The World Cup kicks off with hosts Brazil playing Croatia on Thursday and by the end of the tournament in a month’s time the samba kings are confident that they will be hoisting the cup aloft for a record sixth time.
But there are plenty of other teams in the tournament bubbling with confidence to do the same.
In football-mad Cayman Islands, debate is raging. Honduras are a popular choice to monitor because of the big Honduran community here and historical ties, but realistically Brazil, Germany, Argentina, Holland and holders Spain are the likeliest winners.
Virgil Seymour is director of football for Academy Sports Club in George Town. He is excited at the prospect of Argentina doing well but feels Germany have the all-round ability, experience and talent to upset the lot and walk away with the title.
“I think Lionel Messi is looking to redeem himself for Argentina and they could be contenders in the final,” said Seymour. “But Germany always work well as a unit. They don’t have any superstars in the team and any one of them can rule the game or change it in an instant. They are the most balanced of all the top teams.”
Seymour believes Brazil have “too many superstars” and luxury players. He also feels that they don’t have enough quality midfielders and center backs to triumph. “That could pose them a problem,” he said. There is huge pressure on players like Fred, Neymar and Hulk to win it for Brazil.
Despite history not proving so, Seymour sees England having a good World Cup, possibly reaching the semifinals, because they changed policy and given a crop of youngsters a chance this time.
“Young players are always looking to make an impact and to get signed up to bigger clubs because the more experienced ones try their best but are not interested in making bigger wages and making a big impression like the kids,” Seymour said. He particularly admires the talent of youngsters like Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Ross Barkley, Jack Wilshire and Raheem Sterling.
“This is the first time England have had so many quality youngsters in their World Cup squad and I can see them doing better this time than in the past.
“They want to show that after playing in the best league in the world they can compete with the best international sides.”
Roy “Huta” Ebanks is technical director of Future Sports Club in West Bay. For him there is only one outstanding team.
“It is Brazil’s to lose,” he said. “They have not lost at home in decades and after beating some of the best sides in the Confederations Cup last year, including Spain, which was a dry run for this competition anyway, they have every reason to expect to win it.”
Ebanks said that four or five other sides can win it, but “I can’t see the World Cup being won outside South America.” Argentina, Chile and possibly Uruguay are his other choices as potential winners.