Before today’s opening match of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, ESPN analysts – many of whom are former national team players who competed in the World Cup themselves – offer their predictions for the tournament.
Host nation Brazil (eight votes) is the overwhelming favorite to win among the 16 experts polled. Brazil’s South American rival Argentina follows with four votes, while another 10 experts predict Lionel Messi’s squad to reach the Final.
|ESPN Analyst (Home Country)||World Cup Winner||Runner-Up|
|Michael Ballack (Germany) *||Germany||Argentina|
|Craig Burley (Scotland) *||Brazil||Argentina|
|Efan Ekoku (Nigeria) *||Brazil||Argentina|
|Kasey Keller (USA) *||Brazil||Argentina|
|Alexi Lalas (USA) *||Spain||Germany|
|Roberto Martinez (Spain)||Argentina||Germany|
|Steve McManaman (England) *||Spain||Argentina|
|Alejandro Moreno (Venezuela)||Argentina||Brazil|
|Jorge Ramos (Uruguay)||Brazil||Germany|
|Stewart Robson (England)||Argentina||Brazil|
|Gilberto Silva (Brazil) *||Brazil||Argentina|
|Tommy Smyth (Ireland)||Italy||Argentina|
|Santiago Solari (Argentina)||Brazil||Argentina|
|Taylor Twellman (USA)||Brazil||Argentina|
|Ruud van Nistelroy (Netherlands) *||Argentina||Brazil|
|Luis Roberto Alves (Mexico)||Brazil||Argentina|
* played in a FIFA World Cup
The 2014 FIFA World Cup kicks off today at 3 p.m. ET with host nation Brazil vs. Croatia live on ESPN from Arena de Sao Paulo. For schedules, release and more, visit ESPN’s World Cup media kit.