It feels like the right time to share a few thoughts ahead of the World Cup. Of course all we are hearing about are the big guns, the stars, the individuals and the England team. But I don’t want to go all out in predicting the winner or individual results etc in this post. Everyones at that!!

Instead I’d love to give a wee shout out to the lesser lights of world football and share some hunches I have for things to watch out for in the tournament. I spend a lot of time watching all levels of football and here are a few thoughts…

An Eastern Europe surprise
Have a feeling that we could see a shock nation from Eastern Europe get through their group. A lot of people overlooking Serbia, Slovenia and Slovakia because they aren’t usually nations they see at the World Cup. However, these wee nations are on the rise footballing wise and play very good football. Very technical and team players with some Premiership stars in their midst. Expect one of them to do very well.

Not good enough
Some nations shouldn’t be playing in a World Cup. Simple. New Zealand, North Korea and South Africa are guilty as charged. Not good enough. I predict no wins between them all.

The rise of Africa
For a while now I’ve been predicting and charting the rise of African football. I believe we will see some African nations dine at World football’s top table in a few years time, especially with the young players that Ghana are producing. While this World Cup will come too soon for these nations to do anything serious, and the tough draws the best African nations have received, expect a few good African results and a couple of countries to make it to the knock out stages.

The fall of the central European giants
The current crop of players from France, Germany and Italy aren’t to the same level as previous squads from these football proud nations. A kind draw might help Germany progress far, but I don’t expect the others to get past the Quarter finals…..if even!!

That one big surprise package

Winners (oh I might as well!!!!)
England. Everyone else laughing at me for this one but I just have this feeling!! Not the best individuals but a group of players who have won so much between them and a huge amount of big game experience between them. It takes experience to win a World Cup as Italy proved last time. You also must have a good manager and I trust Fabio Capello big time!

We’ll maybe revisit this after the tournament and see if any of these hunches are correct. Would be good to know your thoughts!!