The 2014 World Cup is underway, leaving thousands of Americans ready to root for the home country, while numerous others shrug their shoulders and mutter the words, “It’s not OUR football”.

Then there’s THE WIFE, who curses at how boring baseball is and gets frustrated at her Dad for his love of NASCAR, and the drivers that “just go around in circles”.

Still, she’s kind enough to humor all of us with sports-related predictions.  As with March Madness, she focuses on teams with local ties, squads with great color schemes, or schools with cats as a mascot.

Naturally, World Cup predictions are the next in line, and of course, she was game… but only after some minor begging, of course.

world-cup-trophy

Who will raise the World Cup and win it all? Many like Brazil and Argentina. KP and the WIFE have others in mind

Call it a grand experiment, because going into this, I had a good guess at just how this would go.

Would she watch the World Cup on TV?  She might make a passing glance when it’s on the tube, or inquire at how the US was doing.  Either that, or headlines from TMZ or People would tell her exactly how it all was going.  She may even ask how these predictions were panning out.

More than likely, she wouldn’t care, because after all, this is one of the many wives that HATE sports.  Who wants to watch a bunch of guys kick a ball around when you can watch puppies on Instagram?

As for her predictions, we are dealing with countries, not colleges with mascots.  She knows just enough about the sport to be aware that the US isn’t a soccer power.

Sorry world, we mean football.

She knows that Europe loves its soccer…er, again, that’s football, people.2014-world-cup-logo

She also knows that Brazil is notoriously a power in the sport.

So, what would her predictions be, and better yet, how do they compare to Vegas’ odds?

There had to be an explanation of how the tournament is structured, that you must pick the top two teams to advance from each group and then follow that with a March Madness-like bracket to get to your eventual champion.

First, there are the WIFE’S predictions.

It’s simple, really.  My gut said that she would advance the good ol’ U-S-of-A, but not have them winning.  Then, knowing that Europe has a lot of solid teams, she would pick her favorite places (that we have visited) to go far.

That means…

1. Italy

colosseum-in-rome

The WIFE and I snapped this photo of the Colosseum when visiting Rome, Italy

2. France

eiffel-tower-in-paris

A year after our adventures in Italy, we took a trip to Paris, France

3. England

big-ben-in-london

We also made it to London, where we snapped this shot of Big Ben

Italy – the honeymooning spot – would easily be her winner.

I penciled all of this down, set it aside, and then presented her with the groups and bracket.

And these are the WIFE’S 2014 World Cup predictions:

The WIFE’S 2014 World Cup Predictions:

Here is what the WIFE submitted, via the ESPN FC Bracket Predictor:

2014-world-cup-predictions-the-wife

She has England, France, Italy and Argentina in the semifinals.

Boy, we’d be a shoe-in for some cash earned on The Newlywed Game, wouldn’t we?

What about Vegas?

The wife’s semifinalists, as listed on Bovada prior to the start of the World Cup:

FIFA World Cup 2014 – Outright Winner:

Italy – 22/1

France – 22/1

England – 22/1

Argentina – 4/1

Other notables:

Brazil – 3/1

Germany – 11/2

Spain – 6/1

USA – 100/1

FIFA World Cup 2014 – To Reach Semi Final:

Italy – 4/1

France – 3/1

England – 5/1

Argentina – 10/11

Other Notables:

Brazil – 4/5

Germany – 11/10

Spain – 3/2

USA – 25/1

Belgium – 10/3

Netherlands – 9/2

Pick Your Knows: KP’s Predictions for the 2014 World Cup 

Brazil won its opener over Croatia while Spain was torched by the Netherlands.  The lopsided Spain loss is a surprising one, and here are some additional thoughts that I considered before making my picks, which I also submitted prior to the start of the tournament, via the ESPN FC Bracket Predictor:

  • Often referred to as the “Group of Death”, the Americans landed in Group G, which also features two teams in the FIFA World Ranking’s top five (Germany and Portugal), as well as Ghana, the team that eliminated USA in the 2010 World Cup.  Therefore, I don’t like USA’s chances to move on.
  • Spain, the defending champs, are #1 in the FIFA World Ranking, and it’s not easy to repeat in any sport, which is why I chose a different champion.  That, plus the group featuring Chile and the Netherlands would be a tough start.  Judging by the 5-1 loss to the Netherlands, that may have been a wise decision.
  • The home country, Brazil, should advance far in the tournament, due to the fan support, as well as the overall talent on the team.  Still, there’s a lot of pressure to win in front of your home fans, especially in a tournament such as this.  I have them losing in the semifinals.
  • Italy is known for its defense, and as they say in the United States, “Defense wins championships”.  That’s why I took the Italians to win Group D and move on to the quarterfinals.
  • My dark horse in the tournament is Belgium, a very talented and deep, but young team.  Many say the inexperience will do them in, but I chose to compare them to some of our young college basketball teams that went far, such as the talented Fab Five, or the Syracuse team that featured Carmelo Anthony.  It’s comparing apples to oranges, but I went with it anyway.  If both Belgium and Argentina finished first in its respective groups, then the Belgians would have to beat Messi in the quarterfinals.
  • Many are taking either Brazil or Argentina to win this World Cup, and I’ve chosen to go in a different direction, specifically with the Germans, second in the FIFA World Ranking.  Germany adds a lot of offensive punch with this squad, which as many critics have pointed out, is different from German teams of the past.  This new style could be the difference.

All in all, here are my picks:

2014-world-cup-kp-predictions

There will certainly be some household chores put down as a bet, and I look forward to coming away as the World Cup winner.  At least, within my family, as I have limited expectations for how far my picks will take me against the rest of the world.

Who do you have?

As a side note, how will other wives that hate sports predict the World Cup, if at all?  What strategies are out there?  Inquiring minds want to know…so, if you’re a WIFE that HATES sports, and you’ve been conned into predicting the World Cup, I’d love to hear (and see) your strategy.

Enjoy the upcoming month of soccer!

Er, football.

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