*Which team will be an embarrassment to their nation? Who will go back, tail between their legs with null points to show for their efforts? I fancy the US to have a nightmare. Looking through their squad, a good goalkeeper aside, it is looking particularly threadbare. When your hopes are pinned on the worst striker in the Premier League, Jozy Altidore, then you know you're in for a tough ride. I may or may not have said that I will stop watching football if he notches at any point during the competition (I did). Surely the Aussies are going to take an absolute pasting in the Group of Death? Mind you, the Kiwi's managed to concede the fewest goals in the competition last time with three draws, but then again they weren't drawn with Spain, Holland and Chile. Other notables are Iran and Honduras (who on the other nights evidence are a good bet for most bookings/sendings off).
* Who will be our scapegoat this year? Who should I make an effigy of in readiness for our cruel exit? In '98 it was Beckham, '90 Waddle and Pearce, Rooney in '06, the list goes on. Who's going to fuck it up for an entire nation this time? Rooney is the front runner again - possibly the only time you'd use that phrase.
|My effigy in 1998. It's still in the garage ready to swap the shirt.|
* Will there be any fatalities in the re-run of the final between Spain and Holland from 4 years ago, where both team basically kicked the shit out of each other for 120 minutes?! Will Xabi Alonso try and exact some form of revenge for the flying kung-fu kick that Nigel de Jong planted in his ribcage? I for one certainly hope so. It's an absolute certainty that this match will not end up with the full quota of players on the pitch. And we only have to wait until Friday night to find out.
* Which player will sport the worst hair/facial hair? In the past we've seen such greats as the distinctly average Portuguese defender Abel Xavier. This year distinctly average Portuguese midfielder Raul Meireles leads the charge with his mohawk/vagrant combo. Can anyone steal his crown?
|Ronaldo with a homeless bloke|
* How will the Brazilians generate atmosphere? Will they do anything so drastic as to sing and cheer, and play drums in a samba rhythm whilst doing the conga around the concourses? Or will they rely on the artificial drone of the vuvuzela as the South Africans did last time around? I pray that we don't have to undergo that mind numbing sound again. It could be enough to ruin the spectacle.
* Who will be the top scorer in the competition? Is Messi going to light up the stage and drag his Argentinian team mates kicking and screaming to victory? Will one of his strike partners, Aguero or Higuain bang them in in a weak looking group? It'd take a brave man to bet against one of these. That said, with home advantage behind them, the Brazilians will be fancying their chances of success. If their poster boy, Neymar, can hit the form that he found in the Confederations Cup last summer, he is in with a real shout, and is my bet for the golden boot. Fred for Brazil, Costa or Villa for Spain, and a handful of others will be in the mix you'd think. And you can never discount Klose of Germany who only needs two goals to become the leading World Cup striker of all time.
* How long will it take the camera men to focus on the scantily clad local female fans during the opening match? And how long beyond the acceptable time will they focus their attention to said women?
Which teams fans will take the mantle of most attractive fans now that Sweden are not in the tournament (damn you Ronaldo and co!)? My betting is on the Dutch if my experiences in Amsterdam are anything to by, although I doubt their liberal attitudes towards life will wash quite so easily in Brazil.
|We're going to miss this in Brazil. Can Holland step up to the plate?|
*What animal is going to replace the legend that is Paul the Octopus this year? Paul, from Weymouth, had a success rate of 85% as he correctly predicted 11 out of 13, which if you'd followed him at the bookies would have seen you sitting very pretty indeed. RIP Paul. Hopefully we're going to get some other mystic creature to blindly follow with out money this time.
*Which player will we see have the most memorable/cringeworthy goal celebration this year? From Bebeto's baby cradling in '94, to Roger Milla's corner flag dancing and Toto Schillaci's eye popping emotion in '90, through to the Crouch-atron in '06, there have been all manner of great celebrations. I'm looking forward to some original thought this summer. And hopefully we'll be seeing a lot of Daniel Sturridge's weird wavy arm thing.
*Which England player will wilt in the heat the most? The smart money will be on Rooney, but I think Baines and Milner are going to melt. At least we've got an excuse ready.
*What long term liver damage are we likely to suffer from 30 days on the piss? Is anyone else worried about the late pissed up school nights, but still having to appear on top form to your boss in work the next morning? It's going to be tough, but if we're all their for one another, we can pull through. I'm sure it's going to be worth it. You just cannot beat a World Cup summer!
*And just how off our heads are we going to be at 1am this coming Sunday? It's due to be a scorcher, so I feel it's only right to spend the afternoon in a pub garden gearing up for the 11pm kick off.
Not long to wait now, only 3 more days. Excitement is palpable.
What are you looking forward to the most? Who's going to win the coveted fittest fans title? Who's your money on for the golden boot?
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