(Belgium, Algeria, Russia, South Korea)
The favorite: Belgium. If it wasn’t Belgium, this group of players could be the favorite to win it all. Young, dynamic, deep and balanced, the Belgians are everything but experienced.
The sleeper: Russia. Former England coach Fabio Capello accidentally called up the wrong player for his Russian team for a friendly match in February. When he was with England, the Italian also said he only needed to know 100 words to lead England. Still, he’s a good enough coach to steer Russia out of the group stage.
Player to watch: Marouane Fellaini, MF, Belgium. When he is on, the big man with the big Afro is capable of overpowering almost anyone. Problem is, he hasn’t been on since moving from Everton to Manchester United last August. Which Fellaini will turn up in Brazil?
Predicted order of finish: Belgium, Russia, South Korea, Algeria
Belgium vs. Algeria (Tue., noon, ESPN); Russia vs. South Korea (Tue., 6 p.m., ESPN);
Belgium vs. Russia (June 22, noon, ABC); South Korea vs. Algeria (June 22, 3 p.m., ABC); South Korea vs. Belgium (June 26, 4 p.m., ESPN); Algeria vs. Russia (June 26, 4 p.m., ESPN2)
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