Tomorrow, the 2014 FIFA World Cup will finally kick off. As with any World Cup, there are question marks and storylines abound, along with a whole host of teams being touted as possible winners. Certainly, Brazil will be the favorites to take home the trophy on home soil, especially with the shock loss to Uruguay in the 1950 final still in the back of the country's mind. To preemptively hand the trophy to Brazil, however, would be ignoring quite a few other superb squads that will be trying to craft a repeat of 1950 or, worse, keep the hosts out of the final altogether.
Spain returns to try and defend the 2010 title and keep their silverware-rich golden generation in the spoils, though they'll have to get through, with all due respect to Group G, the tournament's group of death in order to do so. Germany are in the midst of their own superstar generation, one which was predicted when they surprised a lot of people on their way to a third-place finish in 2010. Past the three biggest favorites, you also have very capable, star-power-laden teams in France, Argentina, Belgium and Italy who will have more than just a shot of taking the gold home themselves.
A bevy of dark horses, including Croatia, Chile, Switzerland and, yes, perhaps even the United States, make this an incredibly intriguing World Cup -- but aren't they all? That leads us to the big prediction: Who do you think takes home the trophy at the end of the day? My personal call is that I expect Brazil to stumble along the way and make way for a Germany-Argentina final, where the hoodoo that has kept any European team from winning on the soil of the Americas will continue and Argentina will return to glory.
How about you guys?