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World Cup Preview: The Madness of Group A

Will Brazil be kings of their own group? Or will someone like Mexico crash their party?

Clive Mason

We're ramping up some World Cup coverage here at Big D Soccer for you all to enjoy. Today we're starting off our preview coverage with a look at Group A.

How they got to Brazil

Brazil - Qualified as host nation

Currently ranked 4th in the FIFA rankings, Brazil is 67-15-15 all-time in the World Cup with five trophies.

Croatia - Second-place finish in UEFA Group A

Currently ranked 20th in the FIFA rankings, Croatia is 6-5-2 all-time in the World Cup.

Mexico - Defeated New Zealand in the CONCACAF/Oceania playoff

Currently 19th in the FIFA rankings, Mexico is 12-24-13 all-time in the World Cup.

Cameroon - Defeated Senegal in the CAF third round

Currently is ranked 50th in the FIFA rankings, Cameroon is 4-9-7 all-time in the World Cup.

Schedule of Games

Date/Time (ET) Home Away Venue
June 12 | 4 PM Brazil Croatia Arena Corinthians, São Paulo
June 13 | 12 PM Mexico Cameroon Arena das Dunas, Natal
June 17 | 3 PM Brazil Mexico Estádio Castelão, Fortaleza
June 18 | 6 PM Cameroon Croatia Arena Amazônia, Manaus
June 23 | 4 PM Cameroon Brazil Estádio Mané Garrincha, Brasília
June 23 | 4 PM Croatia Mexico Arena Pernambuco, Recife

Key Players in the Group

Neymar, F, Brazil - This kid tends to save his best for his country. We all know what he brought to the table last summer in the Confederations Cup against teams like Mexico too. I love watching him play and I fully expect him to possibly have the biggest tournament of the Brazilian bunch. Maybe even Golden Boot big.

Samuel Eto'o, F, Cameroon - He's one of the older forwards in the group at 33 but he still is a constant threat each time he is in and near the penalty box. The guy just gets it done in the box as a goal poacher.

Darijo Srna, D, Croatia - The veteran defender is going to have his hands full in this group. But if the Croatian captain can guide his fairly young squad from the back, this could be surprise team of this group.

Javier Hernandez, F, Mexico - As much as I think Giovani dos Santos could be the real driving force on the Mexican team, I still see Hernandez as the one outlier that could be the difference between Mexico advancing and them returning home early.

Game of the Group

Brazil vs Mexico - For me this is easily the biggest game of the Group. The star power and home field advantage for Brazil against a Mexican side that could lean on that Olympic experience from two years ago when they beat Brazil in London.

X-Factor in Group A

Home field advantage - Obviously with the hosts being in this group, you'll see exactly how much the home field advantage plays out for them. On the flip side, should Brazil start to do poorly here, we could see things turn ugly, in a hurry.

Final thoughts and Predictions

Looking in to the crystal ball you can tell that Brazil is the easy bet to get out of the Group on top. After that I do think it will be a toss up between the other three as to who advances. That means the Mexico-Cameroon game could have a big impact on who goes through more so than the games at the end of the group schedule.

But just like clockwork, Mexico will advance. They always seem to do so.