.

Final Group Predictions

1. Colombia
2. Ivory Coast
3. Greece
4. Japan

That does it for our Group C preview. Be sure to come back on Thursday, where we will be breaking down one of the more stacked groups in the field, Group D. Thanks for readin,g, and let us know your thoughts on Group C in the comments!