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Eastern Florida Soccer Programs Offer World Cup Predictions

June 10, 2014 - The World Cup soccer final is considered the single most viewed sporting event on Earth. An estimated 700 million people watched the 2010 final between eventual champion Spain and the Netherlands. This year's tournament, which begins Thursday in Brazil, is expected to be no different.

Who will emerge from the 32-team field to play for the coveted trophy is anyone's guess. To that end members of Eastern Florida State College's nationally ranked women's and men's soccer programs offered their predictions for the two teams that will play for the championship, who will win and why.

Men's center forward Gregorio Calvillo, Palmetto, Florida: Brazil and Germany in the final. "Brazil will win because it has speed on the outside and is strong in the middle. It is very good defensively and dangerous going forward. It also has weapons on the bench. The biggest advantage is the home field. With a crowd full of Brazilians it should have momentum and grit to win every game."

Associate Vice President for Athletics, women's soccer head coach Jeff Carr: "I predict Spain and Brazil in the final. Brazil has been playing the best football in the last year and is playing at home. It plays with a lot of flair and creativity, has tremendous pace and has shored up its defense with the likes of Alves, Marcelo, Luiz, etc. Brazil has a very talented midfield with the likes of Ramires, Oscar and has a lot of pace up top and can finish opportunities with Neymar, Hulk and the rest of the crew.

"Spain is the master of possession, having probably the best passing patterns of any team at the World Cup with great movement off the ball. That starts with a great midfield with Iniesta , Fabregas, Mata and Gerard Pique leading the lockdown defense. Forwards are a concern with Torres being unpredictable and Diego Costa injured which means David Villa and Pedro must be able to put it in the back of the net on a regular basis.

"The other two countries to watch for are Germany with all its talent and Italy which can play that grind it out game, defending very well and just needing a chance or two on the counterattack to win a game in typical Italy fashion, suffocating you with a smothering defense."

Former Eastern Florida women's defender Jess Fassnidge, Worcestershire, England, who is bound for Flagler College this fall: "I predict Brazil and Argentina in the final. Not only does Brazil have an advantage of playing at home but it always plays attacking football with amazing creativity. It has a world class goalkeeper in Julio Cesar but a solid back four including Alves, Marcelo and Luiz who have all had very good seasons. Not only that but its attacking force upfront with Fred, Hulk, Oscar, Ramires, and Neymar is going to be very difficult to stop. Neymar could be the key to Brazil's success and I think he could be a contender for top goal scorer if he lives up to his name.

"Argentina hasn't had many victories in recent years and I think it will be out in force to re-establish winning habits. I think it reaching the final will come down to four key players; Di Maria who was outstanding in the Champions League win for Real Madrid, Higuain of Napoli and the striking duo Sergio Augero and Messi who are world class players who have had superb consecutive seasons. Although Messi may have only scored one goal in previous two World Cup campaigns I think this could be his year to shine and prove why he is one of the best players in the world.

"Both teams have advantages because of the weather as I think many European teams may struggle with the heat and location. I think Spain and Germany will both make the semifinals at the very least, yet it's going to go down to the wire. Being English however usually ends up with a typical poor exit from the campaign. However I might be dreaming but I think we can be dark horses and prove many football fans wrong."

Men's defender Khori Foster, Fort Lauderdale, Florida: "Brazil vs. Germany in the final. Brazil wins it all thanks to the home field advantage and too much speed and flair. Brazil's Neymar will have a great World Cup along with the rest of the team. Brazil has the best defense in the world and some of the best offense in the world. The crowd will be behind them. Brazil 100 percent."

Men's defender Ivan Magalhães, Sao Paulo, Brazil: "Brazil and Argentina in the final. Brazil wins of course. First because of the solid defense, second because of the home field advantage and third because Argentina is a huge rival but never wins against us. This is the perfect picture."

Men's assistant coach Danny McBride, Dundee, Scotland: "Brazil vs. Germany in the final. This is Brazil's year. It has under achieved since winning it in 2002 and no European team has ever won a World Cup on South American soil. The home field advantage will be enormous."

Men's center midfielder Gabriel Pedroza, Weston, Florida: "Germany vs. Spain in the final. They have both been dominating the European leagues and both teams are well rounded. Germany will go through Argentina in the quarterfinals. It will be a tough game but Germany will come out with the win. Spain will go through Brazil because it has the talent, the team and the experience. Brazil doesn't have enough experience. They're good but I don't think they will go through Spain. At the end Germany will win. It has the same talent and ability but also the size advantage and physicality."

Men's head coach Oliver Twelvetrees, Swansea, Wales: Brazil vs. Spain in the final. "Spain wins and proves to be best international team ever: Four consecutive major tournament championships - two Euros and two World Cups. England will lose to Brazil in quarterfinals, probably on penalty kicks."